"FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS."
I. THE OCCASION.
A. God's people are being threatened with extermination.
1. A cruel plot has been hatched up by a man named Haman.
a. He has been insulted by a Jew who refused to bow to him when he passed by.
b. In his anger he plots the extermination of all of the Jews in the whole realm.
c. It has a strong incentive program built into it, whoever kills the Jew can take all of his possessions.
2. Esther the queen is Jewish, though it is not known by others.
3. God has put Esther in a strategic place as queen.
B. Let's go back and see how God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.
1. The Persian King Ahasuerus had a great party in the third year of his reign for all of his nobles to celebrate his wealth and power.
2. It was the party to end all parties. It went on for 180 days.
3. They were to end this long celebration with a seven-day feast.
4. The wine was flowing, and they were drinking out of the golden goblets as the king was showing off his wealth.
5. When he was pretty drunk, he decided to show off the beauty of his wife, who was commanded to come to the party.
6. Knowing the kind of party, and that the men were all drunk and raucous, she refused to come.
7. The king became angered and called for his legal counselors to determine what should be done to his rebellious wife.
8. They answered him that she had not only wronged him but every man in the kingdom, that when the other wives heard of her actions, it would prompt a women's lib rebellion and all of the wives would become insubordinate to their husbands. That this was serious and the king would have to do something drastic.
9. They suggested that he sign a decree that would dethrone her as queen and that the king find another wife that would be better.
10. The decree should be published throughout all the kingdom that the wives should honor their husbands.
11. When the celebration was over and the king had sobered up, he began to miss his wife, and when they noticed how he was starting to mope around. They suggested that they hold a beauty contest and let the most beautiful women in the kingdom come before him that he might choose from them a new queen.
12. Now there in the palace city of Shushan was a Jew named Mordicai who had a cousin that he had raised after the death of her parents, and she was very beautiful.
13. Her name was Hadassah or Esther, and she was among the contestants chosen to come before the king.
14. She became an immediate favorite of those in charge of preparing the maidens to stand before the king.
15. At the suggestion of her cousin, she did not reveal her nationality.
16. After the 12 months of baths, oils and perfumes, the ladies were ready to be presented to the king.
17. When the king saw Esther, it was love at first sight and he had the crown placed on her head, and she became queen in place of Vashti.
C. Thus far, God has been working behind the scenes to prepare Esther for a far higher purpose.
1. It was God that caused Vashti to rebel against the king's command.
2. It was God that inspired the punishment that Vashti was to receive.
3. It was God that caused Esther to be chosen as the new queen.
4. Up to this point we do not know why.
5. God is always working behind the scenes in our lives. We do not know what God is preparing us for, but all things are working together for good to those who love God and are the called according to his purpose.
II. THE PURPOSE OF GOD BEGINS TO UNFOLD.
A. Mordicai, Esther's cousin, hung around the gate of the palace to be as close to her as possible.
1. While he was there, he heard two men plotting to assassinate the king. Mordicai got word to Esther, who told the king that she received a report from a man named Mordicai of the plot. An investigation was made and it was discovered that the report was true and the two men were executed, and it was recorded in the chronicles of the king.
2. Meanwhile, there was an ambitious man in the kingdom named Haman, who was promoted by the king to the position of high honor. It came to pass as he would leave the palace, all of the people would bow to him according to the commandment of the king.
3. However, Mordicai, because he was a Jew, would not bow to any but God, and the matter was brought to Haman who also was informed that he was a Jew.
4. When Haman observed that Mordicai did not bow, he was incensed, and was determined to exterminate not just Mordicai, but all of the Jews in the kingdom.
5. This is when he framed this decree that on a certain day, all of the Jews in the kingdom became fair game, and whoever would kill them could take their possessions.
6. He presented this decree to the king who signed it into law, and sealed it with his signet ring. Now according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, when a law had been signed and sealed by the king, even the king himself could not rescind it.
7. It was then that Mordicai sent a message to Esther that she should go before the king and plead for her people.
8. Esther sent a message back that she would be taking her life in her own hands for no one could appear before the king unless they had been bidden by him to come, and to step into his presence unbidden meant instant death unless he would raise the golden scepter to them.
9. Mordicai communicated back, "Don't think that if this decree is carried out that you will be spared, even though you are in the king's palace. If you fail at this time, their deliverance will arise from another quarter, but you and your father's house will be destroyed. Who knows that you have been brought into the kingdom for such a time as this?"
10. Esther sent back a request that he gather the Jews in Shushan to fast for her for three days, and she and her maidens would fast also and she would go before the king, and she said, "If I perish, I perish."
a. She was willing to risk her life for God's people.
b. This is the kind of commitment that wins.
