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The Call of God to Old Testament Characters


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Title: The Call of God to Old Testament Characters

The Call of God to Old Testament Characters
Lesson 12
Lesson TextEsther 45-7
Esther 45-7 5 Then called Esther for Hatach, one
of the kings chamberlains, whom he had appointed
to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to
Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.
Lesson TextEsther 45-7
6 So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the
street of the city, which was before the kings
gate. 7 And Mordecai told him of all that had
happened unto him, and of the sum of the money
that Haman had promised to pay to the kings
treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them.
Lesson TextEsther 48-10
Esther 48-10 8 Also he gave him the copy of
the writing of the decree that was given at
Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther,
and to declare it unto her, and to charge her
that she should go in unto the king, to make
supplication unto him, and to make request before
him for her people.
Lesson TextEsther 48-10
9 And Hatach came and told Esther the words of
Mordecai. 10 Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and
gave him commandment unto Mordecai
Lesson TextEsther 411-13
Esther 411-13 11 All the kings servants, and
the people of the kings provinces, do know, that
whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto
the king into the inner court, who is not called,
there is one law of his to put him to death,
Lesson TextEsther 411-13
except such to whom the king shall hold out the
golden sceptre, that he may live but I have not
been called to come in unto the king these thirty
days. 12 And they told to Mordecai Esthers words.
Lesson TextEsther 411-13
13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther,
Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in
the kings house, more than all the Jews.
Lesson TextEsther 414
Esther 414 For if thou altogether holdest
thy peace at this time, then shall there
enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews
from another place but thou and thy fathers
house shall be destroyed and who knoweth whether
thou art come to the kingdom for such a time
as this?
Focus VerseEsther 414
Esther 414 For if you remain completely silent
at this time, relief and deliverance will arise
for the Jews from another place, but you and your
fathers house will perish. Yet who knows whether
you have come to the kingdom for such a time as
Focus Thought
God always places His people in the right place
at the right time in order to bring defeat to the
enemy and glory to His name.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Culture Connection Esthers Election
Can Christians and politics mix? Many wish to
muzzle Gods people on matters of national
decisions. However, everything we do either
glorifies God or disappoints Him. Sometimes God
calls a believer to political office. He chose
Esther before she understood the significance of
her role.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
As her adoptive father reminded her, she came for
such a time as this. Right now, Gods people
are in such a time when Bible-based faith is at
risk. God sends people to preach, and He also
calls some to defend their right to do so.
Taking a stand on political matters will not
make people of faith popular. While we do not use
offensive methods to make a statement, we have to
be clear.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
John the Baptizer went against the grain of his
government by criticizing the kings moral
misconduct. Herod killed him for it. Being overly
sensitive to others feelings, too many
Christians remain silent on political matters for
fear of rejection. Try explaining that to
Jeremiah, Daniel, Shadrach, Elijah, Peter, and
Paul. What would Esther have become if she had
lived for social acceptance? She could have lived
for prestige, world acclaim, and tolerance.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
She could have become the Princess Di of her
time. Instead, she took the hard path by
protecting truth. She did not live to build her
own kingdom, but Gods. Somewhere, God is
calling another humble believer for such a time
as this. Who will risk the loss of a reputation
and social network in exchange for advancing
Gods kingdom?
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Contemplating the Topic
The Book of Esther contains the record of a
queen deposed, a new queen chosen, a villain
exposed, a righteous man vindicated, and a king
providentially utilized as a savior. King
Ahasuerus in Esthers story ruled over an empire
that stretched from India to Ethiopia. Ahasuerus
is the Hebrew version of the Greek Xerxes. He
inherited his kingdom from a powerful dynasty
that began with his grandfather Cyrus.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
This family ruled Persia (modern-day Iran) for
two hundred years until Greece, under Alexander
the Great, conquered it. One hundred years
before Cyrus was born, the prophet Isaiah
mentioned his name prophetically (Isaiah 4428
451, 13). Jeremiah also prophesied of the work
Cyrus would do for the returning Jews from
captivity in Babylon although he did not mention
Cyrus by name (Jeremiah 2512 2910. (See also
II Chronicles 3622, 23 Ezra 11-4.)
