Sunday, July 24, 2011

Esther 5 From Beauty Queen to True Queen 110727PM@TBC

I. Introduction
A. Theme
· The rhythm of redemption in Esther points toward the reality that is ours in Jesus.
· Esther: God Wins!
· The April 4, 1989 edition of The Observer, quoted the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as saying, "I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end."
· All of the “chance” events in life are really working toward the end that God has ordained.  —Karen H. Jobes in The NIV Application Commentary
· With confidence that God wins, you can be extraordinarily patient as God works his plan.

B. Background
Chapter 1: 
Vashti is dethroned:.
· God is still at work in ordinary  “unseen ways,”  and He works with flawed people like us.
Chapter 2: 
Esther chosen queen.
· God is at work for the good of his people and the glory of His name through ordinary people in unexpected ways.
Chapter 3: 
Haman decreed genocide of the Jews.
· It is good to draw near to God and declare His works when the wicked prosper .
Chapter 4
Mordecai calls on Esther to act.
· God has placed you in the right position to bring Him glory.
Get feedback on what God has taught people during the series.
· Desperate times.  4.1
· Mordecai in morning.  4.2-3
· Esther conflicted (with good reason)  4.11
· “...relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews…”
· Esther as resigned herself to go with poor odds and risk her life in a no good options situation.
4.16 Go gather the Jews…If I perish, I perish.
4.17  Mordecai did all Esther commanded him.

Pray - turn with me to Esther five.
     -Scene has been laid out
     -Characters have been developed
     -Conflict has been explained.
     -Now let's see what God will do.
Read text here.  Pause at verse one to explain the fasting.
"Now it happened on the third day..."
A three day fast:
Purpose———                                   (S=sin)
Occasionally fasting was proclaimed on a national scale, e.g. in case of war (Judges 20:26; 2 Chronicles 20:3) or of pestilence (Joel 1:13). Fasting having thus become a recognized mode of seeking Divine favor and protection, it was natural that it should be associated with confession of sin, as indisputable evidence of penitence or sorrow for sin.   
—T. Lewis (Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'FAST; FASTING'". International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. . 1915.)
Extraordinary nature—
3.12  on the thirteenth day of the first month...
· Passover
Hamon’s Genocide Decree
3.12  on the thirteenth day or the first month and a decree was written
Exodus 12.18  That would have been on the eve of Passover.

P=precious blood  1 Corinthians 5:7   Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us
Finish reading text...
II. Contextual Ties in Chapter 5.
Two story lines in chapter five.
     First is Esther’s approach to the king.
     Second is the interlude with Haman.
A.  disobedience
· Note the common theme of Vashti and Esther’s disobeying the kings command
1.15  Vashti...has not obeyed the command of King A.
4.11  ...any man or woman who goes into the inner court of the king, who has not been called...put all to death, except

B.  Royal setting
5.1  (lit.) put on royalty
royal throne
royal house
· Esther moves from the isolated life of her quarters into the royal drama.
· Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
· She steps into her role as queen to make a difference for God’s program.

· Something remarkable happened between the discouraging “If I perish, I perish.” of 4.16 and the confident, brave Esther of 5.1

C.  v.2  she found favor...
khane  1. favour, grace, elegance:   2. favour, acceptance:

Gen. 6.8 
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
Gen 39.4
So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.
Gen 39.21
ut the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

Esther 2.17 17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Esther 2.15 Now when the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai the king's eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her.

And at the first Passover.
Ex. 12.36  And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

D.  v. 6  At the banquet of wine
Esther’s cunning with the banquets
· "What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you--up to half the kingdom!"
“What is it?”  It would have been something extraordinary to cause Esther to come uninvited.
· Note the change in momentum.
5.5 Then the king said, "Bring Haman quickly, that he may do as Esther has said." So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

· 5.8  Note the wording of the request.  If the kings wants to grant my request, come to another banquet.  She is just reeling him in.  His attendance at the next banquet is confirmation of his promise to grant her request.

· If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said."

“By seeming to honor Haman, she fattens him for the kill, for now he goes out elated at being invited  to sup with the royal couple, full of his own—transient—importance (5.9-12).”  —Jon D. Levenson  Esther: A Commentary  part of  The Old Testament Library
E.  v. 9  So Haman went out that day joyful...
Haman’s pride blinded bliss
· Haman is no longer an effective contributing character in this story.
· When you actively oppose God, you become just part of the set. 

Note the irony between the control and position of men over their wives pompously proclaimed in  1.20 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 reality of Haman’s wife directing him in
5.14  Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said...

III. The “So What?”
Esther:  From Beauty Queen to True Queen

What happened to Esther between 4.16 and 5.2?
1. Esther despaired of her life, saw it was hopeless without God’s protection and stood for God’s people.
Hebrews 11.24-27
24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.

IV. Conclusion
What happened between 4.16 and 5.1 that transformed Esther from uncertain and frightened to bold and cunning.  It was three days of fasting and seeking God.  
"Prayer does not equip us for the work, prayer is the work."  -- Oswald Chambers 
Isaiah 40.31  Prayer/waiting on God changes things.

31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

"From this verse we learn of four things that happen when we wait on God rather than rush into a frenzy of activity. 
· First, we gain new strength—which we’ll need when the road gets rocky.
· Second, we get a better perspective—which give us an eagle’s eye view of our circumstances. 
· Third, we store up extra energy—which we can draw upon at a later time. 
· Fourth, we deepen our determination to persevere—which wards off weariness.
—Charles Swindoll  in his Bible Study Guide Esther: A Woman for Such a Time as This

Our humble faith in and dependence on God makes us an active part of His plan.
BENEDICTION:  Isaiah 41.10-13