If you’ve ever experienced broken-ness in your life – if you think you’ve been dealt a tough hand, there is a beautiful lesson here for you. If you’ve been crushed by life - if you have a troubled past that is fractured, then you can learn some unforgettable truths from Esther. Here was a little girl who must have cried her heart out longing for a mommy and a daddy. Years later, though, she would become key to the very survival of her people. She was God’s person. And in spite of her past, in spite of her broken-ness, God used her. And He can do the same for you! Mordecai learned of the plan to kill all the Jews. He wrote a letter warning Esther. But Esther wrote back to say that she was powerless to stop the killing. Her excuse was that the law stated no one could enter the King’s chambers uninvited - even the Queen. Esther had not seen the King for a long time. She may have even wondered if she had fallen out of favor with him. To enter the throne room uninvited was to literally invite death. In essence, Esther was telling Mordecai, “I can’t do what God wants. I don’t want to break the law and be killed by the King!” Let’s read Esther 4:10-12
10 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 Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai.
Then Esther spoke to Hathach and ordered him to reply to Mordecai: "All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days." They related Esther’s words to Mordecai. Esther didn’t feel she was the person for God’s job! Then
Mordecai sent a second message to Esther, insisting that her Jewish blood would be discovered and she too would surely die. Either as a condemned Jew or as a Queen who violated the King’s law, Esther and her people were doomed unless she acted. Look at verses 13 and 14. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" This has to go down as one of the most incredible “pivot points of history.” Mordecai says, “If you do nothing, don’t think you will escape death. You’ll be found out as a Jew and you will die. God’s hands aren’t tied. He will use someone else to save His people. But think how great it would be for God to use you. Could it be that this explains why you were chosen to be queen, my dear Esther—for such a time as this—for this very moment?” This was the testing of Esther’s character. She was beautiful on the outside. But was she beautiful on the inside? I believe these verses go on to teach us that she was incredibly more beautiful on the inside. I Samuel 16:7
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
says, “The LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” What did He see when He saw Esther’s heart? What does He desire to see in your heart and in mine? What is God looking for in your heart? 1. God is looking for a teachable heart. Esther 4
Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help
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.
is basically a record of messages back and forth between Mordecai and Esther. Look again at a couple of phrases in Esther 4:12, 13
, “They related Esther’s words to Mordecai. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther…” Yes, Mordecai raised her and trained her. But she’s now on her own. She’s the queen of Persia – the most powerful woman in the world! She could have said, “Look! I’m a VIP now. You should be listening to me.” Yet she didn’t. She’s still listening to this man of God. She allows herself to be influenced. A teachable heart. When God looks at your heart, does He see a teachable heart? Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning. Proverbs 9:9
9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
God issues His challenges, His teachings to us in many ways. He does it though His Word. He does it through His pastors. He does it through His church. He does it through family members or friends or bosses or co-workers or fellow students. I want to encourage you to let God teach you this week. He’ll speak! It may be through your reading of the Bible. It may be through a talk you hear on the radio or on tape. He’ll speak. Are you teachable? God is looking for a teachable heart. 2. God is looking for a prayerful heart. Now, the word “pray” is not used in this passage. But a word is used twice that strongly implies that Esther had a prayerful heart. See if you can find it. Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, "Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law…” Esther 4:15-16
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.” What’s the word? “Fast.” Esther called for a fast! In the Bible, we often see fasting and prayer together. In Daniel 9:3
3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
, we read, “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting…” Fasting is a reminder to us and to God that we mean business. When Esther knew in her heart that God was calling her, she took action. She told Mordecai to have her people begin praying and fasting on her behalf. Esther knew that if she was going to fulfill her divine appointment, she couldn’t do it relying on her own resources or clever schemes. Through prayer and fasting, she relied on God’s thoughts to be her thoughts. She asked for God’s wisdom and power for her every move. Listen, we are not the source of power to fulfill our divine appointment for such a time as this. God is the source! Through the Holy Spirit, God will faithfully empower us to take the actions we need to take “for such a time as this.” This week, would you consider fasting for a meal or for a day or for several days if it’s OK with your physician? Seek God’s will for your life! What does He want you to do in such a time as this? What’s that distressing situation that really causes you concern? Miss a meal. Hit your knees. Lift the concerns of your life and your church up to God in prayer. God is looking for a prayerful heart. 3. God is looking for a sacrificial heart – giving time, talent and treasure. Notice how verse 16 ends. “…and if I perish, I perish." Esther 4:16
