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 "'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus."

Trust God - He Knows Our Future
Esther 5
 
Hello followers of Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team and to all who are listening to or reading this message via Facebook and our Website!  Praise God for another opportunity to worship Him!

Today we're going to continue our series on the Old Testament Book of Esther. Our scripture comes from Esther Chapter Five and you can be turning there in your Bibles.   

If you missed the previous weeks' messages from Esther, you can read or listen to them at Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team's website:  www.VoicesOfHope.faith. 

As a brief summary, 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.

In Chapter Two, 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. 

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.  

The historian, Josephus, wrote that there were 400 ladies 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.  

The ladies were brought to the palace in Shushan to live and given beauty treatments for 12 months. Then each in turn was brought before the king in the evening and the next morning was sent to another house for women.  They wouldn't see the King again unless he sent for her.  No one, not even the Queen, could approach the king without being summoned.  Esther was chosen as the new Queen and a celebration was held.  

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.

Chapter Three begins with “after these events” and we're introduced to Haman, the Agagite, who had received a promotion from the King.  His promotion placed Haman as second only to the King.

In verse two, the King had issued a command that the officials and servants would bow down before Haman in reverence, as they did for the King.  But Mordecai refused to do so and the reason he gave for not doing so was that he was a Jew.

This filled Haman with rage.  He devised a wicked plan to do away with not only Mordecai, but all of the Jews throughout the kingdom.  He even convinced the King to issue a decree for this action.

Can we see Satan's hand in this?  If he could cause all the Jews to be destroyed, then there wouldn't be a Messiah and no possibility of salvation.  It looks like evil is winning.

Chapter Three ends with king Ahasuerus and Haman sitting down to drink; while the city Shushan was perplexed. 

In Chapter Four, we see that when Mordecai learned about the King's decree, he tore his clothes, put on clothes made of sack cloth, put on ashes, went to the city to the entrance of the king's gate and cried bitterly.  Throughout the provinces of the kingdom there was mourning, weeping and fasting.

Queen Esther learned of this and inquired the reason for Mordecai's behavior through her attendant, Hatach, 

Mordecai told Hatach all that the King had decreed, which called for the destruction of the Jews; Mordecai sent a copy of the decree to Esther requesting that she plead with the King for her people.

Esther responded that according to law, anyone who went into the king’s inner court without his summons was doomed to die unless the king held out his gold scepter; the king had not called for her to come to him in more than a month.

Mordecai replied that Esther shouldn't think she would be spared because she was the Queen.  If she kept quiet, deliverance and relief for the Jews would come from some other place, but she and her relatives would die.  Then Mordecai said:  Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Esther requested Mordecai and all the Jews fast and pray for the next three days, as she and her attendants would also do.  Then Esther would approach the King.  If she died, so be it.

Now reading from Esther Chapter Five:
1 Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.

2 And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.

3 Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.

4 And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him.

5 Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

6 And the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.

7 Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is;

8 If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to morrow as the king hath said.

9 Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.

10 Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife.

11 And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king.

12 Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king.

13 Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.

14 Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.

Reinhold Niebuhr wrote what has become a very famous prayer, “The Serenity Prayer.”   I learned there is a long version in addition to the short version that many of us are familiar with. It seems appropriate to pray the long version now.  Please bow your heads with me as we pray:

“God grant me the serenity  
To accept the things I cannot change; 
Courage to change the things I can; 
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, 
Not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right

If I surrender to His Will; 

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him Forever and ever in the next.”

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

At the beginning of Chapter Five we see Queen Esther dressing in her royal robes and pausing at the inner court of the palace before the King.  

One of the many things I admire about Queen Esther is that she used her head in her preparation to approach the King.  

Esther didn't rush in demanding to see the King, she didn't cry or threaten the King, she didn't tell him to choose her over Haman.  No, dressed in her regal finery, Esther exhibited calmness, patience and wisdom.  She waited for the King to either allow her to enter, or refuse her entry.  Verse two tells us that Esther obtained favor from the King.  

This wasn't the first time that Esther had found favor with the King.  I think back to Chapter 2:17 which 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.

When the King saw Queen Esther standing there, he held out his septre, granting her entrance.  Esther didn't rush in; she first touched the top of the septre, a sign of respect, honor and submission.  Only then did she approach the King.  The King asked Esther for her request, telling her he would grant it up to half of the kingdom.  

Wow, what an opportunity to ask the King to spare the lives of her people!  But Esther exhibited patience and humbly asked if he and Haman would attend a banquet that she had prepared for them.

The King was delighted to do this and sent immediately for Haman.  At the banquet, the King asked Esther what she really desired from him.  Yet a second opportunity to beg for the lives of her people.  Instead, Esther asked if the King and Haman would come to a banquet that she would prepare the next day and she would then explain her request to the King. 

Now, Haman was beside himself with joy!  He was the only person oher than the King that the Queen had invited to her banquet, not once, but twice.

However, as Haman left the Palace, he passed Mordecai, who still didn't bow or show reverence to Haman.  Haman was once again filled with indignation at Mordecai's refusal to honor him.

When Haman arrived home, he called together his friends and his wife and boasted about his riches, his many children, his promotion and especially about being the only person invited twice to a banquet prepared by the Queen for the King and himself.  Yet, he explained, none of this meant anything as long as Mordecai refused to honor him.  

Chapter Five ends with Haman's wife and friends suggesting that Haman have a gallows built 50 cubits high.  The next day Haman could ask the King to have Mordecai hanged; then Haman could go enjoy the banquet.  The suggestion pleased Haman and he had the gallows made.

Can we again see God's hand in all of this?  Esther was wisely waiting upon the Lord for the right time, the right place and the right words to present her request to the King.  She wasn't allowing herself to be distracted by all that was going on in the background.  Esther wasn't motivated by revenge; she was motivated by reason.  Would his offer still be good the next day or was it an impulsive offer?  Esther wanted to gain the King's trust.  Esther's mission was to save the lives of her people and she was staying focused on doing God's will in His timing.  

There are four things we are learning from the Book of Esther.
1.  God has a plan for our lives.
2.  Satan has a plan for our lives.
3.  We have a choice.
4.  God has the answer.

Make the choice for Jesus today!  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.  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.

Amen! 

Sermons

To listen to Rev. Sandy's Sunday, February 28, 2021, sermon, click  here or read it below.