Summary: Greatest adopted child in history.
Grandpa Mordecai – Influential through adoption
Esther – influential through strategy
Grandson Artaxerxes – influential for Israel
“There was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of . . . Kish, a Benjamite. And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter” (Esther 2:5,7).
A. WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT THE FAMILY
1. Royal blood. What was Mordecai’s background? “A Jew . . . named Mordecai, . . . the Son of Kish (Saul) a Benjamite” (Est. 2:5).
2. Orphaned. What is known about Esther’s home? “Her father and mother were dead” (Est. 2:7).
3. Adopted. Who raised Esther? “He (Mordecai) brought up Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle’s daughter . . . took her for his own daughter” (Est. 2:7). Esther and Mordecai were cousins.
4. Attractive. What was known about Esther? “Esther was fair and beautiful” (Est. 2:7). Her inner character enhanced her outer beauty. She won the beauty contest to become the next queen.
5. God works His influence when His people can’t outwardly testify.
a. Jewish name Myrtle, grows underneath canopy.
b. Gentle name star, can’t be seen in sunlight.
c. To win contest. “Esther had not revealed her people or kindred” (Est. 2:10).
6. What was Esther’s contribution?
a. Her strategy stopped wicked Haman.
b. Her influence gave the Jews a way to defend themselves.
c. She was the wife to the most powerful king on earth.
d. Her son (Artaxerxes) used his influence to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls (i.e., set up the city-state again).
a. God can greatly use adopted children.
b. Those who adopt can influence the world through their children.
c. What you are – character – is more important than family heritage or outward physical appearance.
d. You don’t have to be a tinkling bell to be influential for God.
B. INFLUENCE BY THE GRANDSON ARTAXERXES
Grandfather Mordecai – by adoption
Mother Esther – double royalty (birth and marriage)
Father Ahasurus – also named Xerxes
Grandson Artaxerxes – Arta means “son”
1. The hidden hand of God. If Artaxerxes is the son of Esther and Xerxes, why is it not clear in secular history? A historian said it will “probably remain forever a mystery.”
2. If everyone knew everything God was doing, they would try to become a Christian for the wrong reasons.
3. Why would Artaxerxes choose Nehemiah?
a. Jewish cupbearer.
b. Trusted protection (physically big).
4. Jerusalem. What was Nehemiah’s passion? “The wall of Jerusalem is broken down . . . the gates are burned” (Neh. 1:3). “When I heard these words, I sat and wept and mourned many days” (Neh. 1:4).
5. His relationship to a Jewish cupbearer. How did Artaxerxes, hear of Jerusalem’s problems? “I had never been sad in the king’s presence before.” Therefore the king said, ‘Why is your face sad?’” (Neh. 2:1-2).
6. Pray. What did Nehemiah do at the moment of spiritual crisis? “So I prayed to the God of Heaven” (Neh. 2:4).
7. Kingdom turmoil. This request was ill-timed in light of secular history’s record of battles with Egypt, Greece, Cypress, and a general who led an insurrection.
8. Why was Artaxerxes’ permission to re-build Jerusalem so “unusual?”
a. Jews had a history of being rebellious.
b. Small nations around Jerusalem opposed it.
c. Kingdom in turmoil.
d. Yet God works behind the scenes.
9. How did Artaxerxes help rebuild Jerusalem?
a. A letter of authority. “I (Nehemiah) said to the king . . . let letters be given to me for the governors of the region,” (Neh. 2:7).
b. Money and resources. “A letter to Asaph . . . give me timber” (Neh. 2:8).
10. How influential was Artaxerxes in God’s eternal plan?
a. The walls gave self-government. The Jews had returned from captivity in 536 A.D. and 516 A.D. and set up worship, then rebuilt the temple, but did not have a central seat of authority.
b. The walls were a rallying point. The Jews in the Promised Land needed a city for protection from bands of outlaws and marauding armies. They needed national self-respect.
c. The walls started the prophecy clock ticking. “From the command (454 BC) to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after sixty-two weeks shall Messiah be cut off (30 A.D.)” (Daniel 9:25-26).
1. Just as Grandpa Mordecai used his hidden influence for God, so did Artaxerxes. Good children are influenced by the way their parents influenced them.
2. You can be influential for God when you are in a setting where you cannot be outwardly Christian.