Summary: In the book of Esther we will see how moves in the life of his people and places them in a position to take a stand for him. And when they do look out... (Real People - True Stories part 8)
"THY WILL BE DONE"
Today we are going to study the book of Esther. If you have never read it, or IF it has been a long time and the details have become a little cloudy get ready because this is an exciting story.
There are 5 major characters in this book, and we’ll introduce them now to make things easier to follow....
Xerxes; is the 5th king of the Persian Empire and he is in the 3rd year of his reign which began in 486 BC after the death of his father Darius the First.
Vashti; is the Queen of Persia she is a woman of character and conviction.
Mordeci; is a Jewish man whose family was exiled when Jerusalem fell. He is a cousin of Esther and has been rasing her ever since her parents died.
Esther; is an orphan girl who is being raised by Mordeci, she is a woman of both inner and outer beauty.
Hamon; is the villain of the story, he is dressed in black and is wearing a black hat... He is the second in command of Persian Empire.
As we study this thrilling account from the Word of God we will see that though God’s name is never mentioned in this book, that His presence, His providence, His moving, is very apparent as the drama unfolds.
It is like God is off stage directing those who are on stage, setting the scenes and guiding the action.
You know it is so easy to see God in the spectacular and the miraculous, but it is a lot harder to see God in the seemingly mundane and ordinary times of our life. But God is also present there, weaving a plan and working in our lives.
I. SCENE ONE, "THE PARTY"
This drama from the word of God opens in 483BC, during the 3rd year of King Xerxes rein, in the city of Susa, just north of the Persian Gulf and East of the Tigris and Euphrates river, (modern day Iran). Gods people have been scattered throughout the Persian Empire since the fall of Jerusalem (which occurred 587 BC at the hands of the Babylonians, because of their disobedience) and some like Nehemiah have gone home to rebuild the city and the Temple.
So here we have King Xeroxes in his capital city. And I think we would have to call Xeroxes the ultimate party animal. He is throwing a party for all of his nobles, officials, princes and military leaders, one commentator said probably a group of about 10-15,000. And do you know how long this party lasted? for 180 days. And do you know what he did right after the party? he threw another one for ten days in the enclosed garden of his palace.
And while this party was going on the ladies were having there own party given by Queen Vashti. And as the party was nearly over the King (no doubt drunk) thought "HEY, I HAVE A GREAT LOOKING WIFE, I THINK I’LL HAVE HER GET ALL PRETTIED UP AND COME IN WALK AROUND IN FRONT OF MY DRUNKEN FRIENDS." So he sent his messengers to go get her.
What do you think Queen Vashti did when she heard the King’s order? She refused, she wasn’t about to allow herself and the King (who was not in his right mind) to be disgraced, she was a woman of convictions and even though she knew that the price would be high to refuse, she sent back word ,"I’m not coming."
When XerXes hears this he is pretty ticked off and he asks some of his officials what he should do and they tell him that if he does not punish Queen Vashti then when all the woman of the empire hear of it they all in turn, will rebel against their husbands.
So they remove Vashti’s crown and issue a decree that all woman in the empire, must respect their husband. It is as if they think they can demand their wives to respect them. But that’s not how it works respect is not demanded it is earned.
II. SCENE TWO, "THE PAGEANT" [CH2]
The next scene I call the pageant. And it takes place nearly four years after the end of chapter one. In the intervening years Xerxes takes his navy and goes to Europe and tries to defeat Greece,(something his dad failed to do). But he doesn’t do much better and the greek historian Herodotus says that Xerxes came home and sought consolation with his harem.
It is after this where they begin to find a replacement for Queen Vashti. Xerxes attendant suggests sending out commissioners all 127 provinces and that they bring back to Susa the most beautiful virgins that they can find.
"And let the one who please you be the next Queen and we will help you Judge."