Summary: 1. God’s shakes us awake (vs. 1-3). 2. God’s steers our paths (vs. 4-5). 3. God shames the proud (vs. 6-11). 4. God saves His people (vs. 10-11). 5. God scares His enemies (vs. 12-14).
For Such a Time as This
Part 6: The Hand of God in our Lives
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - June 24, 2012
*We are studying the dramatic story of a Jewish woman who was born about 500 years before Christ, and became a great hero for her people. Esther was orphaned as a girl and raised by a Godly older cousin named Mordecai. That close bond extended into Esther’s adulthood, as she continued to put great stock in Mordecai’s wisdom.
*Mordecai and Esther lived in the Persian Empire, the greatest empire of that day. By the Hand of God, and against incredible odds, Esther the secret Jew was chosen to be the new queen of the empire. And her selection as queen turned out to be a matter of life and death for all of the Jews.
*This danger came from a wicked plot by the new prime minister named Haman. He was a proud, bloodthirsty monster, who schemed to annihilate the Jews, simply because Mordecai refused to bow down before anybody but the Lord.
*Haman convinced the king to issue an irreversible decree to slaughter all the Jews. But in Esther 4, Mordecai challenged his young cousin to plead for her people before the king. This was a huge request, because Esther faced the death penalty for appearing before the king uninvited. But in Esther 4:16, the queen was persuaded and said: “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!”
*Last week, chapter 5 told us that after the three days of prayer and fasting, Esther found favor in the sight of the king. Then she began to carry out a plan to save her people.
*Listen to this part of the story again starting in Esther 5:2.
2. So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.
3. And the king said to her, "What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you up to half my kingdom!''
4. So Esther answered, "If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.''
5. Then the king said, "Bring Haman quickly, that he may do as Esther has said.'' So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Esther had prepared.
6. At the banquet of wine the king said to Esther, "What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request, up to half my kingdom? It shall be done!''
7. Then Esther answered and said, "My petition and request is this:
8. If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.''
9. So Haman went out that day joyful and with a glad heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, and that he did not stand or tremble before him, he was filled with indignation against Mordecai.
*That’s when the wicked prime minister sulked home, and agreed to a devilish plan to hang Mordecai. Esther 5:14 gives this report: “Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, ‘Let a gallows be made, fifty cubits (or 75 feet) high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.’ And the thing pleased Haman; so he had the gallows made.”
*With this background in mind, let’s read Esther 6:1-14.
*Things looked good again for Haman, but how quickly they began to turn in chapter 6, -- because God is in control!
*God was working behind the scenes to help His people. And He is surely working in our lives today. As we move into chapter 6, we can see some of the ways God works in our lives.
1. First: God’s shakes us awake.
*This is the lesson for us tonight in vs. 1-3:
1. That night the king could not sleep. So one was commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king.
*(This was the very same night when Haman’s men were busy building a 75-foot-high scaffold to use for hanging Mordecai.)