Sermons

Wed, Oct 03, 2018

Esther

The Book of Esther Esther gives us a glimpse of the Jews who did not return from Exile that we read about in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah and to Jerusalem. God is at work even when its not obvious to us at the moment. Its true regarding Esther, its true of the Jewish people and its true about me and you as followers of Christ. Romans 8 reminds us in verse 28, that God works all things together for good to them that love Him and who walk according to His purpose. There is no such thing as luck. We serve a sovereign God.
Series:Esther
Duration:1 hr 51 mins 48 secs

The Book of Esther

 

Esther gives us a glimpse of the Jews who did not return from Exile that we read about in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah and to Jerusalem.

 

God is at work even when its not obvious to us at the moment. Its true regarding Esther, its true of the Jewish people and its true about me and you as followers of Christ. Romans 8 reminds us in verse 28, that God works all things together for good to them that love Him and who walk according to His purpose.

 

There is no such thing as luck. We serve a sovereign God.

 

Think about Esther’s life… she was living a life in relative obscurity and she gets chosen to be queen then put into a place where she will put her life on the line for the jewish people. I doubt she understood what was taking place at the time it was taking place. God is naturally supernatural.

 

God is working in your life regardless of what you think or what you see.

 

Jewish historians love the book. Martin Luther didnt think much of the Jews nor the book of Esther. He didn’t think that the book of Esther should be included in the canonized scripture.

 

Its a book about the providencial care of God in the lives of His children.

 

Haman attempted to wipe out the Jews. A great attack on the entire Jewish population. Esther is about how God turned this all around.

 

Not a lot of spiritual things about the book of Esther. Esther was a Persian Jew.

 

Esther, her name Hebrew name means “mertyl” from chapter 2:7. Esther means “star”

 

It resulted in a great Jewish feast Purim.  Purim comes from the word “lots”

 

The Jewish celebrate Purim on the 14-15th of January…

 

How power or money can appear to be powerful… You know the saying, “he who has the gold makes the rules…” The world thinks who has the money has the power. Haman thought he had power. Mordecai ended up with the authority and power and yet he was powerless.

 

The power of Esther and her cousin Mordecai… a power through obedience. The power of a righteous life. The power of submission.

 

Regardless of the appearance, being right before God is powerful.  

 

Power isn’t given for self gratification…

 

Man’s sense of himself… It’s pathetic. For 6 months he throws a party and invites all the worldly to it. Tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine

 

We are all feeble until God puts His Spirit into us…Boldness comes from

 

The world is full of Hamans. There aren’t a lot of Mordecai’s in the world.

 

We will see how God rewards loyalty…  

 

Haman was a descendent of King Agag, a wicked king… who Saul was supposed to kill but allowed to live…   

 

Esther opens up with King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) holding a grand feast. A 180 day party!

 

1. (Verses 1-2) King Ahasuerus and his domain.

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia), (better known as ‘Xerxes I’ and the setting is located in Modern Southwest Iran). in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the citadel,

 

a. It came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus: This king Ahasuerus is well known to history, though more commonly under the name Xerxes. His grandfather was Sirus. He inherited the vast Persian Empire from his father, Darius I (who is mentioned in passages such as Ezra 4:24, 5:5-7, 6:1-15; Daniel 6:1 and 6:25; Haggai 1:15 and 2:10).

 

The fact of the existence of this king and circumstance is extremely well attested; archaeologists have discovered the ruins of the very palace where these events happened.

 

b. In those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom: At this time (approximately 483 B.C.), Ahasuerus was planning for what would be a failed invasion of Greece, which would take place several years later.

 

The Persian Empire was the largest the world had ever seen. It covered what we call today Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel; and also, parts of modern day Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Arabia. Israel is just one of the providences he is over at this time.

 

Also at this time Ezra had returned to Jerusalem after it had been conquered by the Babylonians. The temple had been rebuilt some 30 years before, although more simply and without the glory of Solomon’s temple.

 

In 40 years, under the successor of Ahasuerus (Artaxerxes I), Nehemiah served as a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes and Nehemiah would return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the previously conquered city.

 

2. (Verses 3-9) Three royal feasts.

That in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants; the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him; when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all. And when these days were completed, the king made a feast lasting seven days for all the people who were present in Shushan the citadel, from great to small, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace. There were white and blue linen curtains fastened with cords of fine linen and purple on silver rods and marble pillars; and the couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of alabaster, turquoise, and white and black marble. And they served drinks in golden vessels, each vessel being different from the other, with royal wine in abundance, according to the generosity of the king.

 

How many grew up in homes where no two glasses were alike. We collected the plastic cups from fast food restaurants and your slurpee cups lasted for many months.




In accordance with the law, the drinking was not compulsory; for so the king had ordered all the officers of his household, that they should do according to each man’s pleasure. Queen Vashti also made a feast for the women in the royal palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus.

 

He made a feast for all his officials and servants: The first feast was for all the government officials, where Ahasuerus showed off the glory and splendor of the riches of his kingdom. This feast lasted for 180 days. It took 6 months for everyone to see all his wealth.

 

How long would it take you to show off all your wealth?

 

The king made a feast lasting seven days for all the people who were present in Shushan the citadel: The second feast was for the citizens of the capital city, Shushan and it lasted for seven days.

 

The basic reason for these feasts was, of course, pride. The king wanted to impress his subjects with a great display of his own wealth and power and majesty and generosity. This is typical of the way that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them (Matthew 20:25). There is little doubt that Ahasuerus paid for this feast out of the public treasury.

 

There were white and blue linen curtains: In the ancient Hebrew, the white material is literally described as “white stuff.” This may be evidence that Esther was written with a man’s eye for decorating detail, not a woman’s.

