ESTHER: FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
(August 2011 – Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)
INTRO TO TOPIC:
For the past month, we’ve been discovering that God wants us to get out of the boat – to get out of our comfort zone, and to be where He is, on the sea of radical discipleship.
For the past couple of weeks, we have looked at two radical Kings who got out of the boat – King David who ran towards His giant, and the boy King Josiah who sparked a revival.
Today, I thought I would share with you the story of a Queen, so you can see that women can do great things for God, too! The founder of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Aimee, was a woman!
THE SETTING: The Background to the Story
“Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia), in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the citadel.” (Esther 1:1-2).
• The Persian King Ahasuerus is also known as Xerxes.
• In chapter one, we see this drunken king throwing a six month long party (v.3-9).
• In the last week, he called for his wife Vashti to parade in front of the guests (v.10-11).
• Queen Vashti said no, and so the King divorced her (12-22).
• In chapter two, the King throws a “Miss Persia” beauty pageant to find a new wife (1-4).
“In Shushan the citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. Kish had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. 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).
• Mordecai was one of the Jews who were in exile in Persia.
• Esther was his niece, an orphan, who Mordecai took care of.
• Esther was one of the women chosen to come before the king (8).
• Important note – Esther never let anyone know that she was a Jew (10).
A UNIQUE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE BOOK OF ESTHER: Does anyone know it?
• God isn’t mentioned anywhere in this entire book of the Bible.
• But even though God isn’t mentioned by name, His providence is seen throughout:
“The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.” (Esther 2:17).
• God gave Esther favour, and brought her into this royal position.
• There are a lot of sub-plots in Esther that we won’t get into. Read the book yourself!
ESTHER IS A PICTURE OF THE BELIEVER IN CHRIST:
• We are loved by the King (Jesus), and we have obtained grace and favour in His sight.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has BLESSED us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He CHOSE us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to ADOPTION as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us ACCEPTED in the Beloved.” (Eph. 1:3-6).
• The ABC’s of who we are in Christ: Accepted & Adopted, Blessed, and Chosen in Him!
• “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9).
• Every good story needs a crisis or challenge that needs to be overcome.
“After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. And all the king's servants who were within the king's gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage.” (Esther 3:1-2).
• Because of Mordecai’s faith in God, he wouldn’t bow down to Haman.
• Haman knew Mordecai was a Jew, and so he went to the king to get him to issue a decree to destroy all the Jews in Persia.
• If the king did this, both Mordecai and Esther and all the Jews would be wiped out.
HAMAN IS A PICTURE OF SATAN:
The devil wants to steal, kill and destroy in our lives.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8).
• Throughout history the devil has wanted to wipe out the Jews and Christians.
• In the time of Moses, he moved Pharaoh to kill all of the male Jewish children.
• In the time of Jesus, he moved Herod to kill all of the male Jewish children.
• After the time of Jesus, he has moved many political leaders to kill Christians.
• Today, he has moved many political leaders to kill unborn children through abortion.
• “And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women.” (Esther 3:13).
“When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry… And in every province where the king's command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. So Esther's maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed…” (Esther 4:1,3-4a).
• Mordecai told Esther “to go in to the king to plead before him for her people.” (v.8).
• It seemed so easy – Esther was the Queen, so all she had to do was ask the King to change his mind and spare the Jewish people, right? Not so.
• Esther said no! She said: “any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live.” (v.11).
• In other words, if Esther was to get involved and do something, she could lose her life!
• Mordecai’s response: “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (v.14).
• He said: This is your DESTINY! This is why God placed you where you are today!
• Esther responded: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (v.16).
• I love that! Esther knew what it meant to get out of the boat – her comfort zone.
• She said, “If I die, I die. There’s a risk involved, but I have come to the kingdom for such a time as this – to DO SOMETHING! I cannot stay in my comfort zone any longer.”
THE RESULT: So what happened?
To make a long story short, Esther went into the King, he extended the royal scepter to her (God gave her favour), Haman was hanged, and the King spared the Jews!
• Read the whole book of Esther – it’s a great story, and only 10 chapters long!
• So what? How does this story speak to our lives in the 21st Century?
THE BIG IDEA: God has called YOU to the Kingdom of God for such a time as this.
What is He calling you to do that might involve you getting out of your comfort zone?
We have a villain today – the devil – who still wants to destroy people’s lives today!
• Edmund Burke said: “All that is necessary for evil to prosper is that enough good men do nothing.”
• We can’t sit back and do nothing – God is looking for a few good men – and women!
• Last week, many of you handed out Bibles to neighbours, family and friends.
• But – there’s more to be done!
• Jesus said, “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38).
• There’s a need for people to get involved serving in the church:
o We need your help! The devil has targeted this generation to destroy them.
o We need Esther’s who are willing stand up and sacrifice for their sake!
o YOU have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this. What will YOU do?
Beausejour Community Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca
Pastor Chris Jordan’s Blog: http://thelandofpromise.blogspot.com/