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.” If Esther obeyed Mordecai, she stood to risk everything, including her life. Although the king was her husband, she couldn’t just stroll into his office and casually unload what was on her mind. Things didn’t work like that in ancient Persia. He had to send for her. Put yourself in her place. “No one knows I’m a Jew. If I don’t say anything, I’m still the queen. I can keep all this wealth and fame intact. People will still continue to serve me. But if I go before the king in defense of my people, then I could lose my life. Or I could lose my royal status, my wealth, my honor.” You have to think that she weighed her options carefully. She understood the implications of her decision. She decided, “I’m willing to sacrifice it all because God’s people are in distress. If I perish, I perish!” Scholars say that people weren’t allowed into the king’s presence without an invitation because it may have been a safety precaution designed to protect the king’s life. Men stood around the throne with axes to punish any who approached the throne without being invited. She’s thinking, “If a guard drives a sword through my body, I die doing the right thing.” She has changed from concern for her own safety to concern for her people’s survival. She has reached her own personal hour of decision and has not been found wanting. God challenges our values, doesn’t He? What is most important to you? In order for us to fulfill our divine appointment in such a time as this, we must be willing to let go of the selfishness. We’ve got to let go of our need to be in control. We’ve got to let go of our telling God when it is convenient in our schedules to serve Him. We’ve got to sacrifice our time, our talent, and our treasure. God is looking for a sacrificial heart. What does God see when He sees your heart? For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. II Chronicles 16:9
9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”
“Enough of the easy life,” said Esther. “It’s time to put my life on the line. I am Jewish and I believe in the living God. I’m ready to stand up for my people. And if I perish, I perish.” What does it matter if you get involved or not? It matters greatly because it shows what’s in your heart. Yes, it’s true that God has other ways to accomplish His objectives. He has other people He can use. He isn’t frustrated or restrained because you and I may be indifferent. But when that happens, we are the losers. When are called “for such a time as this,” how tragic if we do not have what it takes to stand when invited. There won’t be some celestial shout urging you to take a stand. No flash of lightning will wake us up. It doesn’t work like that, so don’t sit around waiting passively. A tremendous opportunity is before us as a church family. This is the time to stand up and be counted. So let me ask you: What are you doing to stand up, to stand alone, to answer the call of God in this hour? Edward Everett Hale… I am only one, But still I am one. I cannot do everything; But still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. God’s person has been discovered! That person, I believe, is you and it’s me! God’s power is on display. Esther had asked for prayer and fasting to prepare for the moment when the doors to the Throne Room opened and she walked through the door. She knelt as soon as she was clear of the doorway and waited for the response from the King. Would she live or would she die? When the King extended his golden scepter, he had spared her life. His response was very tender. The king listened to her pleas for her people. The tables were turned on the man who wanted to kill Mordecai and all the Jews. The king saw him for what he was – a selfish, power-hungry, ego-maniac. He was executed on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai’s murder. Not only were the Jews allowed to live, they were permitted to defend themselves against their enemies. Esther, a Jew, remains the queen. And Mordecai, another Jew, becomes second-in-command. Job 36:22
22 “God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him?
O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God! Psalm 68:35
35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!
Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. Daniel 2:20
20 and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.
Wicked plans have been thwarted. Corruption has been rooted out. Evil has been fully dealt with. It’s interesting that the name of God is absent from the pages of this particular book in the Bible. But He is there. He is present in every scene and in every event, until He ultimately and finally brings everything to a marvelous climax as He proves Himself Lord of His people, the Jews. Are you struggling today? Caught in between a rock and a hard place? Stop, take a breath and look around. Look for the hand of God leading you and orchestrating the events around you. Who knows, but that you have been lead to right where you are, for such a time as this. Never let the fact that God is invisible cause you to doubt the fact that God is invincible. God’s power is on display! Notice something. The link between God’s people in distress and God’s power on display is God’s person. Are you God’s person? It’s no accident that you are at here at this time in history. Like He did with Esther, God is challenging you this way, “Who knows but that you were placed here for just such a time as this?” The whole course of your life has led to this very point. God knew that you would be interested enough in the things of God that you’d be a part of His Kingdom at this time - excited, we hope, about where your church is going. God has appointed you for such a time as this. We need you. God wants you to accomplish His work of redemption through the ministry of this church. The only way we are going to make it is if everyone who truly claims Christ as their King will says, “OK. That’s it. Count me in. I’m in the race. I will do the mundane stuff with the rest of my life, but count me in. I want to be part of something bigger than myself. I want to do something that will last for all eternity.” God knows everything about you and sees you as His masterpiece, and will never give up on creating you to be everything he created you to be. So, give permission to God to take control of your life. If you don’t know Jesus, He’s here. He loves you. He died to pay the penalty for your sins. He rose again. If you haven’t already, ask Jesus to come into your life right now.