Esther 4 Part 2–For Such a Time as This

Esther was  faced with a very difficult choice.  Her people faced certain obliteration.  The irreversable decree had been sealed and notice posted throughout the land. Mordechi encouraged Esther to go to the king and intercvede on Israel’s behalf.  Esther knew that if she approached the king without being summoned, she could be killed, but failiing to approach the king meant certain death for her people.  Mordechi made two very important observations.
  1. If you sit silently, God will use someone else to save Israel, but all traces of your family will be destroyed.
  2.  Who knows, but that your rise to prominence was orchestrated for such a time as this.
Esther sent the people off to fast and to pray. She and her staff did the same. At the end of the day she would do what she knew to be right and if she dies, well she dies.
 
As God’s people, we need to have the same attitude as did Esther. We will be faced with trials and opportunities where our faith will be tested.  In those times, we have to decide to trust and obey.  If we fail to do so, God will use others to achieve His plan.  But, we can rest assured that our blessing will be stripped away.  Conversely, if God blesses us, and we find ourselves in a position to assist others, who knows but that we have come to our position for such a time as this…We must stand ready to pray and to act for the furtherence of the Kingdom. Even without discussing Gods’s intervention, His leadership, guidence and direction are evident in all that we see and do.  
 
God Bless You

 

Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”

12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

Esther 4 Part 1–Esther Wants to Help

When Esther heard that her uncle was trapesing around Susa in Sackcloth and ashes, well, she was beside herself. Afterall, He was the uncle of the queen–that was not proper.  From Esther’s perspective, things could not be better.  She was in love, with a King who loved her and had made her his queen. Once an orphan now the 1st lady of the Persians.  What she did not know was that her entire nation had an expiration date, thanks to Hamaan.  An irreversable law was in place that allowed for the genocde and looting of an entire people. Her hubby signed that law into place, without even knowing it affected his new queen.  She sent her best protector to help her poor crazy uncle, but what she would soon learn would turn the world upside down.
 
Our lives touch so many others. We cross paths daily with those who we affect without even trying.  We must stay sharp, seek God and be prepared to intervene with prayer, encouragement, our skills and our wallets to assist those that are in a struggle. If, however, we are blind to what is going on, we may miss the opportunity to turn the world upside down.  That is why we must remain ready to give an account and be ready to serve. God is always there and will prepare, protect and provide for what we need to fill that role.  Help me Lord to be sensitive to my opportunities to serve.
 
God Bless You

When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.

So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.

Esther 3 Part 2–Bewildered

So things were going fine. Israel was doing its thing, Xerxes was doing His thing…Then Hamaan decides to destroy and pillage the people of Israel.  There had been no uprisings. There had been no talk of escape or rebellion.  So when the edict for the Israelite’s complete destruction was posted–well, the whole nation was dumfounded, well everyone but Hamaan. Sometimes the circumstance of Life simply does not make sense.  But, God is faithful to  execute His plan no matter how little sense life seems to make.  It is obvious that the Israelite people were shocked and devestated–How could this be? But the great news was that even in those devastating moments God was working his plan.
 
When life seems completely dark and hope seems a distant dream; that is when God does His best work .  We have to trust that the Lord knows what is going on and will work His plan flawlessly to make our lives full and meaningful.  We must always seek  God and trust His plan for our lives.  If we will then at the end we can point to the countless times He intervened and completed His work in our lives.  Help me, Lord, to never give up in dire circumstances and always trust You to complete Your plan in my life.
 
God Bkess  You

 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”

12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.

15 The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.

Esther 3 Part 1–Then Came Hamaan

Things were going great for the People of Israel. Sure they were in exile, but they were able to carry on with their lives, worship God and be treated as everyone else. Well that was until Hamaan stepped in.  Hamaan did not like that Esther’s uncle refused to bow down to Him.  He took ot quite personally.  It bothered him so much, that not only did he want to get rid of Mordechi, but, he wanted to rid the world of the whole lot of Israel.  So as the King’s chief noble, he asked to do just that.  What is more he offered the king a substantial bribe to be allowed to do it.  The Kig did not even blink and gave Hamaan the permission to wipe out Israel and did not even take the bribe!
 
