Sermon Title: Esther
Long time ago, there was a girl called Hadassah. She is a very beautiful girl and was a Jewish. Her parents died at her young age. So her cousin name Mordecai decided to take care of her. One day King Xerxes, the king of Persia gave a notice to all cities wanting to find a beautiful wife for himself. When they came to her house, of course they find Hadassah, and they want to bring her back to the palace.
"Please don’t make me go,” Hadassah begged them.
"I’m happy where I am. I certainly don’t want to be a Queen. Besides, I’m Jewish and the King isn’t. There are lots of Persian girls entering the beauty contest – they don’t need me.”
"You have to enter and that is final. Besides, there are so many girls entering, you likely won’t be chosen anyways,” Mordecai assured her. Before she went…
Mordecai said, "Hadassah, wait. There is one last thing you must promise me."
"Yes?" said Esther,
"You must not let ANYONE know that you are a Jew. Do you understand?"
She nodded sadly, "Yes, I understand."
When Hadassah was falling asleep that night, she began to think about what it would be like at the palace. She’d have to spend an entire year there, away from family and friends, before the King would even choose his new bride. “Ah well,” she thought, “at least I’ll get to return home after that. After all there’s no way the King would end up picking a peasant, Jewish girl as his Queen –”
The next morning, Hadassah packed her bags. She was happy that her cousin would be able to visit her quite often as he worked at the palace as a minor official. Hadassah carefully combed her long dark hair and gazed longingly out the window. She’d miss the sights and sounds of her home and wanted to commit every detail to memory.
Before Hadassah went, she told her cousin. "I hope I’m not chosen to be the Queen. I prayed all last night that God would make the King choose someone else."
Mordecai--“Esther! You mustn’t pray only for what you want, but for what God wants for you.”
Esther look at her.
Mordecai-"What I mean is…that God may not always give us what we want, but he does provide us everything we need. You can’t just ask for what you want all the time, because it might not be what God wants. So you must ask for what God wants."
Esther- "But … I don’t know what God wants. How can I pray for something I don’t know?"
Mordecai said, "Well, you could simply pray, ’God, I want whatever you want. I put my trust in You.’
Esther- ok I understand, I will pray. God, if you want me to be Queen, then I will be happy with your decision. Please help me do my best to be a good one’?" Esther asked.
Mordecai smiled and kissed Esther on the forehead, “That sounds perfect.”
So, Hadassah was send to the palace.
Twelve months passed and it was time for Hadassah to go see the King. As Hegai (a man who has been taking care of Hadassah) led the beautiful girl to the King’s palace, people stopped to stare at her gentle beauty.
When they had reached the throne room, Hadassah took a deep breath and knelt before King Xerxes.
"Dear God," she prayed silently, "give me the strength to do Your will.”
The King gazed down at Esther. “My goodness,” he thought, “this one is young. She’s very beautiful, but I don’t know…”
It was at that moment that Esther finished her silent prayer. Without thinking, she raised her head (something she shouldn’t really have done without the King’s permission) The look on her face was so sincere, it increased her beauty ten-fold – and the King’s heart was melted.
He broke into a wide smile, happy that he’d finally found his bride, "What is your name?"
Hadassah, bowed her head and looked at the floor. "Hadassah, my lord."
"Hadassah, it’s alright you can look up now," said the King. She looked up at his smiling face and blushed slightly, which pleased him too.
"You have a beauty beyond all beauty. Beauty of the flesh and of the heart!" he exclaimed.
King Xerxes beckoned to Hegai, "This woman, Hegai, shall be my Queen. So Hadassah became the queen in Persia.
One day, Mordecai Hadassah’s’ cousin sighed and leaned against the inside walls of the castle. He missed Hadassah. He was saddened that she had to hide the fact that she was a Jew from the King. It was all so dangerous for her… and she was so young. What if...
Mordecai shook his head. "It is not good to think of such things," he thought to himself. "Hadassah will be fine."
Then suddenly, he heard this voice.
"No, that’s too long to wait and far too public a place to kill the king," said another voice. "It is best to do it while he is sleeping. Perhaps we could bribe one of the servants."
Mordecai peeked around the corner and saw the men standing there. His eyes widened when he recognized two of the King’s men. As soon as possible, Mordecai rushed to see the Queen.
"Mordecai, you must have misheard. The two mans are the King’s men. Why in the world would they want to do something like that?” Hadassah argued
"I know it sounds impossible, but it is what I heard. You must warn the King right away," Mordecai urged.
Hadassah frowned, “But what if we’re wrong. The King will think I’m a foolish young girl with an over-active imagination!”
Mordecai thought a moment. “Perhaps,” he said thoughtfully, “but won’t you risk looking a fool to save his life?”
Hadassah nodded, "You’re right, Mordecai. I will tell him immediately."
When Mordecai had left, Hadassah hurried to the King’s throne room, she adjusted her crown and smoothed her skirts. This was IMPORTANT business! She walked in quietly but quickly and made her way to King Xerxes’ throne. Esther bowed and the King took her hand.
