Take The Step - 10/7/18

TAKE THE STEP! 10 07 2018

Esther 4: 13-17
I decided to speak on Esther for a number of reasons: …
1. Part of this scripture in dear to me; … “Who knows, perhaps you have come to
the kingdom for such a time as this.” (verse 13b)
2. One of the Sunday School classes is studying the Book of Esther.
3. It’s one of the least read books in the Bible.
4. Disciple Women of the Northeast Area are having a rally at Central Christian –
Winnsboro, next Saturday.
All-in-all, the message to me … was that my sermon topic this Sunday needed to
be directed toward the women of the Church.
That is not to say that the men of the Church get to take a nap for the duration.
Much of this can and should be applied to our lives, also!
To begin: …
This was the day that Esther would either end up a hero … or end up dead.
Yeah, … I’m pretty sure I would have been tempted to crawl back into bed, …
pull the covers over my head … and desperately pray that God would find some
other woman or person; … some other way; … to save His people.
Why me? … Why here? … Why now?
These are questions we often ask God when He calls us to be brave in less-than-
ideal situations. … When we wake up one morning and realize it’s time to take that
step of faith … and move from the preparation stage … to actually doing the hard
works for God. … Oh we’re bold in the preparing … but when it’s time to take that
next step?; … “Isn’t there an easier way, Father? … Surely there’s someone else
who’s more qualified, … more available, … more; … I don’t know; … ‘built’ to
handle these kinds of projects?”
But Esther saved the doubt and the drama … and instead responded with: …
“I will go.”
How do we effectively respond to: … “The hand we are dealt”?
We Must be Empowered; … Fearless!
“The king loved Esther more than all the other women. She won more favor and
approval from him than did any of the other young women. He placed the royal
crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.  18  The king held a great
banquet for all his officials and staff. It was Esther’s banquet. He freed his
provinces from tax payments and gave gifts worthy of the king’s bounty.”
(Esther 2:17-18)

Thousands of years ago, a woman's worth depended on how she looked. …
Esther was a metaphorical slave of her culture.
Has it really changed for girls and women today? … In my ministry, I’ve meant all
kinds and ages of women who are enslaved by the culture surrounding them, …
which reworks their true identity. … As a result, … they are blinded to God's
purpose for their life.
We live in a media-saturated world which is communicating thousands of
messages every day, … consciously and unconsciously, to us.
Advertisements, magazines and music videos teach girls that they are to be 'living
dolls'; … that their worth lies in their physical appearance. … The result?: …
Girls see their bodies as projects to be worked on … as they strive to meet an
unrealistic standard of beauty. … A teenage girl once confided in me after
watching the cheerleaders perform at a pep rally: … "I am not enough."
God expects courage from his daughters. … The book of Esther is clear evidence
of this. … Her courage has echoed through generations of Hebrews … but it ought
to influence all women who call the Lord their Father. … Our God is the same
Messiah. … When we live a life of fear, … we are not pursuing God’s “best” for
us.
Whether it’s fear of rejection, … fear of judgment, … fear of being alone …
or fear of suffering, … we must set it all aside and keep our eyes fixed on our
Deliverer.
Where would we all be if Esther had chosen to stay silent? … What if she had
made her decision based on her fears rather than on her faith in God. …
She heeded the advice of her uncle Mordecai and recognized that God had destined
her for such a time as this. … Though she must have been terrified, … she obeyed.
Her courage … was her obedience!
There is a greater message that God is trying to communicate to His daughters
through the story of Esther. … I believe He wanted future generations of women to
have this story to look back on … to spur them on to courage. … Women need a
matriarch of valor to affirm the warrior that lives inside of all of us … once we
have the Holy Spirit’s power. … Esther’s legacy is one that says that fulfilling our
God given purpose … means that we cannot listen to the Enemy when he tells us
that we aren’t strong enough, … influential enough … or valuable enough to be
used by God.
There is a time that you … have been made for! … You have been placed in your
job, … in your marriage … and in your family for a purpose. …

You have been given royal status in the Kingdom of God for such a time as this;
… for such a time as now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! …
Listen to His leading and be ready to respond with courage when He calls.
Esther, the Jewish slave, … was chosen as the new queen which put her in a
position to petition the king for mercy on her people … but, … Esther was only
chosen as queen … AFTER someone else refused to obey. …
This position was entrusted to her because someone disobeyed … and Esther was
willing to obey the King! … She went a notch higher by even preparing herself to
come into the presence of the king.
Are you willing to obey your King of all kings … and at the same time, … prepare
yourself to come into His presence?
If you claim the title “Christian” … You must stand up Boldly for Christ
Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther, “Don’t think that you will escape
the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace.  14  If you keep silent at
this time, liberation and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another
place, but you and your father’s house will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you
have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”
15  Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:  16  “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be
found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, day or night. I and
my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king
even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.”  17  So Mordecai went and did
everything Esther had ordered him. (Esther 4:13-17)
From a traditional standpoint, … some may consider that Esther was indeed too
bold and acted in a way that was not appropriate. … Those with traditional mind
sets believe that Esther should not have stood up to the king as she did.
This was an inappropriate move for the day and age she was living in and out of
line. … Some may also think that this act was disrespectful, in some way, to her
husband. … Traditionalists today still do not think that it is right to stand up to
your husband so boldly. … They believe that women should listen to their
husbands … and not interfere with what it is they want or believe, … because it is
wrong.
Esther’s first step is to pray and fast. … She fasts for three days and asks everyone
in her community to fast with her. … She knows that standing up to evil and
fighting injustice is no small matter … and that she can accomplish nothing in her
own strength or by herself. …

