God Uses The Unlikely
Hello followers of Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team and to all who are listening to or reading this message via Facebook and our Website! What a wonderful time to worship our marvelous God!
Today we're going to continue our series on the Old Testament Book of Esther. Our scripture comes from Esther Chapter Two and you can be turning there in your Bibles.
If you missed last week's message from Esther Chapter One, you can read or listen to it at Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team's website: www.VoicesOfHope.faith.
As a brief summary, in Esther Chapter One, King Ahasuerus had hosted a celebration for all his princes and nobles in the provinces of his kingdom. Following that celebration, the King hosted a seven day celebration for the servants of his Palace in Shushan.
On the last day of this celebration the King sent for his Queen, Vashti, to show her beauty to those present. Queen Vashti refused to come and this infuriated the King. In those days, one did not refuse an order from the King. This refusal was seen as not only an affront to the King, but to all men and could have repercussions from wives throughout the Kingdom. If the Queen didn't have to obey the King, then other wives would no longer obey their husbands.
So the King, acting on the advice from his advisers, approved for them to issue a royal commandment throughout the Kingdom that Vashti no longer be the Queen and he would give her royal estate unto another that was better than she. The commandment also stated that all husbands would receive proper respect from their wives.
And now we begin reading from Esther Chapter Two.
1 After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.
2 Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king:
3 And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king's chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them:
4 And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.
5 Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
7 And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.
8 So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.
9 And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king's house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.
10 Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it.
11 And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.
12 Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)
13 Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king's house.
14 In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.
15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.
16 So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17 And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
18 Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther's feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.
19 And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate.
20 Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.
21 In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king's gate, two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus.
22 And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name.
23 And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.
Paul writes in Acts 20:32: "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
Thank You for Your amazing grace. Help us remember that Your grace is a gift from You to us; we can't buy it, we can't earn it, we can only receive it. In everything we say and do, help us to acknowledge You so that You can use us, directing our words, thoughts, and actions to accomplish Your plans for our lives.
In Jesus' name,
If we were going to give a one sentence summary of Chapter Two, we could say that King Ahasuerus' attendants advised him to hold a beauty contest among all the beautiful young ladies of his empire to replace Queen Vashti, and he did! But that wouldn't give us an opportunity to see God's hand at work in the selection of the new queen.
This week, we're introduced to Mordecai, from the tribe of Benjamin, and Esther, the daughter of Mordecai's uncle. When Esther's parents died, Mordecai raised Esther as his own daughter. We're told that Esther was “fair and beautiful.” According to the Jewish rabbis, she was one of the four most beautiful women ever to live.
At the beginning of Chapter Two we see that some time has passed, the wrath of King Ahasuerus has subsided; he is remembering Vashti and what was decreed against her. It's time to select a new queen.
In those days, the kings of Persia usually married from the seven most important families in Persia. But that wasn't God's choice for the new queen; God wanted Esther, a Jew, to become queen.
King Ahasuerus' personal servants suggested that the king should order people throughout his empire to find beautiful young virgins from which the king would select his new queen. This idea pleased the king and he issued the order.
These ladies would be brought to the Palace in Shushan and would be under the care of Hegai, the royal servant who took care of the king's wives. They would be given beauty treatments for a year. Then each one in turn would be brought to the king in the evening and in the morning she would return to another house and would be taken care of by Shaashgaz, the king's servant who looked after the king's other wives. She would not return again to the king unless he sent for her by name. No one, not even the Queen, could approach the king without being summoned.
The historian, Josephus, wrote that there were 400 ladies that the king could choose from and Esther was one of these. Mordecai instructed Esther not to reveal her nationality and family background. Apparently it wouldn't have been favorable for her to do so during those times and circumstances.
Jeremiah 29:11 says: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Esther was an ordinary Jewish girl, orphaned, no status, power or influence, but God had plans for her and was going to use her.
In Esther 2:15, we read that Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. Proverbs 16:7 tells us: When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him, and we see this happening for Esther.
Esther impressed Hegai, the King's eunuch in charge of the women. He got her process of purification and beautification started quickly, providing her with the things she needed. Hegai also assigned Esther seven maids from the King's palace and moved Esther and her maids to the best place in the house of the women.
We see God's hand in Esther receiving favors and grace from Hegai. She could not ask for them; they were given to her. She got the best preparations.
When it was their time to see the King, the ladies were allowed to bring anything they liked with them such as things that would make them look beautiful and impress the King. But Esther sought and followed Hegai's advice about what the King preferred rather than choosing her own desires.
Verse 17 says: “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.”
The King then celebrated by having a great feast in Esther's honor for all his princes and servants.
As we will see later, Esther being chosen as queen was more than just a royal status, it was a divine appointment. Esther had been crowned not for herself, but for her people and her nation, to provide and to protect the Jewish people.
At the close of Chapter Two, Mordecai learned of an attempt to assassinate the King. Mordecai told this to Queen Esther who then told the King and gave credit to Mordecai. Upon investigation of this information, the King found this to be true and the would-be assassins were put to death.
This story reminds us that God often chooses unlikely people to do amazing things in His Kingdom.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians1:26-29 “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
God is at work in our lives, watching over us and working with us. Only God knows our stories from the beginning to the end and we need to trust Him not just for today's needs, but also for tomorrow's necessities.
When God opens doors for us today as He did for Esther, we should do three things:
1. Thank Him.
2. Have the courage to walk through the door.
3. Share His blessings with someone else.
A man and the Lord stood by to observe a baseball game. The Lord’s team was playing Satan’s team. The Lord’s team was at bat, the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate whose name was Love. Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because Love never fails.
The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith works with Love.
The next batter was named Godly Wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch. Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass. Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked, because Godly Wisdom never swings at what Satan throws. The bases were loaded.
The Lord then turned to the man and told him He was now going to bring in His star player. Up to the plate stepped Grace. The man said, “He sure doesn’t look like much!”
Satan’s whole team relaxed when they saw Grace. Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen. But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by. He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on the head and sent him crashing on the ground; then it continued over the fence for a home run!
The Lord’s team won. The Lord then asked the man if he knew why Love, Faith and Godly Wisdom could get on base but could not win the game. The man answered that he did not know why. The Lord explained, “If your love, faith and wisdom had won the game, you would think you had done it by yourself. Love, faith and wisdom will get you on base, but only My Grace can get you home. (I love this story!)
No matter who you are, no matter what you have done, because of God's grace you can be saved.
Life can be hard, difficult times happen and pain can't be avoided. We can’t control life but we can yield control to God. When life doesn’t make sense, I pray that you turn to God, not away from Him.
If there is a need in your life, Jesus is the answer. If you have never trusted Him in salvation, He stands ready to forgive, save, and restore.
If you’ve never really been saved and known God, not known about God but known God, and don’t have a personal, intimate relationship with Him, I want to encourage you to invite Jesus to come into your heart and life. There’s no better time than now to repent, turn to God and respond to His grace.
The Bible tells us in Romans 10:9-10 & 13:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
It's that simple and you can sincerely pray this prayer, or one of your own.
Father God, I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and on the third day You, God, raised Him from the dead. I believe that with my heart, and I confess with my mouth that from now on you're my Lord. Please forgive me and wash me now of my sins, come into my heart and fill me with your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
If you’ve known God but walked away from His call on your life to do your own thing, then it’s time to stop in your tracks and repent all over again and get back to fulfilling God’s plan in and through your life. Tomorrow may be too late.
May you be blessed in Jesus' Name.
To listen to Rev. Sandy's Sunday, February 7, 2021, sermon, click here or read it below.
When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible, please click here and may you be blessed by singing along with "Spirit Of The Living God."