Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Best "Turning Point" Speech in Scripture

Before we move on in the story of Esther, I think we should take time to learn two very important lessons from yesterday's blog posting. The first is this…be very careful who you seek as advisors. Advisors who are prejudiced or who will only tell you part of the story are advisors who will cause you to make horrific decisions. The second lesson is equally valuable. Be careful who you hold a grudge against. It is easy to see Haman as such a vile person that we don’t realize that there can be a little bit of Haman in each of us seen every time we hold a grudge. So take a mental and spiritual evaluation. Are you holding a grudge against anyone? A former spouse? A pastor? A roommate? A church? A boss? A coach? A neighbor? A friend? Is there some part of Haman inside of you that needs to be dealt with?

As we open chapter four of Esther, we see the response of Mordecai to the announcement of this death penalty for him and all his people. Mordecai was very upset realizing that it was his refusal to bow before Haman that was the source of this plan. As a result, he put on sackcloth and ashes which was a public sign of mourning (v1). Esther, due to living in the palace, was unknowing of the plan but she hears of Mordecai’s mourning (v4).

Esther sends a messenger to find out the situation (v5-6). Mordecai tells the messenger of Haman’s plot. He gives the messenger a copy of the decree to show Esther. And he asks the messenger to tell the queen that she must go to the king and expose herself as a Jew and plea for her people. At first, Esther sends word back to Mordecai that she is troubled by his request (v9-11). It was widely known that for a person, even the queen, to come before the king without being summoned, usually ended in death. To make matters worse, it had been 30 days since the king had sent for Esther. To go before him now unannounced would most likely be a fatal decision.

This leads us to one of the greatest speeches in all of the Bible and in all of history. This is one of those “turning point” speeches. This is like Patrick Henry declaring, “Give me liberty or give me death!” This ranks right up there with the slogan, “Remember the Alamo.” This is the Biblical version of Knute Rockne’s halftime locker room speech at Notre Dame when he challenged the team with the words, “Win one for the Gipper.”

Through the messenger, Mordecai reminds Esther that based on the decree, she too should be killed. Mordecai goes on to say that if she doesn’t attempt to save her people that God would deliver His people through another source. This is an amazing truth. Yes, God wants to use each of us but folks, listen, He doesn’t really need us. If we refuse to carry out His plan, His plan won’t be thwarted. He will go through another source to carry out His purpose. I wonder how many times God wanted to use me but ultimately used someone else because I refused to follow His leading. Mordecai then ends with the key phrase of the book. “Perhaps,” he says, “This was the very reason that God allowed you to go from orphan to queen.” Or in the words of Scripture, “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” That is why we have called this series, “Once Upon A Time…For Such A Time As This.” But how will Esther respond? Find out tomorrow.

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