Summary: There are many valuable lessons we can learn from the story of Esther, here are some of them.
LESSONS FROM ESTHER
We are in the middle of a lot of change here at CCBC. I know that the renovations have gone on longer than any of us expected. We are all looking forward to seeing things get done around here.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to be having a few different services. Next week, Ace Clark is here. The week after that we have another night with a few people sharing.
And so tonight, I wanted to take some time and simply encourage you. I wanted to take a night and in the midst of “chaos” try to have a semblance of “normalcy”. Perhaps a night that can be a little familiar to us.
I want to share a story from the Bible with you tonight. And then quickly point out three lessons that we can take and apply to our lives from this story.
This story is a drama, filled with suspense, romance, murder, jealousy and anger. There are heroes and vilians, rich and poor. And, as with any good story, there is a happy ending. It is probably one of the most interesting stories in the Bible, and yet one that many people have never read.
It is the story of Esther. In fact, an entire book in the Old Testament is dedicated to her story. It is one of only two books in the entire Bible named after a woman. Both are exciting stories.
Let me try to sum up the “book” for you and then quickly give you three principles that I’ve discovered in this amazing story.
The Story of Esther
For those who are not familiar with the story of Esther, it is a story with four major characters: the king, Haman (the prime minister), Esther, and Esther’s righteous cousin - Mordecai.
During a search for a Queen, the King of Persia is introduced to Esther, a beautiful Jewish maiden. He flips out when he sees her, because she is more beautiful than any other woman, and he asks her to become his queen.
Soon after she becomes queen, Esther’s cousin Mordecai uncovers a conspiracy to kill the king. He informs Esther, who in turn warns the king, and the men involved are put to death.
In comes the prime minister, Haman. Haman is second-in-command to the King. He’s a man who loves power. He demands to be worshipped by the people of Persia. But Mordecai would not bow down or pay him honour. Mordecai worshipped God alone, and would not bow before any man.
Mordecai is asked why he would not bow down before Haman. He simply replies, "I am a Jew."
In a fit of anger, Haman convinces the king to issue a decree to have all the Jews in Persia put to death.
Jews all across Persia began fasting, weeping and wailing as they awaited the fateful day they would be put to death.
Mordecai goes to Esther and convinces her to try and get the king to change his mind. But this is not as easy as it seems. You see, no one, not even the queen, can approach the king without an invitation. If Esther approached the king without first being summoned, she would likely be put to death. The only exception would be if the king extended the gold sceptre towards her.
She decides to approach the king. She decides that it would be better for her to die than to allow such a terrible thing happen to her people, the Jews. She decides that it would be better to die doing God’s will, than to live in disobedience.
For three days, night or day, Esther, Mordecai, and all the Jews in the land fasted and prayed.
On the third day, Esther entered the inner court of the palace in front of the king’s hall. And waited for the king to respond. Would he extend the gold sceptre? Or have her put to death? (Imagine intense music here!)
I’m sure a whispered, "Thank You Jehovah" escape her lips as she watched her husband extend the gold sceptre.
As she approached, the king’s love for her was evident, "What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you."
But Esther knew a secret that has been passed down to women for centuries ... The way to a man’s heart is ... through his stomach.
All Esther asks is for the king and Haman to have lunch with her. At lunch, the king again asks Esther what she wanted. The intelligent woman that she is, Esther invites the king and Haman to have supper the next day.
Haman runs to his friends and begins boasting about being invited to have supper with the king and queen. As he is telling his buddies about how important he is, Haman notices Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate. Haman burns with hatred towards Mordecai and decides to build a gallows, seventy-five feet high and ask the king to have Mordecai hanged in the morning.