"What is it, my Queen?" he asked.
Esther rose and said, "Terish and Bigthan are plotting to kill you, my lord."
The King frowned. "How do you know this, Esther?"
"Mordecai, my cousin, heard them talking at the gate. They plan to bribe your servant and kill you tomorrow night while you sleep."
The King leaned forward and asked, "Are you sure of this?"
"Yes, your majesty," Esther replied solemnly.
King Xerxes then called over several guards and told them what Esther had said. The guards were immediately dispatched to find the servant, who fearfully confirmed Hadassah’s story
So the king thank Hadassah for coming without delay to save his life.
Meanwhile, Mordecai sat outside the palace gates watching the people run around, doing their various activities. Just then a loud trumpet was blown.
Mordecai looked down the road to see several men carrying another man in a tall chair. It was Haman, a court official. Mordecai frowned. Haman always made people bow to him, but Mordecai never did -- he bowed before God and no other. When Haman passed by him, Mordecai sat quietly, only looking at the ground.
Haman was FURIOUS and angry!!
"I’ll get RID of him then," Haman thought with a wicked grin on his face. "Better yet, he’s a Jew, miserable lot. I’ll get rid of every one of them!" He chuckled at the thought as he and made his way towards the palace.
He marched into the throne-room and bowed with a flourish. “Your majesty,” he said importantly, “it has come to my attention that there is a group of people in this land that do not respect you or your laws.
They are a bad example for your other subjects and must be dealt with before they begin to plot against you and cause discontent throughout the entire kingdom.”
"Who are these people?" King Xerxes demanded.
Haman bowed low and said, "My Lord, they are the Jews."
King Xerxes thought perhaps it was these Jews who had turned his man against him!
Haman quickly added, "Your majesty, I have a plan to get rid of them."
The King nodded, and, taking his signet ring off his finger, handed it to Haman. "Do with the people as you wish,"
Haman bowed and scurried quickly out of the room. "Ha, ha!" he chuckled with glee. "I’ve got Mordecai now! He’ll wish he had kissed my very feet!" Haman immediately issued a decree that every Jew in the land would be put to death on the 13th day of the 12th month.
When the news reached Mordecai, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and went out into the city, wailing loudly. In every place to which the decree of the King came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay on sackcloth and ashes.
Hadassah soon heard the mourning and crying outside the palace and sent two servants to find out what was wrong. When the servants came back, they had a message from Mordecai.
"Queen Hadassah, Mordecai says that King Xerxes has signed a decree that says every Jew must die on the 13th day of the 12th month," said the servant. "He wants you to go to the King and get him to change the law," the other man said.
Esther - "But it’s been 30 days since I was last called by the King. If I go to his throne room without being asked to, it will be me who is put to death.”
Hadassah couldn’t sleep that night and she thought, “Perhaps God wanted me to become Queen to stop the Jews from being put to death! Why else had I been chosen Queen?”
The next morning, Hadassah said to her servant, "Go now and tell Mordecai to get all the Jews together and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days. I too will fast and when it is done, I will go before the King, even though it may mean my death. If I die I die."
The day has come for Hadassah to meet the king.
The king looked up angrily. He hadn’t invited anyone to come to the throne room that morning. Why couldn’t people understand how much work it was to run a kingdom. How dare they interrupt!
But he softened as soon as he saw Hadassah’s beautiful face. A broad smile spread across the King’s face. Hadassah almost fainted with relief when she saw that the King would forgive her for her interruption.
"What is it that you wish, my Queen? Whatever you want, you will get, even if it is HALF my kingdom," King Xerxes said with a welcoming smile.
Hadassah swallowed and said in a rush, "My lord, if it please the King, would you and Haman come to a banquet I have prepared for you both tonight?"
King Xerxes smile widened. Why the pretty young thing missed him! Yes, it had been sometime since he’d seen her. The King turned to his aides and said, "Tell Haman to hurry and get ready that he may do as Hadassah has said."
So the King and Haman came to Hadassah’s banquet. King Xerxes knew Esther wanted to ask some sort of favor of him, so he asked her again what it was. "My Queen, what is it that you wish for? I will give it to you, even if it means HALF my kingdom."
Hadassah answered, "Please come with Haman to another banquet that I shall prepare for you tomorrow. Then I will tell you what it is that I want."
Now Haman was proud that he had been invited to both banquets - he and no one but the King - but, as he was leaving the palace, he passed Mordecai outside the gates. Not only did Mordecai refuse to bow, but he didn’t even stand up when Haman passed.
When Haman returned home he was absolutely angry. He complain bitterly about the nerve of Mordecai the Jew. How dare he not show Haman more respect.
Then Haman’s wife made a suggestion. "Make a gallows seventy-five feet high and tomorrow ask the King for permission to hang the man! Then you’ll be able to enjoy the Queen’s banquet in peace."