I. God Intervened in an Empire
King Darius I, the father of Ahasuerus,
conquered Babylon with his Persian army the night
Belshazzar hosted his infamous feast and Daniel
interpreted the handwriting of God on the wall
(Daniel 5). Darius I promoted Daniel to a high
position in his kingdom and, because of his high
regard for Daniel, followed him with concern to
the den of lions (Daniel 6).
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Artaxerxes I, the son of Ahasuerus and king of
Persia, appointed Nehemiah the governor of Judah
and gave him authority to rebuild the walls of
Jerusalem (Mordecai the Defender of the Jews by
John G. Butler). For all its grandeur, the Book
of Esther does not mention the name of God. For
that reason some have criticized this book of the
Bible and questioned its place in the sacred
canon. We do find, however, the fingerprints of
Gods providence from beginning to end in the
I. God Intervened in an Empire
God protected His great plan for the nation of
Israel by arranging the times and the personnel
needed to divert impending disaster and bring
about a glorious victory. God used Ahasueruss
sleeplessness to guide his attention to an
unheralded hero and thwart a wicked plot in his
realm. What would seem a chance incident was, in
fact, the hand of divine providence.
Transparency 1
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Searching the Scriptures God Intervened in an
Vashtis Fall
In the third year of his reign, Ahasuerus, the
king of Persia, ordered a celebration to showcase
his powerful dominion. Princes and nobles from
all over the empire came to Shushan to marvel at
the kings splendor and riches.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
The décor, the royal attire, the endless supply
of food, alcohol, and entertainment intoxicated
all the guests. The more flattery the king
received the more impressed he became with his
own self-importance. The last week of the
celebration, the king hosted a riotous banquet
for all his guests. The king saved the best
entertainment for last he called for Queen
Vashti to display her beauty so all the men in
the banquet hall would gloat over the kings
exquisite possession.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Vashti refused to participate in such a shocking
breach of protocol, kings command or no. She did
not wish to parade before the leering gazes of a
crowd of drunken men. At the insult of Vashtis
refusal to appear, Ahasuerus flew into one of his
legendary fits of rage. Did not Vashti remember
he had the power of life and death over her? The
hilarious banquet atmosphere sobered abruptly.
What should be done? The assembled princes agreed
that Vashtis behavior as a queen set a
bad precedent.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
They all feared their wives would hear of this
and do as they pleased. The king must do
something at once. His top advisors assembled to
decide how to handle this dilemma. If Ahasuerus
were to have Vashti killed, it would certainly
put a stop to anyone following her example but
the uproar, along with the queen, would soon be
forgotten. If the king let her live in exile,
however, it would be a continuing reminder of his
regal power. Thus he banished Vashti for
life. This left a divinely arranged
vacancy for Esther.
B. Esthers Rise
  1. Esthers Rise

When the kings anger at Vashti subsided, he may
have regretted his hasty action, but he could not
restore her position because his decrees were
irreversible. Now the king needed someone to sit
on the queens throne. The search for a new
queen began in the sixth year of Ahasueruss
reign, and it took a year to locate a woman whose
beauty rivaled Vashtis. History records that
during much of this time Ahasuerus was out of the
country at war with Greece.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
A large population of the tribe of Judah had
been taken captive to Babylon during the reign of
Nebuchadnezzar. A second deportation occurred in
597 bc (Esther 26), and in that group was the
family of Mordecai and Esther. Esther was the
Babylonian name given to her, but her Hebrew name
was Hadassah, although her cousin, Mordecai, told
her not to tell anyone in the palace she was
Jewish (Esther 210). Mordecai had adopted Esther
when both of her parents died (Esther 27).
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Esther was a fair and beautiful young lady
(Esther 27), and when Hegai, the eunuch in
charge of the kings harem, saw her he knew
immediately that his search for a new queen was
over. He favored Esther with seven maids to wait
on her and placed her in the best room in the
I. God Intervened in an Empire
The year set aside to prepare the fair virgins
for the kings inspection ensured that they were
properly fed, pampered, clothed, and trained for
their once-in-a-lifetime interview with the king.
When it was Esthers turn, she bowed to Hegais
suggestions of what she should do (Esther 215).
Esther won the kings favor and approval, and he
crowned her the new queen in place of Vashti.
