Summary: This sermon focuses on the amazing circumstances surrounding the beautiful story of a young Jewish girl and her ’Cinderala story.’
Introduction: I want to thank our sign team and Ann Mary & the choir for leading us in worship this morning. Without a doubt Fanny Crosby was a woman of great faith, who has made a tremendous impact on the modern church. (PAUSE)
This morning I want to tell you about another woman, who like Fanny Crosby was a woman of great faith and courage. Just as we have remembered Fanny Crosby’s contribution to Christianity today, the Jewish people remember this woman and what she did for the Jewish people every year during the Feast of Purim, which will be celebrated next Sunday, March 4th. Purim is a minor holiday for the Jews, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. It reminds the Jews how God used a young Jewish woman to intervene on their behalf and deliver them from almost certain death in Babylon.
This young woman’s name was Esther. She was an orphan, who was raised by her uncle, a man named Mordecai. Her story is found in the book of Esther. I want us to read Esther 2:5-11.
Esther was a beautiful young woman, but that wasn’t the only thing she had going for her.
Our society is obsessed with appearance. Every time I turned on the television this week to watch the news all they seemed to want to talk about was Anna Nicole Smith’s death or Brittney Spears shaving her head and going into rehab.
From the time they are born many children, especially little girls are brainwashed by the media that in order to be happy and successful in life that they have to look like Anna Nicole Smith or Brittney Spears. I believe you can make an argument that both of these women are victims of our society and its obsession with good looks and sexuality.
Verse 7 tells us that Esther was a beautiful young woman, but her good looks weren’t the only thing Esther had going for her. She also had a good head on her shoulders.
Esther was willing to listen and learn from her uncle Mordecai. She loved and respected him and valued his opinion and advice. But she also listened to and followed the advice of the King’s servant who had been put in charge of Esther and all of the other young women who made up the King’s Harem.
Esther must have been just as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside because according to the Bible she ‘won the favor’ of everyone who saw her. She wasn’t arrogant or stuck up. She was the kind of person that everyone liked and everybody wanted to be around.
Even King Xerxes knew there was something different about Esther. She may not have been the most beautiful woman in the Kingdom but the King was attracted to her and chose her from among thousands of young women to be His Queen.
After becoming Queen, Esther, didn’t forget who she was or what was important to her. She continued to consult Mordecai and together they foiled a plot to assassinate the King.
Mordecai also learned of an evil plan to kill all of the Jews living in Persia. A Nobleman by the name of Haman hated Mordecai and after discovering that Mordecai was a Jew he came up with an idea that would not only allow him to get rid of Mordecai but would also give him the right to kill every Jew living in Persia.
Mordecai had advised Esther to keep her religion and Jewish heritage a secret. Consequently, no one, not even King Xerxes knew that she was a Jew. But after the decree which would have allowed Haman to carry out his evil plan was passed Esther was forced to make a difficult decision. She wasn’t sure what to do so she did what she always did, she prayed about it.
A few months ago a major motion picture entitled “One night with the King” was released. It is a Fox Faith film that tells the story of Esther. I’ve got a couple of scenes from that movie that I want to show you this morning. The first is when one of her servants delivers a message from her uncle Mordecai informing her of Haman’s plot to kill all of the Jews and encourages her to intercede with the King on their behalf. (Let’s watch this short clip). (“A Plea”)
Now obviously we don’t know if she prayed these exact words or not, but we do know that she spent three days fasting, praying, and seeking God’s guidance.
I believe this is something that we can all learn from Esther. She knew who to turn to in her hour of need. She didn’t know what to do, so she fasted and prayed, and ask Mordecai to get the rest of the Jews to do the same. Situations or problems come along every now and then in all of our lives that are confusing and seem downright impossible.