Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. If you're enjoying Words of Life, we want to invite you to check out another show brought to you by the Salvation Army. The Holiness Podcast is a monthly Bible study with Lieutenant Colonel Vern Jewett. This show is a deep dive into the Scriptures, studying what the Word of God says about holiness.
With each episode, there is also a corresponding study guide. Listen wherever you get your podcasts or visit SalvationArmysoundcast.org. Welcome back to Words of Life, everybody. I'm glad you're here. I'm especially glad Cheryl's here. Thanks, Bernie. I appreciate that.
Man, so good to see you. We hope that you're enjoying this new series with Colonel Helen Starrett. Last week, she studied Bathsheba's story, and this week, Helen's going to be diving into Esther's incredible journey.
Yeah. Esther's story is so amazing. I mean, just a girl who looks like she was pampered and just kind of set up for the good life. God had just such an awesome assignment for her, and she was reminded by her uncle that she needed to step up because just for such a time as this, God created her to save His people. And so, her story was amazing and is amazing, and we can learn so much. I'm excited to hear what Helen has to say about it. Amen. And full disclosure, this series is helping me learn more about these characters that I don't know a lot about, so we hope that you'll enjoy it.
Welcome. Royalty, political intrigue, unrestrained pursuit of pleasure, sexual indulgence, public marital breakup, and outlandish beauty party are all elements of a dynamic mini-series such as Dynasty, when it aired years ago. In this case, our series is titled Destiny. One woman, one king, one people, one destiny, fear, faithfulness, evil motives, love, and betrayal. Without Esther, it is possible that 15 million Jews could have been annihilated. The setting of the story is Persia, where Jews were living under Persian rule.
Esther lived here with her uncle Mordecai, the only Jews we meet by name. King Xerxes is a proud, arrogant man celebrating his accomplishments by holding a six-month celebration. A drunken orgy full of the men from 127 provinces were invited. The queen was hosting their wives. To be even more impressive, he sends for the queen so he can show her off.
Everything about Xerxes was ostentatious, prideful, lustful. His plan was flawless until Queen Vashti refuses. Was she the first woman to refuse a man in the Bible? Sometimes we have to make hard decisions. When we are put in a situation beyond our control, we are faced with a choice.
Pressure bears as we weigh the options—do what is right, do what is easiest, do what is safe. Queen Vashti found herself in this situation. She stood up to a bully and demanded self-respect. We're not certain why she said no. However, her decision had long-term consequences. The king is enraged and humiliated by her refusal.
He consults with his advisors to determine what Vashti had done to just say no. Whatever she did, their wives were going to do as well. Would the women of Persia start disregarding their husbands? They might lose control of their families. There would be no end of disrespect and discord in the kingdom.
What to do with Vashti? Whatever the decision, they wanted to strike fear into their wives. This was for all the provinces in Persia, and this is the last time we hear about Queen Vashti. Xerxes has a problem. He's sorry for what he's done because now he's lonely. The king is depressed, he's losing battles, and he's in need of cheer. His wise men propose bringing in the most beautiful virgins in order for him to select a new queen.
Choosing a new queen would restore his mood and display his power. Can't you just see this advertisement – beautiful virgins need only to apply. Win a 12-month spa vacation. Prizes one night with the king. A possible wedding. Oh, and only Persians need apply.
No Jews. Esther is chosen to be a contestant. The rules – one night with the king.
You're either in or you are out. Please the king or spend the rest of your days in the harem. It's Esther's turn. She does not ask for any extra physical adornments. These make her uncomfortable. Esther's character was enough.
Well, this worked. The king loved Esther above all others. She was more than beautiful.
She had character and wisdom. Mordecai enters the picture at this point. He's the king's guard and sits at the king's gate. He discovers a plot to kill the king and tells Esther, who reports it to the king, and informs him that Mordecai reported the plot. The men were hanged. The king was saved.
Why is this so important? Remember Mordecai. The king appoints Haman to a very high position in the court. Power and pride went to his head. Haman wanted the officials at the king's gate to bow down to him.
Guess who would not? Mordecai. Haman becomes enraged, and rather than just killing only Mordecai when he discovers he's a Jew, he wants to kill all of them in the kingdom. Haman is so enraged, he convinces the king to destroy not only Mordecai, but all the Jews in the kingdom.
Mordecai learns of this plot and openly mourns. Esther learns of this, and she too learns of Haman's plot. Mordecai persuades Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jews, but not to reveal that she is Jewish. Esther agrees to speak with the king without an invitation from him, which is very dangerous. This requires boldness on Esther's part.
It's not the absence of anxiety or fear. It's a choice to do what is right, even when it is risky and difficult. Mordecai assures us that Esther has been chosen for such a time as this. She responds that if I perish, I perish. Esther makes her choice and is willing to risk her life for her people.
God knows when we're ready, and in His perfect timing turns the pages of our story forward. It was time for Esther. She goes boldly before the king. She dressed in regal splendor and walked into the inner court of the palace, putting her life on the line.
Only the king could offer such an invitation. The king saw Esther and held out his scepter, meaning she found favor in his eyes. Not only did the king ask what she wanted, he addressed her as Queen Esther. It is obvious from this statement that he had a great love for her. In calling her his queen, he was saying he accepted her as his wife. He respected her.
He was willing to give her what she requested, as much as half his kingdom. Esther invites the king and Haman to a banquet. Haman thinks he has arrived. This prompts another invitation. On his way home from the first banquet, Haman must pass by the king's gate.
And guess who's there? Mordecai still refuses to bow. So when he arrives home, Haman is angry. His wife and friends give him a solution to his frustration. Build a gallows 75 feet tall and receive permission to hang Mordecai. The king suffers from insomnia that night and asks to have his records read to help him go to sleep.
How boring. He does hear Mordecai's name and remembers that he was the one who foiled the plot to kill him. He wanted to know if he'd been honored, and the answer was no. Haman is excited because he's invited to a second banquet with the king. Before the banquet, the king asks him how he should honor a special man. Haman thinks this question is all about him.
He's a narcissist. Haman shares how he would deliver royal treatment. The king instructs him to go and get Mordecai and treat him in this way. Imagine what Haman must be thinking.
Not only was Mordecai given the honor he expected for himself, but he also had to lead Mordecai through the city, not to the gallows he had built. The scene now is the banquet room. Esther now answers the king's question as to what he can give her. Haman is there to witness the exchange. It was a shock to the king that someone would want to kill his queen. The king is enraged and leaves the room and goes to the garden to collect himself. Esther is sitting and waiting for the king to return. Remember, Haman is there as well. He is so desperate for Esther to ask the king to spare his life, he fell into her lap. When the king returns, this is what he sees, Haman, in this position. Oh dear, the king assumes Haman is molesting his wife. Now we see the protective husband and king and the instincts take over. Haman is ordered to the gallows that he had constructed for Mordecai.
Mordecai was promoted to a high position in the court and had the power to protect the Jews and the edict to annihilate the Jewish people was destroyed. A true picture of God's providence. The important lesson from this account is that we step out when our faith is weak because ordinary obedience has extraordinary reward. This week, may God show you the extraordinary in the ordinary.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-26 08:35:09 / 2023-03-26 08:39:47 / 5