The Saving Of A Nation

Bible Book: Esther  4
Subject: America; Election; Freedom; Esther
Introduction

There has been a secular, worldly, global approach to leading our republic across at least two decades or more. In recent years we have seen the silencing of Christian and conservative ideas across many sectors of our society, especially on college campuses and through the major news networks. There is a defiance against God, the Bible and the Church in many corners of our nation. Is it possible to save a nation on the way to ruin? Yes, there is a way to rescue the people who love God and Esther shows us how.

Esther had risen to heights beyond her wildest imaginations. 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, but God had blessed them both. One day, however, the world upon which they were so happily perched turned upside down. 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, and no doubt under the direction of the Lord, 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. Today 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 it 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. 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. Esther heard about this and sent Mordecai some new clothes to wear. She wanted him to be presentable. We must not judge her 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. Mordecai sent word to her 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 has grown comfortable in the court of the king and now she does 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.

Some years ago I received a call from a notable Baptist figure. He had read an article I had written which revealed Marxist doctrine and policy in an organization, which was going largely uncontested in the Christian community. He had passed the article on to others and an alarm was sounded. You see, a professor at one of our seminaries at the time (this was several years ago, before positive changes brought about the replacement of many unworthy teachers) was an officer in the organization in question. 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 to 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 matter it might threaten my influence on the committee." I was shocked. 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 and just when it concerns the tithes and offerings of God-fearing Southern Baptists who pay all the expenses of the seminaries? 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 until a courageous, Bible-believing Board of Trustees was elected several years later. 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 that 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 for example at the news media's reports on our Southern Baptist Convention's loving witness to our Jewish friends.

They make us look evil, demagogic, and thoughtless. They actually border 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, 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. O, may God help us as a   people to step out of our comfort zones. I believe as we celebrate the birthday of our nation, it is important for us to realize that silence on our part when it comes to the moral morass into which our country has been plunged will make us culpable and an accessory to national murder when America dies. 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. 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: 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?'"(NIV) Mordecai reminded Esther that when the bell of death 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 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 hedgehogs. The lion is hungry and lets out a frightening roar, which indicates that it is dinnertime and he is about to dine. Just then, one of the hedgehogs 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.

Mordecai reminded her that being chewed up in the jaws of the Persia lion would be no better a month from now than it would today. We must be careful that we do not take the position saying, "Look, if gay people want to marry, let them. What does it matter to me?" Dear friend, that is exactly what Lot and his wife said in Sodom and look where it got them. 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, the dramatic pressure of conviction will have to change to bring 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. My maids and I 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) O, the dynamic, spiritual power of personal commitment to the Lord and a noble task. Note that Esther did not trust herself. She called for a fast, which is a form of prayer and self-denial. There is no pomp or pride in her decision. There is no self- aggrandizement in her decision. There is 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.

Conclusion

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 evil for good and good for 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!"

Better to die in the will of God than to live out of it!