Stand With Humility; Watch God Work
Stand With Humility
Stand With Humility
Good evening! I’m thankful to be here with my brothers and sisters in Christ, and those who’ll soon be adopted into the family. I’m also thankful for Dr. Hughes for the opportunity to deliver God’s message. And I’m thankful for my wife who’s patience is unbelievable. My schedule serving our student-athletes and coaches around the county sometimes has me gone from 6:30 to 8:30, so I owe her big time!
Speaking of queens, let’s turn to Esther, chapter 5, reading from verses 1 through 8.
On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, in front of the king’s quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.” And Esther said, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.” Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther has asked.” So the king and Haman came to the feast that Esther had prepared. And as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king said to Esther, “What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to the feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.” And Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai. Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and brought his friends and his wife Zeresh. And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.” This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.
1 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, in front of the king’s quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. 2 And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. 3 And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.” 4 And Esther said, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.” 5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther has asked.” So the king and Haman came to the feast that Esther had prepared. 6 And as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king said to Esther, “What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” 7 Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: 8 If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to the feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”
So let’s get after it! For those of you that weren’t here last week, our three-part series focuses on Fighting Injustice the Christian Way. We covered the first four chapters of the book of Esther. This video will help catch you up.
In the first part of our three part series, we learned that the first step in fighting injustice, is the willingness to simply stand.
We Must Be Willing To Stand
While Esther’s position certainly gave her prime real estate to be the catalyst for change, it was by no means a guarantee, nor is it an indicator that one must hold some high-level status, title or prestige to effectuate change. You don’t have to be a queen, a professional ball player, a CEO, or even reside in 1600 Pennsylvania for God to use you to bring about justice. But you must be willing to accept the risk that comes with taking a stand.
When we concluded last week, Esther’s last words were “…if I perish, I perish...” Now, I’m not suggesting that everything worth standing up for will require facing these same realities. You may have to stand up for something that’ll mean the “death” of your relationship, friendships, career, or even donors.
It wasn’t that long ago that we discovered one of God’s names - Jehovah Jirah; our provider. If we’re standing for something that’s in alignment with God’s will, His purpose, and His word, He’ll do just that. Make a way. We also learned that He’s our Jehovah Nissi - our banner (of protection).
Today, we focus on approach. If we’re to enact change, in addition to being willing to stand, we must
Stand With Humility
This is something that goes against every fiber of our being. Let’s look at queen Esther to see if standing in Humility will yield results that’ll serve as a blueprint for us.
Remember, Haman, because his feeling are hurt about Mordecai not bowing before him, has decided he wants to kill not just Mordecai, but ALL the Jews! He kind of bribes the king into issuing a decree to allow for the for the destruction of all the Jews in the land on the 13th day of the 12th month. Mordecai convinces Esther to use her status as queen to get an audience before the king to put a stop to this. She’s not really trying to die, but ultimately relents, and this is where we pick up.
“On the third day” references the three day fast Esther asked for before going to the king. She knew she needed God’s help for this one.
She finally goes before the king, and guess what? She’s not dead! He extends his golden scepter, acknowledging that he’s extending his grace upon her.
Verse 3 says:
3 And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.”
This is an idiom, y’all. I know Esther was good looking and all, but she wasn’t that bad!!! Lol. Now, had it been my wife....
It was really an expression signifying that he was in a generous mood.
Either way, what’s Esther’s response? “Hey, my people are being done wrong, and YOU need to do something about it!”… No.
Too many of us, when we’ve been aggrieved, feel like we have every reason and right to raise hades over what’s wrong, who wronged us, and how it should be remedied. How has that worked out for you?
Instead, this was Esther’s approach:
4 And Esther said, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.”
“If it pleases the king was really protocol, but she still showed respect to the one that allowed the decree to go out. But the next part is something we should all take notes on. She offered to serve rather than ask first. No, she wasn’t the one in kitchen whipping up some collard greens, beans, potatoes..... but the gesture was one that said, let me host you, and show just how important I think you are.
I probably lost a few people on this one. Hold up! Why should I serve someone that’s out to get me?!? I don’t know, maybe because God said so. Jesus reiterated it in how He lived and in words.
25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus was getting on two of His disciples for allowing their own pride get in their way. What He’s saying is that the path to greatness isn’t in arrogance and power, but in service and humility.
If that wasn’t clear enough, God explicitly lays it out:
1 And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”
Why do we still show respect to those that disrespect us, and love to those that hate us? Because God loved us enough to pursue us, even when we abandoned Him, and cheated on Him. If He can extend that level of grace, who are we that we wouldn’t?
But I hope you also hear that while grace and love abound in the first verse I just read, Hosea ultimately gets down to laying things on the table. “Hey woman....” No, I’m playing...
3 And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”
Esther does the same thing here. She first extends respect, grace, and honor to the ones that wronged her.
The king asks what she wants - he knew it had to be something important that she’d risk her life coming to him unannounced. She says let me serve you first. He asks again, “he baby, what’s up? What can I do for you?” Again, she’s like, “if it pleases you, I’d like to serve you two again,
7 Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: 8 If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to the feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”
This stuff works, y’all. And it’s biblical!
Men, tell your wives, “if it pleases the queen of this house, and I’ve found favor in your sight, please allow me to wash the dishes, rub your feet, and give you a massage, and then I’ll make my petition known to you.”
Women, tell your husbands, “if it pleases the king of this house, and I’ve found favor in your eyes, please allow me to cook your favorite meals and be your desert for the next 180 days, and then I’ll ask for...”
