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April 17, 2021 12:01 am
In His providence, God raised up Esther to be the queen of Persia when the survival of her people depended on someone who could plead with the king. Today, R.C. Sproul reflects on Esther's bravery and self-sacrifice.
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When the ranch comes anguish that requires moral courage Esther arises from the past. She said I would do it and if I perish, I perish. We all admire that kind of courage. Welcome to the Saturday Renewing Your Mind and our ongoing looking great committed women of the Bible you discover what motivated this woman even has a book name for the Old Testament to boldly proclaim if I perish. My parents, I want to turn your attention to a profile of one of the most remarkable women I believe not only in biblical history. But in world history name of course is Esther. It seems like Xerxes in about the third year of his reign was interested in destroying this power is, and his kingdom to Randall, who were willing to look at it and he sort of put on account of words and this world's fair lasted. We read in verse 444, 180 days for six months. He displayed the vast wrath of his kingdom the splendor and glory of his majesty and when this six months long world's fair was over, they decided to It with our lavish banquet party, party and party's that banquet lasted seven days in the enclosed garden of the king's palace for the people, from the least to the greatest, who were in the Citadel of Susa describes the lavish accouterments of this banquet feast read at the end of the party. After seven days, the cane had had a little bit too much to drink. It says on the seventh day one King Xerxes was in high spirits from rhyme. Okay this is a biblical euphemism for saying that the king was three shades so that when he commanded the seven mixers certain to bring before him is clean, who was Queen Vashti arise Vashti's name famously whereby studies, because my wife's name is best and everywhere we go people can't remember vast facility, Vashti Rabkin, Xerxes on the seventh night of the feast Queen Vashti was summoned to wear her Randall crown and to come into the banquet in order to destroy her beauty to the people and the nobles, for it says she was lovely to look at. So he sent his attendance to call Vashti to the feast and when attendance came to her and delivered the king's command. She refused to come.
Can you see if you can read between the lines 0 that drunken bomb is over there wants me to come out and dance for everybody. I'm not going let everybody else bow and scrape to the king of the movies and the Persians, but not really on the Queen and are not going to be demeaned by being made a spectacle. At this drunken party that's basically a response, the king wasn't happy. The king became furious but says and he burned with anger. But he doesn't know quite what to do when there's a sense in which Xerxes is intimidated by his wife's refusal to do his bidding. Everybody else, but also describes before the king, but Vashti will not do it so he goes and he consults his counselors and his nobles and all and readily say hey K, you better do something about this.
You better put your foot on this will be like Princess Diana, she's a pacesetter she's a model for going to country my money's household is safe anymore. If you let Vashti get away with this man rife in all the kingdom were by her husband is going to be on women's liberation movement in Persia like there's never been before. If you let your wife get away with it. So this is not counsel that these guys there, terrified of their wives and seven Charlie King got to nip this in the bud and stop it right now before were all in trouble.
The king listen to them and he issued our decree in which this traditional loss of the Medes and the Persians were upheld and the edict was to be proclaim to wrap his domain. Client that the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest in the nobles were pleased. We don't know will have a report from rhyme stealth about analysts said. Queen Vashti was deposed from her throne and banished from the home of the king.
Now the position of Queen in the Persian Empire is vacant and what follows in this biblical narrative is an ancient account of something that is a combination between Cinderella and the Miss America pageant because now the king embarks upon a massive search throughout the kingdom. To find a woman qualified to reign as his queen. So really what happens is they have a beauty contest when we read letter search fee made for beautiful young virgins for the king and met the king appointed commissioners in every province of his round to bring all things beautiful girls into the harem at the Citadel of Susa. Now in the process of this the ambassadors for the king one out and they started the countryside looking for the most beautiful virgins that they could do a fine and the head of that the delegation to find them's name was Bert Parks that he would try these ladies that he would sing to the mayor.
She is nervous. Prayers are okay and then they bring all of these women into Susa and then after the girls turn has come to go and visit King Xerxes. The woman then had to complete 12 months training in beauty… She had to complete months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women six months worth of murder and six with perfumes and cosmetics.