A. Hamans Fall
God Controlled Influential Men
  1. Hamans Fall

Four years later King Ahasuerus elevated a man
named Haman to a rank second only to the king.
Haman was an Agagite, considered by many to be a
descendant of the Amalekite king killed by Samuel
with a sword (I Samuel 1532-33).
I. God Intervened in an Empire
The Amalekites were longtime enemies of the
nation of Israel, being the offspring of Esau,
Jacobs twin brother. The Lord cursed the
Amalekites for their cruel attack on Israel
during the Exodus (Deuteronomy 2517-19). The
Lord commanded King Saul to utterly destroy
Amalek, which Saul failed to do. Now his
disobedience was still bearing evil fruit several
hundred years later in the form of Haman.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
When we fail to fully follow Gods directions, we
never know how far-reaching the effects may be.
Hamans prestige required that all should bow
before Haman (Esther 32). Few men can keep their
balance when they are exalted. Someone has wisely
said that power corrupts and absolute power
corrupts absolutely. The Bible describes the
danger of pride Pride goeth before destruction,
and an haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Haman became obsessed with his own importance.
When Mordecai refused to bow before him, the
hatred within Hamans heart soon spread like
wildfire to include all Jews. He stoked the fire
day and night until he thought of a plan to rid
the empire of all Jews. Anti-Semitism is not a
modern-day phenomenon it is an ancient, ugly
scar on the face of human relations.
Historically, Gods people have often found
themselves face to face with evil men and women
who have tried to annihilate them.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
God, however, will not allow the wicked to
continue their evil ways unchallenged. He will
rise to His childrens defense. In the twelfth
year of King Ahasueruss reign, Haman began his
campaign against the Jews. He enlisted the help
of the king with such subtleness that Ahasuerus
was unaware his decision would wipe out a major
bloc of taxpayers, not to mention his own
innocent queen.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Haman began, There is a certain people
scattered abroad and dispersed among the people
in all the provinces of thy kingdom and their
laws are diverse from all people (Esther 38).
He sweetened his proposition with an offer of ten
thousand talents of silver to be paid into the
kings coffers. The king accepted Hamans plot
without question and gave him full authority to
implement it in the kings name. Couriers
published the kings decree throughout the
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Meanwhile, Haman vented his rage by erecting a
seventy-five-foot gallows on which to hang
Mordecai. Haman was completely ignorant that he
had set himself up for destruction. Whoso
diggeth a pit shall fall therein and he that
rolleth a stone, it will return upon him
(Proverbs 2627). Both he and the king remained
unaware of the dire consequences of the plan,
especially the threat to the life of the new
B. Mordecais Rise
  1. Mordecais Rise

Mordecai sat in the kings gate (Esther 221).
This was a low-level position, but it put him
within earshot of palace activity. From there he
supervised the activity of his adopted daughter,
Esther. In the course of his duties Mordecai
overheard Bigthan and Teresh, two of the kings
chamberlains, conspiring to assassinate
I. God Intervened in an Empire
The title chamberlain indicated the king
trusted these two men to guard the entrance to
his private quarters in the palace. (This plot to
assassinate King Ahasuerus was not the only
attempt on the kings life. History records that
less than ten years later Artabanus, captain of
the guard, and Aspamitras, a chamberlain,
assassinated Ahasuerus.) Mordecai became a hero
when he told Queen Esther about the conspiracy of
Bigthan and Teresh.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Esther alerted the king and named Mordecai as the
man who uncovered the plot. The king swiftly
ordered that the two conspirators be hanged. A
scribe entered Mordecais kindness into the
historical record, but Mordecai did not receive
recognition for the deed. However, the episode
set the stage for Mordecais rise to prominence.
Even when it appears we have been overlooked by
the world, God keeps meticulous records of every
detail of our lives.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
We do not act righteously to receive a reward,
because doing the right thing is its own reward.
Being in right relationship to God places us in
line for His miraculous intervention. We must not
be distracted by the acts of the wicked. Our
greatest responsibility must be to guard our
relationship with God. Only God can see what He
has planned for us. We must trust His judgment
when we cannot discern His plans. In Gods
economy, it was not possible for Mordecai to be
elevated without Hamans decline.
