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Summary: Esther was faced with a decision that required her to pray, review God’s timing, act with courage and live by faith. These are traits we must evidence too when making decisions

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Esther became Queen to King Xerxes in 479BC. This was around 25 years after Ezra took a group of pilgrims back to Israel.

In chapter one Queen Vashti refuses to obey the King and is removed from power. In chapter two the King holds a beauty pageant to select the next queen. READ 2:17, 18

As we move into chapter 3 Haman becomes the Prime Minister to the King. He is an evil man and persuades the King to kill the Jewish people READ 3:8-11

In chapter 4 Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, sends her the message about the plans to kill all the Jewish people. Mordecai urges Esther to do the right thing and use her position and influence to intervene for her people. READ 4:12-16

I want you to be sure you understand Esther’s options:

1. She could do nothing and let all the Jews be destroyed and maybe even herself --- verse 13. In doing nothing herself, know that God cares and will select someone else or intervene in another way. Verse 14.

2. She could accept that God had placed her in this position as Queen to help her people even at her own risk.

What decision did Esther make? I will answer in a minute. I want this message to be more than a history lesson for you. I want to stress three key points from this story as a means of application:

A. Pray over your decisions

She requested the people to pray and fast for God to prepare the way. READ 4:16

Esther was faced with a life and death decision and felt the urgency to pray intensely. You may not feel as much urgency, but we each need to think about what God would have you do in service to Him through this church, take Esther’s advice and “pray and fast.”

As individual believers and a church we need to be in prayer so we will know the mind and heart of God. In my daily Bible reading last week I came across this story in Joshua 9:14 READ

Israel did not consult the Lord and made a treaty with the Gibeonites (the enemy). They did what seemed right to them, but they were deceived by appearance and lies. When you consult the Lord, He will give you wisdom beyond your own. He will give you bring you consul from people who have the spirit of discernment. The key to a close walk with the Lord is your prayer life.

Summarize:

Esther called people to prayer.

Joshua 9 illustrates that the Jews failed “to consult the Lord” and the result of that was a bad decision.

Ryan and Jennifer are going to further illustrate this truth about praying in a skit. (sit down while they do it)

Prayer skit (adapted from something heard on Christian radio)

Jennifer says --- Ryan, I am going to spend some time in prayer. Please don’t disturb me. (goes across the room and kneels in prayer)

“Oh Lord, I am your servant. I want to do your will no matter what it is.”

(Ryan pokes his head in the room) Excuse me, the Kelly called and wants to know if you will chaperone at the Ithchus music festival this year?

Jennifer --- you know I don’t like living outdoors, That is just not my kind of thing. Tell her no.

Jennifer --- (back to praying) Dear Jesus, You are wonderful and your mercy endures forever. I love you with all of my heart and desire to serve you no matter what it is.

(Ryan pokes his head in the room) Excuse me again, Pastor Jerry called and wants to know if you will help with the Food Pantry ministry?

Jennifer --- Tell him no. I don’t like being around that kind of people.

Jennifer --- (back to praying) Heavenly Father, I thank you for the salvation you have given me. I am so appreciative for it --- I want to do some great thing to pay you back. What is it you would have me do? Whatever it is I will do it!

(Ryan pokes his head in the room) Excuse me,

Something else you would turn down.

Jennifer back to prayer. Lord I don’t understand why you don’t reveal to me what it is you want me to do.

The skit is illustrating the point that you can pray and not listen to the Lord. Please don’t make that mistake.

B. Timing --- now

For “such a time as this” to me means now! It does not refer to sometime in the future when you have more time or different circumstances.

Timing is an interesting thing … back during the ice storm a couple of months ago, I heard a limb fall on the house and went outside to see what was going on. I turned the corner on the northwest end of the house where we had a dead tree. It was around 10pm. I looked to see if everything was okay. Nothing stood out to me to be worried about. I began walking up the side on the house headed toward the front yard when all of a sudden I heard a loud cracking sound and took off running as hard as I could. I stopped and looked back and the spot where I had been standing there now lay half a tree. One of the smaller pine trees snapped in half from the weight of the ice. The timing of that still amazes me. That tree could have snapped anytime before or anytime afterward, but it happened exactly while I was standing there. God spared and protected me and I am grateful.

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