No matter how well things seem to be going in our lives, we need to remember we have an enemy that wants us wiped out.  It is not only Satan and his lot, but the the world culture does not like the princples of  humility, hiliness and selflessness that we as the body of Christ represent.  So, each day, the world looks for a way to minimise, nuetralize and wipe Christianity from the anals of History and the faceof the earth.  We need to be aware that this is spiritual war and we are always at risk.  The great news is that our Father is greater and he prepares, provies and protects us from those that would destroy us.  We simply have to trust Him and allow Him to lead.
 
God Bless You

After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.

Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behavior would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.

When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.

In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on[a] the twelfth month, the month of Adar.

Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents[b] of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.”

10 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”

Esther 2 Part 3–God’s Bigger Plan

It is no secret that God is large and in charge. As we continue to look at the life of Esther, it is critical that one remembers that it is also a look at the life of Israel, the Exile and Mordechi–Esther’s uncle and guardian. Just after Esther is crowned queen of the empire, her uncle overhears the plotting of the King’s assignation.  He reports the plot to Esther, she reports the plot to the King and the King executes the would be assassins.  Not a big deal…or was it? Had Esther not been made queen, Would her guardian be able to sit at a place of honor at the gate? If he was not Esther’s uncle would his report gotten to the King? Had the assassins been successful, what might have become of the people of Israel?
 
The point being, the things God does each day to execute His plans for our lives entertwine, interact and work together for the good. We can never try to figure God out, it is simply too far above our ability to comprehend. But suffice it to say, that God knows what is going on and cares deeply and personally for each of us–even a heathen King. We can never give up or think that God has abandoned us.  He may simply be orchestrating a plan for our salvation  or the salvation of many others.  Our contribution may seem small, but one never knows what impact our faith and obedience may have.  It is like the story of the retiring tent evangelist that was preaching his heart out, but noone was coming forward.  He felt so useless.  The only documented conversion in his last revival tour was a young man from North Carolina, the boy’s name–Billy Graham. We must trust that God has a plan and He chooses us to be a part if we are simply willing to trust and obey!
 
God Bless You

 When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.

21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana[b] and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. 23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were impaled on poles. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.

Esther 2 Part 2–The Favor of the Lord

Esther was raised differently. She was humble and grateful. She found favor with everyone with whom she made contact.  She was different.  She was different bbecause she walked with the Lord.  The selflessness that comes with following God stands out in the world and makes those that follow Him seem different.  It was a stark contrast from the queen Vashti. Vashti thought it was her job to be served and to be exalted. Esther asked for very little, expected very little and sought to be kind and humble.  When the folks in the palace saw that, they adored her.  When the king saw that, it was true love.  He picked Esther over all the candidates, made her queen and threw a party like none other.(Esther gladly attended it!)
 
In our lives, we need to have the same heart of humility.  We need to expect very little and live to serve God.  We should be selfless and grateful–ready to give and to serve.  If we walk with that attitude, God will be honored and we will find favor with many who will ultimately be affected for Christ.  As Solomon said in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways–and He will make your path straight!”
 
God Bless You

 Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women— 13 when the young woman went in to the king in this way, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go in, and in the morning she would return to the second harem in custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch, who was in charge of the concubines. She would not go in to the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.

15 When the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her. 16 And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, 17 the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown[b] on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther’s feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity.

Esther 2 Part 1–Preparing to be Queen

It was no small task to become queen in Xerxes harem. After Xerxes settled down, the leadership searched accross the kingdom and brought several virgins to audition for queen.  To be selected to audition was an amazing honor. The preparation  to appear before the king took a  year. The ladies selected had to not only find favor with the King, but, she had to find favor with those that guarded and prepared the ladies.  Esther did that very well.  Not only was she beautiful, but she had a great heart and won favor with all whom she came in contact.  She was an orhan raised by her uncle.  On paper she would not have been the pick for a king.  An orphaned exile from Israel…But, God had a better plan.
 
God chooses and uses those He has prepared for service.  It is rarely the ones that the world would pick.  Truth be told, God picks the right person because he sees within and without.  If we will prepare our lives for service–seek Him, read God’s word and pray. Then at just the right time God can use us to accomplish His plan for our lives and often the lives of others. Few would expect that a year of spa days would be the training for saving a nation. In Esther’s life. that was God’s plan.    She was faithul to follow the plan and that would in time change the world. It needs to be our goal to be humble, faithful and ready to go where He leads us.
 
God Bless You

 Later when King Xerxes’ fury had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beaunot only find favor with the Kingtiful young virgins for the king. Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it.

Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin[a] king of Judah. Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.

When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.

10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. 11 Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.