For Such A Time As This

Bible Book: Esther  4
Subject: America; Freedom; Boldness; Courage

As our children and young people return to school, I cannot help but think about our nation and where we are headed. I recently heard interviews of some students, mostly college students, who told how their professors mock the Christian faith. Remember, these teachers are paid by the taxes of Christians all over this nation. Now, understand, I know there are many wonderful Christian teachers in our schools. Some of them are members here in our church. They do all they can to uphold their faith each day. But there is a movement in this nation to remove God, especially any mention of our Savior, from the public square. The students I listened to were basically humiliated if they spoke up for their Savior or their faith.

Something like this happened a long time ago. The Jews were living in Persia, and there was an effort underway to destroy their faith by destroying them. Someone needed to stand up and God had that someone in just the right place. I want us to consider today whether we are taking the stand we should for our faith, and for our wonderful Lord. I am not saying that such a stand is easy, whether we are speaking of the school house, one's job, or even among one's family. Being anti-Christian has become popular. Many people believe that Christians are a narrow minded, redneck, radical, ignorant cult. Few people outside the faith have any knowledge of the Bible, so they do not understand the language used by Christians. There are some who are pushing for it to be considered hate speech for a Christian, outside the church walls, to suggest that a person without Christ is going to hell. So, I am sharing with you that the time is coming, and it has arrived, when we must have the courage, laced with love and kindness, to tell people the truth about the gospel and about our wonderful Savior. Yes, it may be costly to do so, but that is a price we must be willing to pay - if we are going to be faithful to our Lord!

Now, let's look at a woman who lived in Persia a long time ago and the stand she took for the God and God's people. Esther had risen to heights beyond her wildest imagination. Once a foreign captive in the Persian Empire, she had become the queen to the potentate of the realm. This had come about due to a set of unusual circumstances, but largely it had occurred because of the efforts of her cousin, named Mordecai. Both Mordecai and Esther were god-fearing Jews in a foreign land and God had blessed them both.

One day, however, the world upon which they were so happily perched turned upside down and rolled over on Esther and Mordecai. A decree had been granted by the King of Persia that allowed a man named Haman to carry out genocide upon the Jewish inhabitants in the nation. Mordecai was mortified. He calmed himself, thought of his options, no doubt under the direction of the Lord, and called upon Esther for help. That is the story before us. Granted, the entire story is much broader than this, and tonight we shall look at the entire Book of Esther in our evening service; however, in this morning worship I want us to concentrate on how the Jewish people were saved through the actions of a Jewish woman.

A great preacher of a bygone era stated that the Book of Esther has much more to do with patriotism than is does with religion. The fact is the Book of Esther contains much in the realm of faith and patriotism. This book reveals how faith must guide one to be a good and noble patriot. The Saving of a Nation depends upon godly, active patriotism on the part of believers.

Some Christians tend to go overboard on issues related to politics in America. They proclaim America as a Christian nation, and it is true that those who founded this nation did so based on Judeo-Christian biblical principles. In reality, America never was actually a Christian nation. At the time of the first great awakening in America it has been estimated that less than 15% of the people attended church and 70% of men abused alcohol. What was needed then, and what is needed now, is a move of God from above on the hearts of the people. Those of us who are Christians certainly should be involved in politics and above all we must voice our opinions and vote likewise; however, the hope of our nation is for God to move upon us. This requires that God has a person and/or a people who are like Esther. They must be people with courage, boldness and holiness, so that God can speak through us.

Note in our text today three steps to success in the saving of the Jewish people in the days of Esther.

I. The Downward, Selfish Pull of Comfort

When Mordecai became aware of the awful plot and plan to destroy the Jews, he immediately reacted. He tore his clothing and put ashes upon his head as a sign of mourning and sorrow. Some of us feel that way in America today. We see clearly that the government is passing laws and enforcing actions which are directly targeting faithful, bible believing Christians. Listen, dear friends, we will never win a victory over this behavior with laws - it will require some people who mourn, fast, and pray fervently for God to intervene. That is what Mordecai did. He knew the answer had to come from heaven. We can't win our battle with the power of numbers; we must win this battle with a power from heaven.

Esther heard about the situation threatening the Jews and sent Mordecai some new clothes to wear. She wanted him to be presentable. In a way, you can say that Esther was fearful that Mordecai might look like a radical - or, as Deputy Fife used to say on the Andy Griffith show, that guy is "some kind of nut!" We must not judge Esther too harshly, but we also must tell it like it is. It appears that Esther was largely concerned with the appearance of Mordecai rather than with the plight before her people. Sadly, many Christians today are worried more about what people will think of them than about the danger to the Christian faith in our nation.

