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Summary: An introduction to a sermon series on the story of Esther. In this sermon we investigate how God works providentially in Esther's life and in ours. The series is based on Charles Swindoll"s book on Esther from his great Bible character series.

Introduction:

A. The story is told about 9 people who were hanging from a rope that came down from a helicopter.

1. The group of 9 people hanging from that rope was made up of 8 men and 1 woman.

2. All 9 people agreed that that one person should get off the rope, because if they didn't, the rope would break and everyone would die.

3. No one volunteered to let go, so finally, the woman gave a very touching speech about how she was willing to give up her life to save the others, because women were used to giving up things for their husbands and children, and were used to not receiving much appreciation in return.

4. Well, when she finished speaking, all the men hanging on the rope were so moved by her speech that they started clapping for her. And she didn’t have to sacrifice herself afterall.

B. Oh, the power of a woman! Those words have become proverbial among us.

1. Occasionally, they’re said forcefully, usually by feminists who embrace the notion of a familiar bumper sticker that brashly announces, “The right man for the job is a woman!”

2. Of course, sometimes that’s true, even though I’m cynical of the put-down attitude behind it.

3. But there are other times “the power of a woman” is said quietly, and with enormous feelings of dignity and respect.

4. And who has not witnessed the power of a woman when a hurting child crawls up into the gentle arms of a mother or grandmother?

5. And who has not witnessed the power of a woman who capably steps into a chaotic setting and brings order and meaning back into the scene.

6. Such powerful women can thrive on challenges, see past the obstacles, and refuse to be intimidated by the odds.

7. I have been blessed in my life by many godly women like that; including my wife, my mother, my mother-in-law, and my grandmothers, just to name a few.

C. But then, there’s “the power of a woman” who finds herself thrust into a threatening situation that has no visible escape route.

1. In the midst of all the uncertainty and danger, the woman both survives and excels.

2. It is as if she were made “for such a time as this!”

3. The woman in the Bible named Esther is that kind of woman.

4. Esther was unwittingly victimized by an unbearable situation, but she stepped up and determined, by God’s grace, to make a difference.

5. In so doing, she saved her nation from extermination by a Hitler type evil man.

6. Now that’s what I call power!

D. It’s that kind of stuff that makes the story of Esther so captivating and inspiring.

1. That’s why I’m excited for us to begin a sermon series today on the story of Esther.

2. I’m calling the series: “Esther – For Such a Time as This!”

3. In addition to the book of Esther found in the Old Testament, I will be using a book from Charles Swindoll’s book series “Great Lives from God’s Word” titled, “Esther: A Woman of Strength and Dignity.”

4. If you haven’t already fallen in love with Esther and her story, then trust me, you will.

5. As we study the person of Esther, a verse from Proverbs will surely come to mind, again and again, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.” (Pr. 31:25)

6. That is a beautiful and certainly accurate description of Esther.

E. As so, we’re off on another exciting, and unusual journey into God’s Word.

1. The road will take several surprising twists and turns, but don’t worry, we have not lost our way, rather we are simply following the Leader, who is our God.

2. God often has a way of keeping us wondering at times where we are going and why it seems so confusing on this journey called life.

3. But the good news is this: God knows what He is doing, and even though His way may not be as we expected, it is the only way to go.

4. So as we journey along through Esther, we will clearly see the power and wisdom of an awesome God and the power of a godly woman – what a winning combination! Amen!

I. Gaining a Deeper Understanding of God

A. Sometimes God’s presence is not as intriguing as His absence, and sometimes His voice is not as eloquent as His silence.

1. Who of us has not longed for a word from God, or searched for a glimpse of His power, or yearned for the reassurance of His presence, only to feel that God seemed absent from the moment?

2. In those moments, we may feel abandoned, wondering if God is unconcerned, right?

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