Walking Thru The Bible

Old Testament -- Esther

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            Walking Thru The Bible
          AUTHOR:  It is considered possible that Mordecai was the author of
          the book ("And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all
          the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both
          nigh and far," Esther 9:20).  The Hebrew is similar to that of Ezra and
          RECIPIENTS:  The book seems to be especially designed for the
          Jews of the dispersion in the various parts of the Persian empire 
          (9:20).  (See Purpose)
          DATE:  The events described in the book begin with the third year
          (1:3) of the reign of Ahasuerus and closes with his twelfth year (3:7). 
          This was approximately 483-474 BC.  Esther became queen in 479
          BC (2:16).

           The Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther is also known in secular
          history as Xerxes, king of Persia (485-465 BC).  He is famous for his
          expedition against Greece and how the Greeks defeated his
          tremendous fleet at the battle of Salamis in 480 BC.  Historians tells
          us that this was one of the world's most important battles. 

           From parallel passages in the works of Herodotus we find that the
          feast described in the first chapter of Esther was the occasion for
          planning the campaign against Greece, the third year of his reign.
           Esther replaced Vashti in the seventh year of his reign (Esther
          2:16) when Xerxes returned from his disastrous defeat.
          PURPOSE OF THE BOOK: To show God's providential care for
          His people even in the dispersion; also to show the origin of the
          Jewish feast of Purim (3:6-7; 9:26-28).
          THEME:  The providential deliverance of the Jews from destruction
          through the agency of Esther and Mordecai.  Esther is like Joseph and
          David.  God had each one hidden away for His purpose.  When the
          day came, He brought them to the front to work out His plan.
          KEY VERSE:  The key verse of the book is Esther 4:14:
           "For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall
          there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another
          place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who
          knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as
          this?"  (Esther 4:14)
          KEY WORD:  "The Jews"  (43 times)
           Note:   Although God's name is not mentioned in the book
                     of Esther, every page is full of God who hides Himself
                     behind every word.  Matthew Henry, the great commentator,
                     says, "If the name of God is not there, His finger is."  It is
                     called "The Romance of Providence."  God has a part in all
                     the events of human life.

           Ch. 1   Queen Vashti displeases the king and is dethroned.
           Ch. 2   Esther is selected and made queen.

           Ch. 3   Haman plots to destroy the Jews
           Ch. 4   Esther promises to intercede for her people
           Ch. 5   Esther secures the favor of the king and his presence at
                             her banquet for him and Haman.
           Ch. 6   Mordecai is honored and Haman humbled.
           Ch. 7   A second banquet foils Haman's plot and he is hanged.
           Ch. 8   Mordecai is promoted to Haman's position and the Jews
                             are authorized by the king to defend themselves against
                             their enemies.

           Ch. 9   The Jews are victorious over their enemies and the Feast
                             of Purim is established.
           Ch. 10  The greatness of Mordecai during the remainder of
                             Ahasuerus' reign.
          Note: This is the true story of a little Jewish orphan girl becoming
          Queen of Persia.  At this time the Persian throne controlled over half
          the then-known world.
           Esther was the Queen of the famous Xerxes for thirteen years. 
          No doubt she lived for many years into the reign of her stepson,
          Artaxerxes.  Under this king, Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem.  It was
          Esther's marriage to this famous Persian monarch that gave the Jews
          enough prestige at this court that made it possible for Nehemiah to
          rebuild Jerusalem with official help  (Nehemiah 2:1-8).

- - - SERMON - - - 

                            "FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS"


          1.  Esther 4:13-16.  The background story of the events in Susa.

           a. Ahasuerus  (481 BC) was king of Persia.

           b. God's people Israel were in the provinces of Persia.

           c. The King had the leaders of 127 provinces to come to a
                        celebration that lasted 187 days-- more than six months.

              (1   It was a feast of drinking and sin.

              (2   The King sends for Vashti to come and display her
                             beauty.  She refuses because of her modesty.

           d. The King accepts the suggestion to reject her and choose
                        another to be queen in her stead.

              (1   Esther, a young Jewess, is eventually chosen. 
          2.  Her cousin (uncle?) Mordecai had offended Haman a high official
                        in the King's court.  By trickery Haman gets the King to sign a
                        decree that all the Jews should be put to death.

           a. A decree issued by a Persian monarch was unalterable.

           b. God stepped in and in a providential way delivered His
                        people from the decree that Christ might come of their seed
                        as promised (Gen. 12:1-3).
          3.  This story is written for our benefit (Romans 15:4) and shows
                        God's providential care for his people.
          "FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS"  Esther 4:14
          Mordecai thought Esther had come to the throne "for such a time as
          this."  What sort of a time was it?
          1.  It was a time when the King and the leaders of the nation were
                        selfish, wicked, and immoral.

           a. Sin was in the saddle so to speak.

           b. "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but
                        when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." (Proverbs

           *  What about the "leaders" (?) of today?  What kind of a 
               role-model are the politicians, sports and entertainment figures

           *  What about the morals and philosophies of those molding
                        and shaping the minds of our youth?  (The media, the
                        educators, etc.)
          2.  It was a time of worldly pomp and show  (Esther 4:13-16 and
                        especially 1:3-8).

           a. It was a time when the leaders of 127 provinces recklessly
                        took 6 months vacation for wickedness and sin.  

           b. They neglected the nation, its welfare, and their homes.

           *  Today our nation is neglecting to preserve the fountains of
                        righteousness in our nation:  "Prayer" outlawed from schools;
                        "homosexuality" paraded as a civil rights issue instead of sin;
                        the murder of innocent babies legalized!
              2 Timothy 3:1-5;  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
          3.  It was a time of strong drink in the nation-- Esther 1:7-8.

           *  We are slowly becoming a nation of drunkards and
                        alcoholics.  We keep seeing the danger but doing nothing
                        about it.  Proverbs 20:1; 23:21;  23:29-35
          4.  It was a time of immodesty and debauchery-- Esther 1-2

           a. It was a time when the King demanded Vashti the Queen to
                        come before the leaders of 127 provinces and display her
                        body before their drunken lustful eyes (1:10-11).

           b. The Queen had the moral courage to dare to do right! 
              1 Timothy 2:6-10;
          5.  It was a time when the sanctify of marriage was at a low ebb.

           a. The King was willing to get rid of the Queen for no fault of
                        hers.  (Esther 1:19)

           b. Now one of every two marriages end in divorce. (Mt.19:3-9)
          6.  It was a time when human life was cheap.

           a. The leaders were willing to sign a decree to have 2,000,000
                        Jews killed, because one of them would not bow and tip his
                        hat to Haman, a wicked scoundrel  (Esther 3:9, 13).

           b. Life today is cheap.  Murders escalating wildly.  Theft and
                        hate escalating.  'Aborting on demand' supported by the news
                        and entertainment media.
          7.  It was a time that needed the good woman Esther (4:13-16)

           a. Her silence would have been sin.  She found herself in a
                        responsible position and she had to do what she could.

           *  A TIME that needs good people--
                good people in leadership in the nations--  in business--
                          in education--  in communications--  and in the home.


           "For such a time as this" what kind of disciples do you think the
          Lord needs?  Are you one of that kind?  Are you one the Lord can
          count on and depend on?

-- Windell Gann -- Walking Thru the Bible --

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