Children, I’m telling you, it works! “Mom, dad, king and queen of this abode, if it pleases you, and I’ve found favor in your eyes, let us first clean the house, take out the trash, and make straight A’s all the way through grad school, and then I’ll make my request known to you.”
Or how about, “supervisor, sure, I’ll help out and work that shift for you (even though I got passed over for a raise).
Or, even though you did nothing wrong, “hello officer… sure officer… no problem officer… God bless you… be safe out there… etc”
Now let’s juxtapose this with Haman. Haman loved all the respect and honor he recieved because of his status in the kingdom. Remember, he’s the number two in the region. Heck, even without the title, he probably still believed he deserved all the praise. Now, he’s being invited to a private party by the queen with the king!
He has it going on right now! He’s the number two in the land. People are bowing to him when he passes by or enters a room, and now he’s invited to a private dinner with the king and queen. Not once, but twice!!! Can’t get any better than this... But pride....
See, as he’s leaving the palace after receiving the second invitation, he sees Mordecai at the gates, and once again, Mordecai’s not bowing. This made him upset, to the highest level of upset-tivity! Do you not know who I am?!! You gonna just disrespect me in front of my friends and them?!! He was ready to jump on him, y’all!
But he bible says:
10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and brought his friends and his wife Zeresh.
Then called some “yes” folks to remind him how great he is, and get some sympathy over the fact that not everyone recognized this. I mean he was tweeting up a storm! Taking away security clearances and everything!
His wife and friends come over and he begins playing his greatest hits. He had the greatest electoral victory in history! His crowds were the largest EVER! His hands are really big! No, seriously, read it for yourselves:
11 And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. 12 Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king.
But even with all this success in life, it wasn’t enough. Cause everyone wouldn’t kiss the ring…
13 Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”
There’s an old story that goes like this.
Someone asked this incredibly rich man when he would have enough money. He replied, “When I have just a little bit more.” This old man must be related to Haman.
Can I say, pride will have you completely forgetting about all the blessings in your life, because of something petty. And when that happens, there’s a price to be paid for it. We’ll see, shortly.
Anyway, that pride has he and his family coming up with the plan to have this huge spike made to impale Mordecai on, and he couldn’t wait until the next morning to ask the king’s permission to do it before the next private feast.
He’ll soon learn that pride comes before the fall, and humility would win this day.
Remember how unique this book is relative to the entire Bible. Not one mention of God, but evidence of Him working behind the scenes is all over the place.
Chapter 6 opens up with the king having a restless night - coincidence? He needs someone to read something to put him asleep.
1 On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. 2 And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 3 And the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king’s young men who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”
If you recall Mordecai did the right thing, but didn’t reap any reward at that time. It’s because we’re told that the reaping would happen at the “right time.” That’s God’s ordained timing.
So now the king is like, we gotta do something for this man who saved my life.
Haman gets to the palace early so he can ask permission to kill Mordecai. The king let’s him in, and let’s read this. I love this part!
6 So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” 7 And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, 8 let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set. 9 And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’ ”
I’m sorry, this is just too funny! Haman, always full of pride and arrogance, thinks the king wants to bestow even more honor on him, because, like who else could he be talking about?
10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.”
I can’t help but thing about David’s psalm:
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
On a macro level, I want to let you know that it doesn’t really matter what they try to do from 1600 PA. I don’t care what laws and regulations are being skirted or implemented, God rules the day! And his children, who stand in humility, will reap that benefit, at His appointed time. Stay patient.
Mordecai never cried about not getting his just dues when he saved the king’s life. He just kept doing what was right.
Wrapping up, we get to the feast in chapter 7, and it’s here where Esther finally makes her petition know. I love she’s strategic in this (though some may say this was self-preservation, lol):
3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. 4 For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.”
She’s like, save me… that’s my wish, and save my people is my request. She was smart to use the fact that the king favored her to set up the request for the sparing of her people second.
Then, she passively states how they’ve been done wrong. She doesn’t call him out on it. YOU allowed this decree to go out. Now I need you to undo it!” No..
She simply laid out that it’s been allowed to happen. I’m sorry, as true as it may be, calling out your boss that they’re bigoted or sexist may not be the best way to get favor at the work place. It may very well be true! There’s a way to lay out the wrong that’s occuring without pointing fingers at them.
Once she lays out the transgression, he’s like, “What! Who did it! Whooooo did it. Point em out!!!” That’s when she tells him it was Haman.
Ultimately, Haman is killed on his own spike that he had built for Mordecai. Another of David’s psalms comes to mind
2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
Now, let’s understand this. Esther, when she had the platform, was willing to stand. She displayed humility in her standing. And when the opportunity presented itself, she simply laid out the facts and made her petition known. She did not seek vengeance during this ask. God is our ultimate judge! You don’t need to seek punishments for your transgressors, just that a wrong be made right. Leave the rest to God.
7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Esther didn’t condemn Haman, but exposed his crime. Haman condemned himself by his own actions.
We should work to expose wrong, while at the same time trusting that ultimate justice is at the hands of our sovereign God.
I don’t know about all the injustices in your life, that you’ve had to deal with. But I can speak to a universal one. There are over 5.2 billion people that are walking around committing eternal atrocities on themselves, lying to themselves, thinking that they’re good enough to go to heaven. None of us are!
If you don’t stand for anything else, please stand up to help people know that there’s one - and only one remedy to our imperfect lives. His name is Jesus. You want to talk about someone who not only stood, but stood in humility for us…
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Maybe you’re one walking around like this. Stand up for yourself right now. Come up, and accept Jesus as your lord and savior. Let him right your wrong.