Summary: Sometimes God’s people are put in a difficult situation and God expects committment. He will stand by those who take a stand for the right.
“If you remain silent” Esther 4:14
INTRO.: Summarize the story of Esther 1-4. Events occurred during the last period of Old Testament history. In the middle of the 100 year period Israel was returning from Babylonian exile. The dominant world empire is Persia.
Mordecai and Esther, Jews of the Diaspora, had not yet returned to the Promised Land. Esther, an extremely beautiful young woman, became queen of Persia by God’s providence. Her story is a very dramatic and heroic story.
In a fit of anger, the king’s chief counselor arranges through political intrigue and bribery to have the Jews exterminated.
Let’s learn some lessons about God’s providence and our responsibility.
I. Occasionally, God’s people find themselves in terrible circumstances:
A. Consider how Esther got to be queen
1. The Persians ruled most of the known world.
2. Xerxes wanted his queen to appear before a group of drunken men to show off her beauty. She refused and was summarily deposed.
3. Young girls brought from all over the kingdom. No indication consent was sought.
B. The evil Haman was Xerxes right hand man.
1. He was a proud, cruel, and despotic man.
2. Mordecai refused to kneel to him, so he determined to kill all Jews. A maniac in power.
3. Political corruption on a scale seldom seen. He had the temperament of Adolph Hitler.
C. Xerxes, the most powerful man in the east is willing to commit genocide.
1. It seems he hardly gave it any thought. Had no idea his queen was a Jew, of course.
2. If Haman & Xerxes had their way, no Jewish nation would exist. How could the Savior be born a Jew?
3. (Proverbs 29:2) “When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” This was a wicked time.
4. Has anything improved? Drunkenness, drug addiction, government corruption, abortion. Human life has little value.
II. At such a time, God calls for commitment.
A. So, Mordecai, the Jew, refused to kneel to Haman.
1. Probably because Haman was considered some sort of deity by the Persians.
2. Being a Jew, Mordecai could not bow before him.
3. He risked his life and the lives of all his people in order to remain faithful to God.
4. Sometimes today it’s very risky to be a Christian. Especially in Muslim lands.
B. Mordecai calls upon Esther to intercede and receives a negative reply. Esther 4:10-14
1. Her life will be in danger just for entering the throne room.
2. Mordecai reminds her that her life is already in danger. 4:13
3. He says this may be the very purpose for which she has been brought to where she is. V. 14
4. In this incredibly difficult time, she does the right thing, trusting in God. 4:16
C. Something had to be done and Esther was in a position to do it.
1. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” Edmond Burke
2. This was a time of great need. "The hottest regions of Hell are reserved for those who do nothing at a time of great need." - Dante. Our time is also such a time.
3. Often we sit silent when we should do something for God. “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” Jas. 4:17.
III. When we take a stand for God, He will stand by us. We see His hand in the story even tho He isn’t mentioned.
A. Mordecai and Esther are in the right place at the right time.
1. Many other Jews had already returned to the Promised Land.
2. Esther is elevated to a position of political power thru events only God could have controlled.
3. One night the king has insomnia and is reminded of a past debt owed Mordecai.
4. Mordecai is greatly honored by Xerxes.
B. God protects Esther and saves the nation thru her.
1. She is allowed into the king’s presence.
2. Gradually, tactfully, she tells Xerxes of Haman’s plot to kill all the Jews.
3. In the end, Haman’s plot is foiled and he is hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai.
C. It’s still true today. God cares for His people:
1. We needn’t be silent for fear.
2. Evil threatens our land and if enough of us speak up, we can change the course of history
3. If not by ourselves, with God’s help and by His grace.
CONC.: Lessons we learn from Esther’s story”
1. God is at work in the affairs of men and governments.
2. If we are silent when evil threatens, we will not escape the evil.
3. If we stand up for the right, God will stand by us and we will enjoy victory through His grace.