A. Esthers Opportunity
God Positioned the Righteous
  1. Esthers Opportunity

The time for Hamans plan to go into action was
set by casting the purim (or casting lots). Haman
did not realize his murderous plan would
establish a world-wide holiday for all Jewish
people who still celebrate Esthers victory at
the Feast of Purim one month before the Feast of
the Passover.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Couriers published Hamans decree throughout the
entire kingdom. As the news reached the Jewish
population, a loud and bitter cry arose in the
city of Shushan, and it increased in volume
across the land of Persia as the decree was made
known. It would appear, however, that the news
had not reached Esther in the palace or if it
did, she did not think it applied to her because
no one knew she was Jewish.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
But Mordecais behavior troubled Esther, for he
sat outside the kings gate clothed in sackcloth,
pouring clouds of ash on his head and wailing
loudly. She sent Hatach out to the kings gate to
ask the reason for her cousins mourning. She
knew Mordecai would not act this way unless
something catastrophic had happened. It was an
age-old custom of the Jews to publicly
demonstrate their grief by howling and stirring
up ashes.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Mordecai knew better than to blame himself for
the imminent destruction of his people, but he
could not help feeling remorse that his refusal
to bow to anyone but Jehovah was the catalyst for
Hamans evil plot. Mordecai had guessed there
would be a reaction but had not dreamed of the
lengths to which Haman would go. Mordecai sent
Hatach back to the queen with a copy of the
kings decree and all the details of Hamans
wretched plan.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Her cousin urged Esther to go to the king to beg
for mercy for her people. Esther recoiled in
fear, knowing that anyone who entered the
presence of the king without being summoned could
immediately be executed.
Transparency 2
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Esther sent word back to Mordecai that she
feared for her life should she dare to enter the
kings presence. Mordecai responded, Think not
with thyself that thou shalt escape in the kings
house, more than all the Jews. For if thou
altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then
shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to
the Jews from another place but thou and thy
fathers house shall be destroyed and who
knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for
such a time as this? (Esther 413-14).
B. Esthers Plan
  1. Esthers Plan

Desperate times demand desperate measures.
Esther called for a time of fasting and prayer to
prepare the way. Before she approached the
earthly throne of Ahasuerus, she approached the
heavenly throne of the Almighty. Perhaps Esther
encouraged herself during this time of great
trial by singing a psalm The righteous cry, and
the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all
their troubles.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken
heart and saveth such as be of a contrite
spirit. Many are the afflictions of the
righteous but the Lord delivereth him out of
them all (Psalm 3417-19). Esther asked
Mordecai to call all the Jews in the city to
participate in three days of fasting and prayer
for her safety and that the king would favor her
petition for the salvation of her people. Esther
and her maids joined in the fast.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
She was resigned to her fate because if she did
nothing to protect her people she would be
killed, or if the king rejected her presence in
the inner court she might be killed. At the end
of the days of fasting and prayer, Esther readied
herself to enter the kings inner court. We can
only imagine what must have gone through Esthers
mind as she ventured into the inner court at the
end of those three days.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Perhaps she kept repeating, Cast thy burden upon
the Lord, and he shall sustain thee he shall
never suffer the righteous to be moved (Psalm
5522). Even though the king had not called for
her in thirty days, he graciously extended his
scepter toward Esther and asked what her petition
might be. She wisely refrained from blurting out
her real request and instead invited the king and
Haman to a banquet that day.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Perhaps during her training Hatach had taught her
that an appeal to an authority is more effective
if that appeal is based upon the best interests
of the authority. Esther knew that the law of
the king could not be reversed even if she made
her appeal, but the first step toward a solution
would be for the king to receive her petition.
The second essential part of appealing to an
authority is to give God time to work in the
heart of the authority.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
At the banquet that day, the king asked about
Esthers request but she merely responded with
another invitation for the king and Haman to
attend a banquet the next day at which time she
would tell the king what was on her mind. These
preliminaries leading up to petitioning someone
are still a common practice in the East today.
First the guest is served something to eat and
drink and engaged in polite small talk.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
After a proper length of time, maybe the next
day, the real business at hand will be addressed.
