Summary: Sermon 3B in series. Please see previous parts of the study. Often, we regret an action immediately, but too late to undo it. P - Pray before you act. A - Check your attitude before you act. U - Understand fully before you act. Three new Bible illustratio
PAUSE Before You Act
NOTE: This is part B of sermon three in the series, PAUSE Before You Act. While this sermon may be used independently, you may want to see the other sermons to give background and introduction. Handouts and keys for these studies are already prepared. Contact me if you could use them. Thanks.
B. BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATION 2: KING AHASUERUS (ESTHER 3)
• Most everyone has heard of the story of Esther.
• The Jews are in exile in Persia.
• Vashti, the queen to King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes I), angers him and he searches for a replacement.
• All of this is in the providence of God, and a young lady named Esther is waiting in the wings.
• Esther is a beautiful young Jewish lady, orphaned in her youth, who has been adopted by Mordecai, her cousin.
• One of the officials of Ahasuerus, Haman by name, is a proud and arrogant individual who is angered because Mordecai will not bow to him.
• In the covert, manipulative way that such men use to get their way, Haman offers a proposal to the king.
• Let’s pick up the narrative in Esther 3:8.
Esther 3:8–10 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them. 9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries. 10 And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy.
Esther 3:13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
• At Mordecai’s urging, Esther bravely risks her life by appearing before the king unsummoned.
• She has the favor of the king and he grants her request that a banquet with the evil Haman be held.
• Also in the providence of God, the king has a sleepless night, and one of his officers remind him of a time when Mordecai has sent warning of a threat to the king’s life.
• You remember the humorous conversation when the king asks Haman, “What should I do to honor a man that I wish to favor?”
• Haman, assuming that it is him, tells him to parade him through the square.
• Ahasuerus says, “Go do that for Mordecai.”
• In the appropriate moment, Esther reveals her identity as a Jew and points the finger at Haman who is soon hanged on the impalement pole that he had prepared for Mordecai.
• The lesson here is that Ahasuerus allowed others, men whose motives were self-serving, to persuade him to do something which he had not thought through.
• Sure, he had a lot of other business, but he should have waited until he understood the matter before he acted.
C. BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATION 3: DARIUS (DANIEL 6)
• The story of Esther above is very similar to another story, that of Daniel.
• Darius is ruler of Babylonia. He is a Mede by birth rather than a Persian.
• In a move of administrative organization, he appoints 120 princes over the land.
• Daniel, one of these, rises to the top and incurs the jealous wrath of the others.
• They formulate a plot against Daniel.
• Once again, we see that this is subtle and covert rather than direct.
Daniel 6: 4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. 6 Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 9 Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.