Summary: Esther shows us that everyone has a purpose and a place in God’s story - His-story (Part 2 "Fresh Lessons From Former Leaders").
Everybody makes history in some way or another. But we usually only remember the famous history makers; like, Joan of Arc, Marco Polo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Christopher Columbus or Florence Nightingale.
What the story of Esther teaches us is that God orchestrates history, because it’s “His-Story.” But he chooses to shape history through the lives of ordinary people.
For instance, Esther was used to change the course of history for an entire nation – but only because she said “Yes” to God. If Esther had not agreed, God may well have saved his people – but he would have used another person to do it.
The fact is, every person has a place in God’s story – we all have a place in “His-Story.” And Esther shows us that if you want God to make history through you, you must adhere to certain principles. So let me try and explain some of the principles involved in becoming a history maker for God.
1) Learn when to Shut Up .
It is commonly known in the world of advertising that the most successful ad campaigns don’t try to change people: they try to reflect how people are already feeling. Advertisers know that consumers won’t respond to an ad unless the ad is a response to them. This is why advertising companies spend so much time and money on market research. They want to “Listen” to the market and respond to it.
Esther teaches us the same lesson. If you want to be a history maker then you must learn when to shut up and listen.
Esther listened to her shrewd mentor – her uncle Mordecai – and kept her mouth closed.
Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so (Esther 2:10).
Keeping her mouth closed preserved Esther’s life and enabled her to gain access to the king.
So learning how to shut up and listen can give us access into another person’s world. It certainly helps us to understand others better. And it’s not until we understand the people around us that we can truly begin to have an influence in their lives – and perhaps change the course of their personal history.
Proverbs describes the kind of person who won’t shut up, it says ....
A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions (Proverbs 18:2).
This kind of person has a closed mind and an open mouth. Instead of listening to gain a new perspective this person loves telling others what’s on his mind.
This kind of person is too self absorbed to be a history maker. History makers are listeners; they are students of people and their times. Again Proverbs confirms that a wise person knows when to stay silent.
A man who lacks judgement derides his neighbour, but a man of understanding holds his tongue (Proverbs 11:12).
So what does all this mean to us? Well for a start, people are more likely to listen to you, if you have first listened to them. And gaining a hearing is crucial if you want to begin changing history.
As Christians we want to see people’s personal history changed – we want their destiny to be in heaven where they belong – not in hell which is place that has been prepared for the devil and his henchmen, not humans.
Yet so often all Christians are interested in doing is telling people how to run their lives. So this week, if you want God to use you to change someone’s personal destiny, shut up and listen first. People won’t listen to you until you have listened and understood them first.
2) Learn when to Speak Up .
But there is another side to this coin. Perhaps you know the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. DB was active in the anti-Hitler movement of the second world war. He was a German Lutheran Pastor who spoke up against Hitler; he worked as a double agent; and he was actively involved in an assassination attempt on Hitler’s life. DB was imprisoned by the Nazi’s in 1943 and hanged on 9th April 1945, just days before the end of the war.
But what DB’s life shows us, is that if we want to be history makers we must also learn when to speak up.
Esther also chose her time speak very carefully - - this was the third occasion she had approached the king. And then she came out with the hard truth .....
Esther said, "The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman" (Esther 7:6a – cf vv3-7)
There’s no getting around it, Christianity by stealth is wrong. Keeping our faith a secret is a habit motivated by fear & shame. And Jesus issues a stern warning to those who are unwilling to speak up on his behalf.