11. After the three days, she went in to the king who raised his golden scepter to her and asked what her request might be and he would give it to her even to half of the kingdom.
12. She requested that He would come to her chamber to eat a banquet that she had prepared for him and to bring Haman along with him.
13. So the king and Haman came to Esther's banquet.
14. After the banquet, the king again offered to grant her every request to half of his kingdom.
15. And she requested that the next day they return for another banquet.
III. THE PLOT THICKENS.
A. As Haman left the banquet to go home, he saw again Mordicai who refused to bow, and when he got home he bragged how he was so honored by the queen that only he was invited with the king to the banquet, however all of this meant nothing because of his anger over the refusal of Mordicai to bow.
1. Some of the family members suggested that he build a high gallows so that when the day came, he could hang that Jew high in the sight of all of the people in the city.
2. The idea pleased him so he ordered a gallows constructed 75 feet high with the intention of hanging Mordicai on that gallows.
B. That night the king was restless and could not sleep. He ordered that the Chronicles be read to him. That was probably so boring that he figured it would put him to sleep. They came to the part of the Chronicles where there was the plot on his life and how by the warning of Mordicai, his life was spared. He questioned what reward had been given to this Mordicai and when he was told that nothing was done for him, he determined that some kind of reward should be given him.
1. The next morning when Haman came in, he said to Haman, "If the king wanted to really honor someone, what could he do for him?" Haman thought who would the king want to honor more than me?" He is like the person in the song, "You are so vain, you think this song is about you."
2. He said to the king. "Let the royal apparel of the king be put upon him, and let him ride on the king's horse, and put the king's crown upon his head, and let him ride through the streets with someone going before him and crying, "This is a man that the king desires to honor."
3. The king said to him, "Make haste and do all that you have said and put on Mordicai the Jew and lead him through the city."
4. When they returned to the palace, he rushed home and told his wife and friends how mortified he was because of what he had to do. They said, "If Mordicai is a Jew who you are trying to destroy, you are in big trouble."
5. He found that the time had come and he had to rush to the banquet of Esther.
6. Again after the banquet, the king offered to Esther her desire to half of the kingdom, and she said, "Please spare my life and the life of my people."
7. He said to her, "Who wants to take your life? Where is he?" And she answered, "Our enemy is this wicked Haman."
8. The king was so upset he took a walk in the garden to collect his thoughts and Haman grabbed hold of Esther to plead for his life. As the King returned to the banquet room he saw Haman holding Esther on her bed, and he said, "Will you also try to rape my wife in my own house?" The servants covered the head of Haman and he was taken out and hung on his own gallows.
IV. WE OFTEN WONDER WHAT PURPOSE GOD HAS FOR OUR LIVES.
A. Paul said, "You are His workmanship created together in Christ Jesus unto the good works that God has before ordained that you should walk in them."
1. God was working in Esther's life long before she even recognized it.
2. God was preparing her for one special hour. She was to be His instrument to save His nation of Israel.
3. It is interesting to me that in two days she was able to fulfill the purpose of God for her life.
4. When that moment comes in our life, to fulfill God's purpose, it often calls for a great commitment. Like Esther, it might be the kind of commitment that says, "I will do it, and if I perish, I perish. But I will know that I perished for the cause of God."
B. There is one final twist to this story that I would like to point out.
1. We are told that Haman was an Agagite. Thus, he was a descendant of Agag the king of the Amalikites.
2. In the scriptures, the Amalikites were a type of the flesh.
3. They fought against Israel when they were first coming out of Egypt. They attacked Israel at the weakest point.
a. Just as our flesh attacks us as we are just coming out of the bondage of sin.
b. The flesh attacks at our weakest point.
4. God told Moses that he would be at war with Amalek from generation to generation, but when they had come into the land and were established there, and had become strong, that God had a score to settle with Amalek and they were to come back and totally destroy them.
5. When Saul had become king, the prophet Samuel came to him and told him that the time had come to settle the old grievance with Amalek. That Saul was to go down and utterly destroy and to leave nothing alive, not even their animals.
6. This is God's sentence against our flesh, kill it, crucify it, by the Spirit mortify it.
7. You know the story, Saul went down and defeated them but did not obey the command of God, but kept the king alive, and many of the animals.
8. When Samuel came out to meet him, Saul lied and said that he had done all that the Lord had commanded him to do.
9. Later when Saul had fallen in battle, a young man came to David to tell him about Saul's death. He was an Amalikite.
10. In our story in Esther, it was an Amalikite that plotted the destruction of all of the Jews.
11. A warning, if you do not utterly destroy the old flesh life, it will ultimately come back to destroy you.