Mordecai sent word to Esther that something had to be done. What was her response? You would think that she would instantly move into action to avert the horror that was planned against her nation. That is not what she did. In fact, she sought to excuse herself from the task of stepping into harm’s way to protect her fellow citizens. Look at Esther 4:10-11, “Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, `All the king's officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.’"(NIV)

Poor Esther, she had grown cozy in the court of the king and now she did not want to take an action which might jeopardize her comfort zone. This is a danger for all of us. We must be careful about becoming so comfortable in the world that we do not want to take a stand for our Savior when the need arises.

Let me give you an example concerning this that I was part of a number of years ago. I received a call from a notable Baptist figure. He had read an article I had written which revealed that a professor who held to Marxist doctrine and policy was going to be teaching in our of our seminaries. Granted, this was almost forty years ago, but you will get the point as I continue. He had passed the article on to others and an alarm was sounded. The professor in question was an officer officer in the liberal ACLU. I was asked if I knew a member of the Board of Trustees at the seminary. I said that I did and was asked to appeal to the trustee to bring this the attention of the board. I called the trustee and told him the full story. What was his response? He said, “Mike, I would like to help, but if I bring up this in the board meeting it might threaten might influence on the committee.”

I was shocked and stunned by his response. I knew him to be a conservative and good man. I had known this pastor for some years and felt sure he would at least discuss the matter with the president at the seminary or with the board. After all, what influence do you have if you cannot stand for what is right when it concerns the gifts of God-fearing Southern Baptists who provide funds for the seminaries through tithes and offerings?

I ended up calling the president of the seminary myself, even though I did not know him well at all and served in no official capacity. Needless to say, no change took place on this matter till a courageous, Bible-believing Board of Trustees was elected several years later. Thankfully, we don't have that problem in our seminaries today, but I am just pointing out that it is possible to become comfortable in high places. When that happens, one tends to wink at problems and allows evil to continue. I am just pointing out that it is easy to become comfortable in positions next to the king. When you have something to lose by taking a stand, you can talk yourself into believing a lie. That is the powerful, selfish pull of comfort!

The same thing can happen to you in your workplace. It can happen to you in your politics. It can happen to you on ethical and moral matters. When you find yourself with a stance on an issue which is contrary to the popular philosophy of people around you, it can cause you to simply be silent. Please remember what one great American said many years ago, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.”

This can happen to you in your witness. Just look at the example from a number of years ago regarding the news media’s reports on our Southern Baptist Convention’s loving witness to our Jewish friends. They made us look evil, demagogic, and thoughtless. They actually boardered on calling us anti-Semitic. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. We love the nation of Israel. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We love our Jewish neighbors. We simply believe it is the duty of a person who has found something wonderful, life-changing and fulfilling to share it with others. In fact, any person who has the light we have found in Christ, and is silent about it, ought to be charged with a heavenly crime of withholding life from a dying person. But unless you are strong, you will seek the comfort zone and agree with the media; after all, it would make you politically correct in the eyes of the world.

Oh, may God help us as a people to step out of our comfort zones. America is in trouble and every God-fearing, Bible believing child of God knows it. It is important for us to realize that silence on our part, when it comes to the moral morass into which our country has plunged, will make us culpable and an accessory to national murder when America dies. As many professors in state sponsored schools teach atheism to students. we must counteract this. As laws are passed that threaten our very existence, we must act. As we are forced to participate in hiring practices that violate our faith, we must take a stand. We must speak up for our Lord. We must give witness to our faith. We must stand for what is right and just. We must vote for candidates, not based on party politics, but to the best of our ability based on the moral character of the people running for office and our view of the Scriptures we trust and love.

Esther had grown comfortable, and her statement revealed that to be true. She was making excuses in hopes that she might not have to take a stand.

II. The Dramatic, Successful Pressure of Conviction

Thank God for the persistence of Mordecai. He would not let up on the pressure he was applying to Esther. Look at his response to her excuse as recorded in Esther 4:12-14, “When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: `Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?’"

Mordecai reminded Esther that when the death bell tolls, it tolls for each of us. You cannot sit by and watch the collapse of the innocent with the excuse that it may harm you if you try to stop it! Mordecai was telling Esther that the judgment upon the Jews would not pass her by. She, too, would fall victim to decree of death, if she did nothing.