Even though scripture does not say this, … it can be implied she can only succeed
if the Lord gives her great favor and wisdom. Just as Mordecai
inferred, … the Lord is the one who will bring deliverance … and she must act
according to His will. How
often do we act … before praying! … How often have we prayed a quick prayer
for protection and blessing … instead of spending hours, … if not days, … in
prayer and fasting!
As “Esthers”, … you must learn to begin every action with prayer … and to rely
on the Lord when bringing hope to the hopeless.
After three days of prayer and fasting, … Esther acts with courage and boldness.
She does not delay to act or hope God will send someone else. … No, … she steps
forward in courage and faith, … risking her life, … believing that God will
provide.
Once given entrance to the king, … she is wise and bold in her requests. …
She does not hesitate or lose courage … but she continues to walk as a courageous,
… faith-filled … Esther.
Esther is the perfect mix of waiting on the Lord … and also walking in faith.
Where is God calling you to bring His Hope? … Where has He placed you so that
you might fight against injustice … and protect His people?
Where are you confronting Evil on a daily basis? … Have you spent time in prayer
and fasting? … Have you sought the Lord’s will for your life and the situations He
has called you to?
Or maybe you have spent time in prayer but are hesitant to act?
Are you waiting for more signs or for God to send someone else?
How can you step out in faith today?
How can you live out your calling with courage and boldness?
Esther was a highly intelligent, yet a brave woman that we should look up to.
Her great courage and confidence saved many lives. … She was a woman who
followed God and was unafraid to do what was required of her, … even though she
was facing great trials. … Her abundant faith shows us that we can accomplish
anything when we believe and set our minds to it. … She has also showed us that
we need not be afraid when serving the Lord.
Esther was put in a position that could have cost her life, … yet she followed
through with God's plan and stood up to her husband. … Esther is the ultimate
example of whom women should look to for inspiration in their lives, …
for she was truly bold, … beautiful … and brilliant.

Through your bold actions and courage, … the lives of a community, … if not a
Nation can be saved!
That same day King Ahasuerus (uh hash-yoo HER uhs) awarded Queen Esther the
estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Mordecai entered the king’s presence
because Esther had revealed her relationship to Mordecai.  2  The king removed his
signet ring he had recovered from Haman and gave it to Mordecai, and Esther put
him in charge of Haman’s estate.
3  Then Esther addressed the king again. She fell at his feet, wept, and begged him to
revoke the evil of Haman the Agagite, and his plot he had devised against the
Jews.  4  The king extended the gold scepter toward Esther, so she got up and stood
before the king.
5  She said, “If it pleases the king, and I have found approval before him, if the
matter seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his sight, let a royal edict be
written. Let it revoke the documents the scheming Haman son of Hammedatha the
Agagite, wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces.  6  For how
could I bear to see the disaster that would come on my people? How could I bear
to see the destruction of my relatives?” (Esther 8:1-6)
In verses 8-14 and 16-17, the edit is given, … the Jews are allowed to protect
themselves … and God’s people are saved; … not only saved but their numbers are
increased because many converted to Judaism after witnessing God’s hand at
work!
Esther’s people, … the Jews, … were in danger. … Due to an evil scheme by the
king’s adviser, … all of the Jews in the Persian Empire had been sentenced to
death. … The king was unaware that Esther was Jewish. … When her cousin
Mordecai told her of this news, he challenged her to view herself as uniquely
placed in a position of influence so she could save her people.
Esther could remain silent and most likely her life would be spared, … as long as
the king didn’t learn that she was Jewish. … If she chose silence, … she would
lose her family and her people; … she wouldn’t be used by God.
Or she could choose to act. … She could put her life on the line and stand up
against injustice! … That’s the path she selected … and God rewarded her
faithfulness by protecting the Jews through a series of miraculous events.
Making a decision to follow Christ is a defining moment … because we become a
part of something bigger than ourselves. … Being a Christ-follower … gives us a
purpose that is bigger than our own.

Esther had lived her life as one of God’s chosen people. … She believed in God
and knew that he cared about his people … but it wasn’t until she chose to act on
what she knew was right in the eyes of God, … that she was able to witness
firsthand His mercy and love. … Challenge your family and friends this week to
discover and experience the joy of putting their faith into action by helping
someone in need, … whether physically … or Spiritually!
Stand against the injustice of this secular and pagan world!
You know our nation desperately needs individuals like you and me to be willing
to follow Esther’s example and stand in the gap for God. … Our culture grows
more corrupt and sinful every moment that passes … and I think much of the
blame falls on those of us who hesitate to speak up and act for God’s truth.
Remember, all it takes for evil to prosper, … is for good people to do nothing …
and these days, … many good people ARE doing nothing.
The people in your sphere of influence, … that little “congregation” that God has
given you, … needs you to be salt and light.
They need you to speak the truth in love, … to guide them to faith in God.
This morning, … many of us may need to make a commitment to God to be as
courageous as Esther.
Accept the new position that God is giving you. … If the opportunity is the result
of another’s disobedience, … allow your obedience to take you to another level in
Him!
Remember that your obedience is connected to so many other people’s destinies!
Prepare yourself to come into The King’s presence; … You have come to the
Kingdom for such a time as this!
AMEN