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This Isn't Over

Esther  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Get Out The Word

In 1860, three businessmen organized a mail service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. The business was launched with the rather unbelievable promise to deliver mail from Missouri to California in only ten days.
After the Gold Rush brought hundreds of thousands of Americans to the far west, getting the mail between the nation’s coasts became an increasingly important problem. Nothing meant more to people who went west in the 1840s and 1850s than mail from home.
On April 3, 1860, the Pony Express began operations with the first rider leaving St. Joseph, Missouri, and the next day, the first eastbound run left Sacramento, California. The eastern mail was carried over 1,966 miles and delivered in Sacramento on April 13.
The Pony Express had 80 riders in use at any one time, traveling through seven states and using 400 horses, while 400 other employees functioned as station keepers, stock tenders, and route superintendents.
Demands on the riders were stringent: weigh less than 125 pounds; change horses every 10–15 miles; travel 75–100 miles at a stretch; average 10 miles per hour.
To be a Pony Express courier was to be engaged in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, not only because of the endurance and horsemanship required to stay in the saddle but the need to outrun bandits and Indians. Riders were paid a salary of $100–$125 a month for risking their lives to carry the mail across the continent.
At 15 years of age, William (“Buffalo Bill”) Cody was employed as a Pony Express rider; he made the longest non-stop ride from Red Buttes Station to Rocky Ridge Station, Wyoming, and back when he found that his relief rider had been killed. The distance of 322 miles over one of the most dangerous portions of the entire trail was completed in 21 hours and 40 minutes, using 21 horses. That’s unbelievably good time on horseback.
In October 1861, crews strung the final telegraph lines cross-country and joined them in Salt Lake City, Utah, making the Pony Express obsolete. When the last mail run was completed in November 1861, only one delivery had been lost and 34,753 pieces of mail were sent across the continent by those colorful dispatch riders.
I found it interesting that the original Pony Express wasn’t started by cowboys and businessmen in the 1800s but by the Ancient Persians.
The Greek historian Herodotus recorded that the Persian Empire was connected by postal stations every 14 miles.1 In speaking of this ancient postal service, Herodotus marveled:
Nothing travels as fast as these Persian messengers. The entire plan is a Persian invention. Along the whole trail there are men stationed with horses and they will not be hindered from accomplishing at their best speed the distance which they have to travel.2
It was Herodotus’ description of the Persian Pony Express that gave us the famous saying, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”3 While the US Postal Service has no official motto, the popularly held belief is that it does, and that’s because those words are chiseled in gray granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue—the same words that came from Book 8, Paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus.4
While the American Pony Express served, primarily, the upper- and business-class, with each package costing $5 per half-ounce, the Persian Pony Express was used by everyone. In fact, the Persian government relied heavily on this nationwide service to communicate in a kingdom that stretched from modern-day Pakistan to North Africa.
This was the mode of recalling the edict. Salvation has come, but no one knows it yet and the Jews are surrounded, outnumbered and defenseless.
Haman may be dead, but his objective lives on.

Promoted

Esther 8:1–2 KJV 1900
On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews’ enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her. And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
Josephus says the in the Persian Kingdom that felony and treason resulted in the forfeiture of all of your property, houses, possessions, and finances.
This was all taken and given too Esther who immediately turned around and gave it to Mordecai.
So just to recap Haman who hated the Mordecai and the Jews who was second to the king in wealth and power he has fallen and is now hangin from his own gallows and all of his wealth and belongs have been turned over to Esther who gave them to Haman’s mortal enemy. Esther and Mordecai are now second to the king in wealth and position.
Now both the Queen and the prime minister are both Jews.
What appeared no doubt to many in that day to be a series of coincidences were God’s hand in the glove of history .
Esther and Mordecai are certainly feeling safe and secure, but they are still concerned for their people.

Devoted

A farm boy accidentally overturned his wagon-load of corn in the road. The farmer who lived nearby came to investigate. “Hey, Willis,” he called out, “forget your troubles for a spell and come on in and have dinner with us. Then I'll help you get the wagon up.”
“That's mighty nice of you,” Willis answered, “but I don't think Pa would like me to.”
“Aw, come on, son!” the farmer insisted.
“Well, okay,” the boy finally agreed. “But Pa won't like it.”
After a hearty dinner, Willis thanked his host. “I feel a lot better now, but I just know Pa is going to be real upset.”
“Don't be foolish!" exclaimed the neighbor. "By the way, where is he?”
“Under the wagon.”
Esther 8:3–4 KJV 1900
And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king,
Instead of relaxing and celebrating Esther and Mordecai are right back before the king at risk of their own lives to ensure the swift delivery of the revocation of Haman’s edict.
Esther 8:5 KJV 1900
And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king’s provinces:
Esther 8:7–8 KJV 1900
Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.
The king appears to refuse to admit he was wrong and so he tells Esther and Mordecai to write an edict of their own and he would sign it.
While sneaking through the loophole Ahasuerus does something critically important for the Jews.