So after this selection process is gone through them that only clarified the finalist in this beauty pageant to grant 12 months to finishing school to see if they might qualify to be with the quarry. Not one of those girls that was selected in this search was a Judas. Her name was Esther and her parents had been killed and she was being raised by her uncle whose name was what Mordechai and Mordechai was taking care of Esther and he allows Esther to go but it's very, very carefully guarded secret that Esther is of the Jews who were brought there in the captivity. Well, as it turns out Esther is the one who pleases the eye of the king and Esther is the one who is elevated to the role of Queen of the Medes and the Persians. In the meantime, the plot thickens politics, deploy one of the most powerful men and what would amount to the king's cabinet was a man by the name of Haman, and he was a man who was fiercely proud and very much concerned about protocol and that he receive the respect due to his office and one day as he's coming into the royal chambers. He passes by those people who were standing outside and everybody browse to him, but he notices that one man does not bow down and even when the man is ordered to bow down. The man steadfastly refuses to give obeisance to Haman who was the main Mordechai Vashti to questions and answers the same to both questions. Mordechai ran that bow down, why not. He's a Jew and Jews do not bow down to human banks to remember Shadrach me shack Abednego you remember Daniel's refusal to give obeisance to the cabin and sell on so here this Mordechai refuses to bow before Haman and one that is this Haman is enraged and so he begins to work behind the scenes with the king and to tell the king that there is a conspiracy among the Jews and Haman persuades Xerxes to issue an edict that calls for Holocaust.
It's like Haman is the AR of Eichmann of ancient Persia. He has come up with a final solution.
He is so unhurried and irritated by the slightly received by Mordechai that he not only wants to bring vengeance upon America but on because people all the Jewish people are to be destroyed from his remember cane doesn't know that his wife is Jewish. Now, in this story we have to keep in mind what the nature of an imperial edict was in Persia number when laws are passed in this country. You might say well laws are made to be broken or we can repeal the law and when we say the law is capable of being repealed. We say after all, it is not a law of the Medes and the Persians. We use that expression in English because in antiquity when a law was passed among the Medes and the Persians. That was it could not be rescinded. Even the king couldn't resend it and Haman persuades the king issue such an edict against the juice so they have the Jews now have two chances to escape slim amount and it really boils down to this. They have a person in high places who may be able to help the Queen is one of them. So the drama of the book as far as I'm concerned is one Mordechai in behalf of the Jewish people comes to Esther meets with her secretly and begs Esther to intercede with the king. Let's look at this, which is in the fourth chapter we read when Mordechai learned of all that had been done he turned his clothes and sackcloth and ashes and ran out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly, but he went on as far as the Kingsgate because now I'm clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it in every province to which the unit can order the king came there was great morning. Among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wearing many rare and sackcloth and ashes while in Esther's memories and UNIX came and told her about Mordechai.
She was in great distress.
They master salmon one of the kings UNIX and ordered him to find out what was troubling. Mordechai and why. And so the server goes out to the square and Mordechai tells him everything that's happened, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay to the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews.
There was a kickback in this and gave him the text of the edict which indicated the annihilation's of of the Jews and told the servant to show that text Esther and explained it to her and he told him to urge her to going to the king's presence to beg for mercy and plead with them for his brief assessment of this message or Esther is alerted to the plate of her people and the urgent plea is brought to her to intercede in their behalf and so on. The servant comes with this message asking for a favor.
The queen says tell Mordechai he doesn't understand that even though I'm the Queen. I don't have access at my own whim to the royal chambers. Even I cannot come to the king unless he summons me and keep in mind the unspoken statement that's going on here. Remember Vashti just won the Miss America contest. I just am Cinderella and no sooner do I get the glass slipper and you people want me to risk everything I've achieved all the glamour that have one by walking uninvited into the Kings chamber RK who was so whimsical and capricious that he is known for the same greens at the slightest irritation. The only exception she tells the servant. This is for the king to extend the grant sector to him and spare his life, but 30 days have passed since I have been called to go looking so Esther is terrified and she tries to get out of it and she tells Mordechai come up with a better plan okay because I can't. When Esther's words were reported to Mordechai he sent back this answer… Hardball. This is like a father speaking to his daughter do not think because you are in the king's house. You alone of all the Jews will escape.
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place.
But you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to really position for such a time as this work assignment on God.
To say this to think that you can get away with enjoying the luxury of being the king's wife, Heidi, real identity and the escape mind of God.
Mordechai says that think about Esther. It may be that, in the province of God. The only reason why you were selected out of all of these beautiful woman was a so that you could be God's person for such a time as this. The issue dear friends, is whether or not she is going to be silent for her own convenience for self-preservation in a time of an impending Holocaust read a book the other day said, who will speak for the silent ones for the unborn children in the United States were being systematically slaughtered. The reason why 1,300,000 unborn children were killed in the United States every year is because the vast majority of this country's people are silent when they should be screaming because of you open your mouth's in a time like this, you risk something, you risk your security, you risk your popularity. You may risk your job or when as a Christian ever been called to make his personal security. The top priority was what when that happens, I want the thing about the biblical story here is that there's nothing for me or pietistic about it. Esther feels that further rate of moral anguish that's going on. She obviously does not want to risk a position to risk her life to be the one who has to speak up because she's risking everything she's risking her title for throne her very life. If she does what Mordechai says and how much easier it would be to say I'm not going to get involved. I'm in a keep my mouth shut. Let somebody else bail amount. Then Esther sent this reply to Mordechai Daniel gather together all the Jews are in Susa and fast for me to not eat or drink for three days rights or days that I am my mates were fast for you will notice it doesn't end there is not like Sobrante. What I will do.
I will talk to the king will talk to God. I pray for you all prosper you and you pray for me without you.
I do have the operator for you to pray for melted chocolate cake, but she doesn't stop there.
Severe. Here's what I want to pray for me.
I need you to pray for me because when this is done I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. It's against the law of the Medes and the Persians.
The resumes in the Persians for bid by entering without a summons into the royal chamber. But the moral law of God requires that I go. Here's the line no more heroic line ever uttered by any human being in the Old Testament, and if I perish by perish, but that is the right thing for me to do that, dear friends, is biblical. Harold when the crunch comes anguish that requires courage, Esther arises for the past.
She said I'll go care about the king okay about the law of the Medes and the Persians. I'm going to do it and if I perish, I perish imagine how she felt. She walked the king looks at Caesar, knowing that this is a violation protocol that kind of a Moody's in the people than pray for three days and was actually saw his broad smile and erased the scepter and he heard her pleas for people in the story would turn out payment builds a gallows 75 feet high for Mordechai and Haman himself is hung by the neck and the king to swim. I can endure. I passed along the law can't be changed. So God is another law which entitles the Jews to arm themselves to the teeth in such a way that nobody but a child's arm them should go to write this is so the people of Israel were saved and a Holocaust was averted because one woman had the courage to save our parish) Anita Queen Esther Lena are we willing to take the bull to stand to risk our livelihoods and reputations to stand up for the things of God.
I know I been challenged today here on Renewing Your Mind and I hope you have been as well. Thank you for joining us today when we read about these amazing people of the Bible we gain perspective on what it means to live a life that honors God.
There are scores of men and women in the Bible whose lives we can emulate. That's why like to recommend our resource offer today when you contact us with a donation of any amount.
We will send you Dr. RC Sproul series duster glory in it he explains how God's redemptive thread runs through every book of the Bible.
It's a 57 message series and will also include a disk containing the study guides for each message to request duster glory. When you go to Renewing Your Mind.org you can also call us with your gift at 800-435-4343 will continue this series next week and I do hope you'll join us as doctors pull focuses on Jeremiah we know more about the personal life of this man was known as the weeping prophet and we do about any other Old Testament prophet that's next Saturday here on Renewing Your Mind