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Summary: Esther, Pt. 5

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STAND UP AND BE COUNTED (ESTHER 5)

In 2006, America’s Public Broadcasting Company aired a documentary on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Who was this man who had inspired Martin Luther King, Jr., Desmond Tutu and millions of Christians around the world? The calendars of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Episcopal Church in America commemorate him on April 9, the date on which he was hanged in 1945.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906 – April 9, 1945) was the German Lutheran pastor and theologian who paid dearly with his life for resisting the Nazis, specifically Hitler, before the Second World War. Banned from preaching and teaching, he headed an illegal seminary that opposed the anti-Semitic policies of Adolf Hitler.

In 1939, Bonhoeffer joined a hidden group of high-ranking military officers to overthrow the regime and assassinate Hitler, but was arrested in April 1943 – four years later - after money used to help Jews escape was traced to him. He was charged with conspiracy and sent to prison for a year and a half. Adolph Hitler’s failed assassination a year later led to the execution of more than 200 people and Bonhoeffer’s connections to the conspirators. He was moved to a series of prisons and concentration camps, ending with his hanging three weeks before the liberation of the city. Also hanged together with him were his brother and his two brothers-in-law.

In the mid-1990s, the German Government officially absolved him of any “crimes” he might have committed. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer

It’s been said, “Vigilance is the cost of liberty.”

Esther is a compelling story to share but a difficult passage to preach, especially from Esther 5 on. Today we are not in any resistant mood, impasse mode or protest movement to begin with. We are not a political group. We do not have a social agenda and we are not in a war, a revolution or an anarchy. So how do we understand and apply this chapter? What are the principles and implications for us today? Christians are agents of change regardless of time, place and event. Rarely can we sit on the sidelines, but how can we change things and not force things? What is our role in times of unrest or peace?

Be Prudent, Not Pushy, in Presenting Change

5:1 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. 2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. 3 Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.” 4 “If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.” 5 “Bring Haman at once,” the king said, “so that we may do what Esther asks.” (Est 5:1-5)

A certain man had invited the pastor and his wife for dinner, and it was little Joey’s job to set the table. But when it came time to eat, Joey’s mother said with surprise, “Why didn’t you give Mrs. Brown a knife and fork dear?” “I didn’t think I needed to,” as everyone listened as Joey explained, “I heard Daddy say she always eats like a horse.”

Another story: The young couple invited their elderly preacher for Sunday dinner. While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their

son what they were having. “Goat,” the little boy replied. “Goat?” replied the startled man of the cloth, “Are you sure about that?” “Yep,” said the youngster. “I heard Dad say to Mom, ‘Today is just as good as any to have the old goat for dinner.’”

Last one: A couple invited some people to dinner. At the table, the mother turned to her six-year-old daughter and asked her to say the blessing. “I wouldn’t know what to say,” she replied. “Just say what you hear Mommy say,” the mother said.

The little girl bowed her head and prayed, “Dear Lord, why on Earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”

The effort of Esther in rescuing the Jews was critical to stopping Haman, but she thought long and hard and decided to do things her way – no more running to Mordecai. Further, had Mordecai know of her plans he would have advised her differently. The thing about Esther was that she used her head more than her heart in her preparation. In contrast to Vashti, who reacted to Xerxes’ demand for her to parade herself, Esther was careful and meticulous in preparation. If her life was at stake, she had better chose the weapons of war, and her weapons of war were gentleness, patience and wisdom.

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