Permitted

Esther 8:8 KJV 1900
Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.
So Ahasuerus’ solution is for the second edict to override the first edict.
It looks like he is being gracious and allowing Esther to save her people, but he is really saving his own skin. How bad would it be for him to kill his queen because he was negligent in signing Haman’s petition.
Esther 8:11–12 KJV 1900
Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.
Mordecai gives the Jews the right to protect themselves with extreme prejudice and even to take the possessions of those who rise up against them.
So basically the Jews had their lives back, but only if they were willing to take action against the evil intended for them.
Signed, sealed, delivered
Esther 8:14 KJV 1900
So the posts that rode upon mules and camels went out, being hastened and pressed on by the king’s commandment. And the decree was given at Shushan the palace.
All the Persians had to do was keep their greed and animosity in check and all would be well.
This new edict, also, placed the Jews on equal footing with their Persian counterparts. The Jews were now permitted to defend themselves.
Imagine living in Germany, Austria, or Poland just before the Holocaust. You are being ostracized as the great evil in society. You hear whispers in the streets, “They must have been a threat to our government all along. You can’t trust ’em. You know, when you think about it, they’re not even Germans, Austrians, Polish—they’re just foreigners from a land they’ve abandoned. They never really fit in with us or our culture. Frankly, we’ll be better off without them. Hitler makes perfect sense … and the more I think about it, I like that Jew’s house and chariot more than mine.”
Then out of no where the Gestapo rolls into town and announces you have Hitler’s permission to fight back and raise up a local militia.
Esther 8:15–17 KJV 1900
And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
Many people converted some from faith and others from fear no doubt sensing the changing tide.
The Persian Pony Express galloped at full speed across the Arabian Desert, along the banks of the Euphrates River, down into India, and over into Africa, bringing the good news to everyone.8
Once seen as messengers of darkness and death, they were now seen as messengers of light and life.

Protected

This is still not over. The day of the purge must still pass. The Jews though able to defend themselves are still outnumbered.
God is always on the side of the largest army.-Napoleon
If this is true the Jews are in great trouble.
Esther 9:1 KJV 1900
Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)
There were those who still saw the Jews as easy targets… out looking for new homes, property, cattle, or clothing but it doesn’t end well for them.
Napoleon is wrong.
Esther 9:6–10 KJV 1900
And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men. And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha, And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha, And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha, The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand.
Fighting does take place and many Persians are killed most notably Haman’s sons who obviously tried to honor their father’s memory.
God protected His people from those with murderous intentions and He will protect us, as well.
Esther 9:13 KJV 1900
Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.
Esther is immediately back before the King asking for one more day. Obviously she felt that this was not over for some of the Persians perhaps those who were sill loyal to Haman and his sons. Which would explain why she wanted Haman’s sons hung on the gallows, as well.
Esther 9:16 KJV 1900
But the other Jews that were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey,
This seems like a large number except that the population of Persia at that time was around 50 million so this group who still had murderous intent were relatively small. Obviously God had changed more than just the heart of the king.
Three times we are told the Jews did not touch the plunder.
Esther 9:10 KJV 1900
The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand.
Esther 9:15 KJV 1900
For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand.
This was their chance to strike back. They had suffered a year of mental torture and anguish; they had received death threats; they had been attacked by neighbors who now lay dead in and around their homes. To take their possessions wouldn’t be stealing; it wouldn’t be unlawful in any way. Yet the Jews left their enemies’ homes, possessions, and families alone.
Have you ever been ripped off by someone? Have you ever been mistreated by management in your company? Have you ever signed a contract only to find out the guy lied to you?
What would you do if somehow you were able to get back at them without any legal ramifications? What would you do to your enemy if you were offered the chance for revenge?
This was their opportunity to either get revenge or be a testimony.
It’s like the guy who was bitten by a dog… he is rushed to the hospital. Time passes, as both he and the dog are tested. The doctor comes in with the bad news that the dog was rabid and the man is likely to develop rabies. There was no response for a moment and the the guy takes a pad of paper and starts writing feverishly. The doctor thinks he is writing out his last will and testament, and tells him, “Listen, you’re not going to die; there’s a cure for rabies.” The man said, “I know that. I’m just writing out a list of people I want to bite.”
That’s the way it is, right? Don’t get mad … get even. Bite back. Our basest instinct is revenge. You might not use a gun or a sword, but you’ve used a phone call, an email, or a Social Media post.
The Devil know that you are still a victim as long as you retaliate. Bitterness and anger steal your joy and no matter how hard you try you will never find satisfaction in the destruction of your enemies.
Thats why the Devil always whispers in our ear “You have gone above and beyond with this guy… thats enough you deserve to get back at them a little.
It’s almost as their actions were guided by the same author as
Romans 12:17–21 KJV 1900
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
What has life delivered to your door recently?
• bad news
• false accusation
• unkind words
• misfortune
• gossip
• slander
Can you hear the whisper of our adversary, “You don’t deserve this, you have taken this for long enough, it is time to satisfy yourself.”
Follow the example of these Jews. The Persians are watching to see if your really are
1 Peter 2:9 KJV 1900
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
This is much more a story about the fact that the Jews overcame themselves as much as they did their enemies.
The lesson remains:
That when we turn the other cheek God is glorified and the Gospel is advanced.
The world doesn’t understand this principle. Books are written and movies are made all the time which glorify revenge. To truly turn the other cheek after suffering injustice is a concept that blows their minds. But it also makes them look twice at the person who responds without retaliation.
It is your choice as to how you will respond to whatever you are in or whatever is coming tomorrow.
Will you, like those Jews, remind the world that in every circumstance God is worthy of praise and honor … or will you act like the world?
Let’s make it our ambition to demonstrate our commitment to our Savior who has called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.
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