Esther was in danger of touting the “eat me last” philosophy. Think of it like this. A lion comes along in the jungle and approaches three succulent hedge hogs. The lion is hungry and lets out a frightening roar which indicates that it is dinner time and he is about to dine. Just then, one of the hedge hogs speaks up. He says, “Please don’t eat me.” Then another speaks, “Please don’t eat me.” The last one says, “Go ahead, have me for dinner, but not tonight. I will taste even better two days from now. Eat the other two first, just eat me last.”

When others are suffering and you are comfortable, be careful lest you take up the “eat me last” philosophy of our day. You may look at your life and think that the laws being passed and the attacks upon Christianity are not really affecting you. That is not the question. The real question is whether it will eventually affect you, your family, your church - and most importantly, the cause of your Lord!

Mordecai reminded Esther that being chewed up in the jaws of the Persia lion would be no better a month from now than it would today. You had best be careful about letting down your standard in order to keep yourself comfortable. I am convinced that as long as there is Bible preaching in America, and as long as there are devoted praying people on their knees, the dramatic pressure of conviction will bring about a change and lead to success. It certainly did in Esther’s case. I want you to see what Mordecai’s effort wrought.

III. The Dynamic, Spiritual Power of Commitment

Esther sent back a final response to Mordecai. Here we see Esther rising to her full height of faith and fortitude. Look at her response in Esther 4:15-16, “Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: `Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’"(NIV)

Think of the dynamic spiritual power in the face of a noble task when one has a personal commitment to the Lord. Note that Esther did not trust herself. She called for a fast, which is a form of prayer and self-denial. There was no pomp or pride in her decision. There was no self-aggrandizement in her decision. There was simply faith in God and a determination that the cause is worth the cost. A preacher who preached over 100 years ago wrote, “No sweat, no sweet; no pain, no gain; no cross, no crown!”

Esther was not assured of success. She said, “If I perish, I perish!” She was sure she was doing what was required based upon her position. You see, to whom much is given, much is required. You have not come to your station in life just to relax and spend your time and money for indulgence. No! Every good gift comes down from above! You have been blessed with speech that you may speak for the Lord. You have been blessed with earthly gain that you may give to the Lord. You have been blessed with song that you may sing to the Lord. You have been blessed with beauty that you may shine for the Lord. You have been blessed with freedom that you may stand for the Lord!

Only a person who is deluded would say that America is not in trouble. But only a person without faith would say that America is without hope. Each of us has to ask, “What can I do? Can I write my congressperson? Can I contact some company about their policies? Can I run for public office and try to make a real difference? Can I pray more for my leaders and my nation? Can I take a stand when I hear people speak of evil as good and good as evil?”

Surely we can do something. We are citizens of a nation that has deep troubles. Let us rise to the task and do our part, stating as we do, “I will do my duty to God and country, and if I perish, I perish!”

It is better to die in the will of God than to live out of it!


On July 4, 1776, the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the 13 colonies in the Pennsylvania State House. The representatives who attached their signatures to the document knew that the cost would be high.

In his thrilling book “The Rest of the Story,” Paul Harvey calls the roll of those brave men who said, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." The author tells an amazing account of 56 gallant patriots and the awesome sacrifice they made to fulfill this solemn vow. We should always remember what they did to gain our nation's freedom lest we take for granted that precious commodity. Liberty never comes cheap!

Jesus gave all He had for our liberty from sin at Calvary. He calls us to follow Him. Those who are unsaved need to turn to Him in repentance and faith, and you will find the greatest liberty of all. You will discover the forgiveness of sin and the promise of heaven. You will have life in Christ, and that more abundantly.

Those of us who are believers must stand with Jesus – for the truth! The saving our nation may well depend on YOU and on ME!

Will you make a new commitment today to stand whenever and wherever you have the opportunity? Will you pray more earnestly for your country? Will you agree not to rest in your comfort zone while the gospel of our Lord is under attack? Then come today and make that commitment. You can kneel here at the front, or take a seat near the front if you cannot kneel, and cry out to the Lord for our nation. Pray and ask Him to show you what you can do.

Now I am going to offer a brief prayer. As soon as I close this prayer, we are going to stand. As we stand, will you be bold enough to step our for Christ - for the Church - for America? You are here, "For Such A Time As This."