Esther, The Hidden Hand of God, part 4
When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry.
Mordecai’s grief is intense and loud. Grief makes people who aren’t grieving uncomfortable. Especially when it is like this. Sackcloth and ashes is an outward sign that someone is grieving, or repenting.
When there is a loss, people need to grieve. Don’t ever say, “Well, they should be over it by now.” That is spoken by someone who hasn’t grieved, or denies the true feelings of grief.
He went as far as the front of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth.
And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
This great grief is expressed by Jewish people in the entire Persian Empire, which stretched from India to Ethiopia.
So Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed. Then she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept them.
Then Esther called Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs whom he had appointed to attend her, and she gave him a command concerning Mordecai, to learn what and why this was.
Hathach means: Gift; Truth; Why will you smite
Hathach: Hatach (ha’-tak) = Gift; a gift. Why will you smite. [Exhaustive Dict. of Bib. Names]
Chuck Missler says his name means: Truth
Hathach is the eunuch who becomes the intermediary between Esther and Mordecai. He must report exactly what he is told by either one, so the other person knows precisely what was said.
Esther sends Hathach out with clothes. I don’t think she is trying to stop Mordecai’s grief. She wants him to speak to her face to face and he cannot do that dressed in sackcloth and ashes.
Now Hathach returns to find out the reason for Mordecai’s weeping and wailing. We’ll see in verses 6-9 what happens.
So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square that was in front of the king’s gate.
And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews.
He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people.
So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
Mordecai sends Esther a copy of the King’s decree to have every Jewish person killed: Every Man; Every Woman; Every Child in the entire Persian Empire.
Though not stated directly in these verses, we know in the next verse that Mordecai has either told Esther to go before the King, or, he has implied that she must go before the King to intercede for her people.
Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai:
“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.”
So they told Mordecai Esther’s words.
We can see Ether’s reluctance to go before the King. She reminds Mordecai that she hasn’t been before the king in a month. She reminds Mordecai that if she does go before the King and he refuses to admit her, she will be killed.
I wan’t to share with you something that happened last week, which reveals a principle in this situation.
Gretchen has not been doing well lately. I got to see that first hand. Jeff & Jackie were trying to help her get into a treatment facility for eating disorders.
However, the way was blocked by one center, and Gretchen was convinced the only other option would refuse her entry as well.
I reminded Gretchen that God is in charge and could enable the people reviewing her paperwork, to see what God wanted them to see. Gretchen was convinced due to prior experience that because of certain factors they would refuse her. She stubbornly held to that position.
I told Gretchen the story from Cory Ten Boom’s life. As many of you know, Corey Ten Boom and her family hid Jewish people from the Nazi’s in the Netherlands in WWII.
Corey and her family were arrested and sent to a concentration camp. As Corey and her sister Betsy were entering the camp, they had to abandon their clothes, shower and get concentration camp clothing.
Corey and Betsy were strong Christians and they desperately wanted to bring their Bible, but how could they with no clothing to hide it in. They prayed that God would allow them to bring His Word into the camp.
Just when they came to the place where the guards would check them for smuggling anything in, a fight broke out between other women entering. The guards were distracted and the Bible safely came with Corey and Betsy into the camp.
It looked impossible. Any rational person would have said it will never happen, yet God made a way for the Bible. God made a way for Gretchen who is not in a treatment center, and we will soon see that God will make a way for Esther.
The last obstacle is Ether herself.
And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.
We see in this verse just how well Mordecai knows Esther. He knows that she will be thinking she can continue to hide that she is Jewish, hoping her life will be spared. Mordecai assures her that her being Jewish will be discovered and even being Queen, won’t be enough to protect her.
For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
“Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
This is one of the best known quotes from the Old Testament. At some point in your life you may realize this applies to you too.
15 years ago, this congregation faced a denomination of power and strength of membership over 5 million, that is known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, ELCA.
The people who formed this congregation, knew that the teachings of the ELCA were against the Bible. The ELCA’s medical insurance, was, and still is paying for abortions for church workers covered by their insurance.
They had abandoned the teaching that the Bible is God’s Word from cover to cover.
They were ordaining gay and lesbian pastors, long before they had approved it as a denomination. Either way this congregation held to the Biblical teaching that this is wrong.
You, the people who formed this congregation stood for God’s Word, for God’s Truth and for God’s Way.
You came to your own, “For Such A Time As This!”
You tried to vote out of the ELCA, and lost the vote. God knew it would happen, and God has continued to lead you since then.
No, it has not gone the way you expected. You sacrificed a tremendous amount in walking away from what you had known and been a part of for so long.
However, God has not abandoned you. God has not forsaken you. He has continued to lead, guide and provide you with His grace, mercy, and loving guidance.
Yesterday Paige Rohrer was baptized, today you witnessed the confirmation of her faith in Jesus.
God is working in her life. Who knows where and how he will lead her. Perhaps Paige will come to a similar situation. Perhaps she will have to make a decision to follow God and His Word in a very public way. Perhaps this decision will be a very difficult one because it may come at the price of costly sacrifice.
Perhaps, Paige, perhaps every one of you, will come to YOUR OWN, “FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS!”
Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai:
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
Here we can see spiritual maturity in Esther. She is calling for every Jewish person in Shushan to fast for three days. This is a total fast, nothing for 3 days.
I have fasted for 3 days once in my life. I still drank water. It was very difficult.
What do believers do during meal times instead of eating? they spend time in prayer, read God’s Word, Sing praises to God.
Even though the text doesn’t say the Jewish people in Shushan prayed, or read Scripture, or worshipped God, I think they must have.
The three days is significant too. Chuck Missler reminds us when Jesus gave this response to His attackers:
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
We also know from Genesis 22 that when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, it was a period of three days that Abraham considered Isaac as dead to him, until God stopped his hand, just before he sacrificed his only son, Isaac.
This is confirmed in:
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,”
concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
The Jewish people earnestly seek God’s will. This is their only hope, as the King’s will is clear. Every Jewish person must die.
So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.
Are you seeking God’s will in your life? We prayed these words earlier today during communion.
“Thy Will Be Done,” Four of the Most Important Words You can Pray!
The world around us is becoming darker. Are you standing for God’s Light? God’s Truth , God’s Mercy; God’s Love?
Many here have come to their own time of testing. Many here may again in the future come to other situations when they will stand:
“For Such A Time As This!”
Please know that whenever this happens, God is with you! God will lead you! God will provide for you! It may not turn out the way you hope, but it God’s hands it will turn out according His Will!
Amen! Now may the shalom of God which passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen!