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4/15/12 “Young Girls in the Bible: Esther” Esther 2:1-17
A. Susa was in present-day Iran, on the border with Iraq.
B. There is no mention of God in the entire book, no reference to Him at all.
C. At the retreat, Pastor Capper spoke about Daniel and his friends in exile in Babylon and noted how fitting it is for us to study this period of time in history because it was a time so similar to our own.
1. Well, the story of Esther took place about a century later, after the Persian Empire has taken over from Babylon, and after some of the Jews had returned to Palestine from the exile.
2. But most of the Jews remained in the land of exile, and even those who returned still remained within the boundaries of the Persian Empire, so their fate was tied up with the rest of the Jews in the empire.
3. The last historical book in the OT
4. Esther family
a. Orphaned: Jewish tradition says her father died while her mother was pregnant, and her mother died in labor.
b. Raised by her cousin
5. Raised in captivity: Walking on eggshells, part of a despised minority
6. The Ahasuerus/Vashti incident
7. Eight more chapters of details: Haman’s plot to wipe out all the Jews. As queen, she is put in a situation where she has to intercede on behalf of her people, putting her at great risk of the wrath of the king.
D. But this story is not really about Esther, it’s about God, even though He’s never mentioned. Protecting and delivering His people. Coincidences. Through Esther God saved Christ so Christ could save us.
II. Esther’s predicament
A. The unpleasant position Esther was put in
1. Not just a beauty contest, Esther was abducted.
2. Much older man — he apparently had a son of marriageable age when he took Esther as queen. So, he was at least old enough to be her father.
3. Sexy dancing in front of his drunken friends
B. Beauty is not always a blessing. It often brings unwanted attention, as in the case of Esther.
C. She didn’t volunteer for this. She didn’t feel ready for this. She was put in a very touchy situation.
D. Esther’s trial: self-preservation/not rocking the boat versus stepping out in order to help the helpless.
1. The king was a fearsome man in a powerful position. She was probably a teenager from a humble background. Unbeknownst to the governing officials, she was a part of a despised minority. So she had a secret she was trying to guard because it had the potential to destroy her.
E. Christ figure
III. Living in an age when God doesn’t blare His name
A. Silence, when God doesn't blare His name
1. Flashy things which tickle us
2. Question about miracles
B. God in the silence
1. They look forgotten but they are anything but.
2. He was in it after all.
C. Serving God in the silence
1. “We walk by faith, not by sight.” 2Cor.5:7
2. “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn.20:29)
3. Appreciating the little, subtle ways God shows Himself to us in times of silence.
a. E.g. Coincidences
4. Doing the right thing. Not focusing on your own earthly status.
5. Believing He’s there even when He’s hiding Himself
a. Hide-and-seek: the confidence that the person is there, somewhere
D. Ps.37 Of David. Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! 2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.
1. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
2. 4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
3. 12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.
4. 16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. 18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever;
5. 27 Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever.
6. 30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.
7. 34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land.
8. 37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. 38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off. 39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. 40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
E. You must place your bet. Is this world better than the world to come, or vice versa?
1. Is this where real life happens or is that? In one sense you must sacrifice one for the sake of the other. Will you sacrifice this world for the sake of that one? Or will you sacrifice that for this?