 

In accordance with the law, the drinking was not obligated: Among some of the ancients, each guest was obliged to have a drink with the current round, or else leave the party. At this second feast, the king command that each man could drink as he pleased.

 

Queen Vashti also made a feast for the women: The third feast was for the women in the royal palace, and was conducted by the wife of king Ahasuerus, Queen Vashti.



(Verses 10-11) King Ahasuerus demands that Vashti display her beauty before the guests at the feast.

 

On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, (he was drunk) he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, (some historians believe that he ordered her to only be wearing her royal crown.) in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold.

 

The Bible says “When the righteous become numerous, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2). It was in such a time as this that Esther and Mordecai lived. The king Xerxes was absolutely a wicked king. The writer of the book implies that,

 

A. Xerxes was a fool: He probably asked queen Vashti to make an appearance before his drunkard guests without her clothes on and dethroned her because she disagreed.

 

B. Xerxes was a play boy: He wasted people’s tax money on banquets that lasted for months, to show off his wealth and impress his guests with the greatness of his kingdom.

 

C. Xerxes was a heathen: He was not a worshiper of our God. In matters of urgency he consulted astrologers and magicians who gave counsel according to their reading of celestial phenomena.

 

D. Xerxes was corrupted: He gladly accepted Haman’s bribe in exchange for permission to the mass slaughter of Jews. Ten thousand talents of silver weighed at least 375 tons and was the equivalent of two thirds of the annual income of the Persian empire.   (His rejection of Haman’s silver was only an example of Oriental politeness that did not actually mean he rejected the payment).

 

Without question Satan exploited the flaws in the king’s character to devise a plan to rid the earth of Jews because it’s through them the Messiah would be born. We already know that God uses a man to carry out his plans. Likewise Satan also has used different people at different times, (Judas – Luke 22:3). In the book of Esther Xerxes and Haman become his instruments and we read how God used a woman to thwart Satan’s plan.

 

Over 16% of the population under 30 suffers from alcoholism. Its about 13% for those over 30 years.

 

To bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown: According to Jewish tradition, this request came from an argument among the men at the feast as to which country had the most beautiful women. Ahasuerus decided to settle the issue by putting his wife the queen on public display. He believed he had a trophy wife anyway…

 

For she was beautiful to behold: It is not specifically said, but the implication is that Vashti was expected to display herself in an immodest way.

 

(Verse 12) Queen Vashti refuses to appear before the drunken guests of the feast.

 

But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.

 

But Queen Vashti refused to come: Though Vashti was by no means a follower of the true God, she had enough wisdom and modesty to know that this was something she should not do. It was a violation of Persian etiquette. They veiled women even back then in public.

 

The Bible says that wives have a special responsibility to submit to their husbands (wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord; Ephesians 5:22). Yet it does not mean that a wife must obey her husband if he commands her to sin. Every command to submit on a human level is conditioned by the higher obligation to obey God before man.

 

It is important for a Christian in such a situation to maintain a submissive and respectful attitude towards the one in authority. It is possible to disobey the command of another but do so in a submissive manner. It is impossible to say if Queen Vashti had this attitude in this situation.

 

The king was furious, and his anger burned: When he said jump you said how hi. Queen Vashti was therefore in a very dangerous situation. It does not seem that she put herself in this situation, because it seems that she was not even at this banquet.

 

1. Publicly challenged a man

2. Publicly challenged her husband

3. Publicly challenged the King

 

Sadly, many women today put themselves in dangerous places, especially where alcohol is involved, showing a severe lack of wisdom. Nevertheless, it certainly gives no justification to the sin of men against an unwise woman in such a situation.



(Verses 13-22) The banishment of Vashti.

 

Then the king said to the wise men who understood the times (for this was the king’s manner toward all who knew law and justice, those closest to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who had access to the king’s presence, and who ranked highest in the kingdom): “What shall we do to Queen Vashti, according to law, because she did not obey the command of King Ahasuerus brought to her by the eunuchs?” And Memucan answered before the king and the princes: “Queen Vashti has not only wronged the king, but also all the princes, and all the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. For the queen’s behavior will become known to all women, so that they will despise their husbands in their eyes, when they report, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come.’ This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media will say to all the king’s officials that they have heard of the behavior of the queen. Thus there will be excessive contempt and wrath. If it pleases the king, let a royal decree go out from him, and let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it will not be altered, that Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. When the king’s decree which he will make is proclaimed throughout all his empire (for it is great), all wives will honor their husbands, both great and small.” And the reply pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan. Then he sent letters to all the king’s provinces, to each province in its own script, and to every people in their own language, that each man should be master in his own house, and speak in the language of his own people.

 

That Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she: When King Ahasuerus heeded this advice from Memucan, he showed himself to be unreasonable and wrong. He should have honored the dignity of his Queen. Yet, history’s profile of Ahasuerus shows him to be an unreasonable and foolish man in many cases.

 

On one occasion, Ahasuerus executed the builders of a bridge because an ocean storm destroyed it; then he commanded that the water and waves be whipped and chained to punish the sea.

 

That each man should be master in his own house: The purpose for the harsh treatment of Vashti was so that she would not set a bad example for the other women of Persia. Ahasuerus wanted to reinforce the idea of a man’s leadership in the home.

 

They were afraid that because of Queen Vashti’s example, wives would despise their husbands… that there would be excessive contempt and wrath; therefore, they wanted to ensure that each man should be master in his own house.

 

The goal presented here was admirable and speaks to the need within every man to sense respect and honor from his wife. Paul’s instruction to wives was summed up like this: let the wife see that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:33). A wife’s respect is the most precious gift she can give her husband.

 

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