It is considered good manners to observe this
custom no matter how desperate the nature of the
business at hand. To force the process along is
considered rude. Haman left the first banquet in
ecstasy over his favor with the king and the
queen. On the way home, he passed by Mordecai
whose disregard again filled him with rage,
ruining his good mood. He vowed that Mordecai
would die for this crime.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
God does not run His schedule by our clock. He
does, however, continue working even when we may
be unaware of it. God chose the very night before
Esthers second banquet to inflict the king with
insomnia. After tossing and turning, Ahasuerus
called for a scribe to read to him from the
kingdom chronicles. Instead of lulling him back
to sleep, he learned of the egregious oversight
done to Mordecai who had never received honor for
uncovering the plot against the kings life.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
The king wanted something done about it
immediately. He sent a servant to see if anyone
waited in the kings court. Haman had just
arrived, intending to ask permission to hang
Mordecai. The king invited him into his presence
and asked what rewards should be bestowed on a
man whom the king wished to honor. Imagining that
he was the man, Haman voiced his secret
fantasies. They pleased the king and he told
Haman to do even so to Mordecai the Jew (Esther
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Stunned, Haman left to obey His Majestys order.
Haman was mortified as he escorted his royally
clad enemy, who rode the kings horse with the
royal crown glittering on his head. When their
tour of the city was over Haman scurried home in
disgrace. His wife, Zeresh, warned that because
of Mordecais new status, Haman might never see
the object of his hate swinging from the gallows.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
God arranged the circumstances to place Mordecai
where He needed him and allowed Haman to think he
was in control only long enough to set him up for
destruction. No sooner had Haman sat down than
the kings chamberlain arrived to announce that
Hamans presence was required at the queens
second banquet.
C. Esthers Victory
  1. Esthers Victory

It is quite possible that Esther did not know
about the gallows Haman had prepared or about
Mordecais exciting morning. Nonetheless, when
the food and the small talk were behind them, the
king asked a third time for Esthers request. She
shaped her petition in the simplest of terms. She
pleaded for her life and the lives of her people.
The king was shocked.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
He could not imagine what scoundrel would
threaten the life of his beautiful queen. When
Queen Esther passionately pointed to the Agagite,
the king narrowed his eyes. Enraged that this
snake of a man had deceived him, the king strode
from the room. Haman could not have anticipated
a more disastrous end to his ambition. His rise
to public prominence was eclipsed by his meteoric
descent into disgrace and death. The memory of
the just is blessed but the name of the wicked
shall rot (Proverbs 107).
Transparency 3
The righteousness of the perfect shall direct
his way but the wicked shall fall by his own
wickedness (Proverbs 115).
I. God Intervened in an Empire
On the very day he had planned to take
Mordecais life, Haman swung from his own
gallows. Further, the king awarded Hamans estate
to Esther. Perhaps the recent remembrance of
Mordecais loyalty in the national chronicles
prompted King Ahasuerus to give Mordecai his
signet ring and the authority to write the
appropriate orders to allow the Jews in every
province to defend themselves against any and all
aggressors and take their property as a
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Mordecai left the presence of the king wearing
royal garments and a golden crown.
IV. God Calls Us to Royalty
God Calls Us to Royalty
God has a plan for every life and a ministry for
every person. Just when we feel insignificant and
overlooked, God may change everything and at the
appropriate hour thrust us on stage and turn up
the lights. In Gods economy, there are no
irrelevant children. Everyone has value and
significance. We must always remember He chose us
before the foundation of the world.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
According as he hath chosen us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy
and without blame before him in love (Ephesians
I Peter 29
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal
priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people
that ye should shew forth the praises of him who
hath called you out of darkness into his
marvellous light (I Peter 29).
I. God Intervened in an Empire
The call of God is always an upward call. We
first experience it when God calls us to
salvation. From that point on, His work in our
lives constantly pulls us to a higher level.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Internalizing the Message
Faith in the providence of God gives us
confidence that the troubles of this world are in
His hands. God is the author of time so He is not
ruled by it. God transcends time and sees the
beginning and the end as a continuum. His
ultimate plan always prevails over all. His
kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
I. God Intervened in an Empire
Faith in the providence of God also gives us
strength and assurance. If He rules in the
affairs of the nations of the world, then He is
able to take charge of the things that trouble
us. Clarence Macartney commented about the
providence of God found in the life of Esther
when he said, The book of providence, like
Hebrew, must be read backward. But when we look
back we can see that God was there (Great Women
of the Bible).
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