Haman was SO pleased with this suggestion, he had the gallows made that very evening.
That night, the King could not sleep. He called to his servants to bring him the history book telling of the most important events of his reign. As the servants read to the King, he noticed the item about how Mordecai had saved his life, for he had been the one to tell him about the plot through Queen Hadassah.
"Stop! Wait a minute!" King Xerxes commanded. "How has Mordecai been rewarded for this?"
"My lord, I don’t remember anything has been done for him," they replied to the King.
The next day, Haman went to see the King to ask permission to hang Mordecai, not knowing that Mordecai had once saved the King’s life.
When the King saw Haman, he immediately asked, "Haman, what should be done to the man I want to honor?"
Haman smiled, thinking selfishly, “Of course, the only man King Xerxes could be talking about is me!" So he answered, "Send the King’s robe, the King’s horse, and the King’s crown, to one of the King’s MOST noble princes,
and let them dress the man in your robes, put your crown upon his head, and lead him throughout the city on your horse, proclaiming to all the people, ’SEE HOW THIS MAN IS HONORED BY THE KING!’"
Then King Xerxes smiled with much pleasure. "I knew you’d have a good idea Haman. Now hurry and take these robes of mine, get my personal horse and do as you have said to Mordecai the Jew that sits at my gate. Do not fail to do ONE thing of all that you have said!"
Haman was nearly fainted. The very man he wanted to hang was going to be HONORED by the King - with all these things he himself had suggested!
Haman relunctantly dressed Mordecai up in the King’s robe and crown, and led him through the city on the King’s personal horse shouting, "THIS MAN IS BEING HONORED GREATLY BY THE KING!"
Haman was very sad but with no choice he need to attend the banquet with the king and the queen.
"What is it that you want, my Queen? What is your request? Whatever it is, I will give it to you, even if you desire half my kingdom," the King repeated.
"If the King is pleased with me, I request that the King will save my life and the life of all Jews. We face death soon. I and all my people are to be killed; every one of us must die."
King Xerxes became very angry. "Who would dare to touch you or any of your relatives?"
Hadassah looked directly at Haman and pointed. "This wicked Haman is our enemy."
Haman was so eaten up with envy, he tried to destroy an entire people just to get to one man - Mordecai the Jew!
Now Haman turned white as a ghost with fright. The King got up from his seat and stormed out of the room into the palace garden.
As soon as the King went out the door, Haman quickly left his seat and went over to Queen Esther, begging for his life desperately. He knew the King was ready to have him slain for the evil he had planned to carry out on the Jews.
By the time the King returned, Haman had thrown himself upon the Queen, begging for mercy. Seeing this, the King yelled and servants came running to hold Haman back from the Queen.
"Why not hang him on the gallows he built for Mordecai?" someone suggested. The King sat back at the table and nodded. "YES!" he spoke with authority. "HANG HIM THERE!"
And that is the way Haman died, for, in the end, Haman’s jealousy cost him his life. He was hung on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. Peace was restored to the kingdom. Hadassah and her people were safe because she was willing to go before the King, even if it cost her life.
Friends, who is this Hadassah? She is the queen Esther in the bible.
Why would I spend so much time just to tell you this story? Because I want to paint this story in your heart. That one thing that I want you to bring back today is you can see yourself as a present Esther at this time.
Many times we are just like Esther being sent to a place we don’t feel like going. We are just like Esther asking question like why am I ended up here? Friends you don’t’ end up there, God doesn’t put you in a situation to break you, He put you there for a purpose in your life!!! You are call for such a time as this!!! You are place at that situation for such a tie as this FOR A PURPOSE!!! Esther was called for such a time as that to save all Jewish people!!
Or some of you, you are caught in a situation where you are challenge to compromise things in your life, in your office, at home, in school. Will you give in or will you choose not to bow till the end just like Mordecai? He choose to let God take revenge. He choose to stay faithful to his God even he was threaten to death!!
Friends, today I want to tell you that you don’t end up here, you have chosen by God to be here for a purpose!! You are here not for coincidence, You are here for such a time as this FOR A PURPOSE!!! We don’t end up here worship God for no reason, we don’t end up here starting this church for no reason. You are here worshipping God in the Cross for a purpose in Christ!! When Esther went to meet the king, she risk her life and she said, “IF I DIE, I DIE” means what she understand, for that course, she has come, for that course, she will die!! Friends, today we are not here for no reason, for this course, we have come together, for this course we will die. Amen!! Esther’s’ life have saved her whole tribe, today I want to tell you, if you and I willing to give our live, for this course, or nation will be save. Amen!!!
Before we end, I have only one bible verse to share today, let’s turn to Jhn 18:37
“Jesus answered “You say rightly that I am a King. FOR THIS COURSE, I was born, and FOR THIS COURSE I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth….everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”
For this course, Jesus has come for all of us, and for this course He has died for our sins, so that thousands can come into His kingdom.
For this course, we were born, and for this course, fellowship of the Cross exist!!!