These are notes on the sermon, Where Is God In The Midst Of Your Trouble?, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Wednesday, 25 April 2018, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Facing a rough patch in your life and wondering if God has left you? Or maybe you’re positive He already has because these very troubles are of your own making.
But see from the story of Esther how God masterfully works behind the scenes to save His people, even when they’ve become captives with a death sentence over their heads because of their rebellion against Him.
We hope these notes will help you:
Beloved, all is not lost. God is turning your trouble around, and causing you to emerge victorious and honored!
Pastor Prince thanks the people for taking time to come for service and seek the Lord’s face.
He shares about how as long as King Uzziah in the Bible sought the Lord, God made him prosper (see 2 Chron. 26:5).
So shall it be for us—seeking the Lord is the greatest thing we can ever do.
What’s sad about Uzziah was that he didn’t continue to seek the Lord. The Bible says that he became proud, his heart was lifted up to his destruction. He then became a leper for the rest of his life (see 2 Chron. 26:16, 21).
Pastor Prince shares how there is something about worship that reminds us that God is sovereign, that He rules in all the affairs of men. It is God who exalts one person and puts down another.
“For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.”
—Psalm 75:6–7 KJV
Notice how it doesn’t say that promotion doesn’t come from the north? Because it does.
Pastor Prince tells us, “So just lay aside your worries and cares and just look to the Lord. Say, ‘Lord I’m seeking you, Lord. I love you Lord.’”
He leads us in a time of worship and ministry.
Pastor prays for God to release His healing by the power of the Holy Spirit. He encourages us that we don’t need human hands to touch us—the Lord can release His healing touch wherever we are.
Pastor prays for people with:
He encourages the people who received their healing to wave, and shares that when they testify of their healing, they keep it.
He also encourages us that the Lord is not finished with healing people yet. If we’ve been diagnosed with conditions, He can heal us right where we are, even as the Word goes forth.
There is something about carrying a physical copy of the Bible. If anyone asks you what it is, tell them it’s a manufacturer’s handbook. A book for success in every area of your life.
We’re going deeper into the Word tonight.
Have things been going wrong in your life, leaving you wondering where God has been?
Maybe you’ve had a bad diagnosis from the doctor or a problem in your family, and you’re wondering, “Where is the blessing that God promised us? Where is that breakthrough that I prayed for?”
God is positioning things in place, and He’ll deliver you at the right time. He didn’t deliver the Israelites when they were going toward the Red Sea, but He opened up the Red Sea just in time when they were right in front of it and cried out to Him (see Exo. 14:10).
Many times, we only praise and thank God for His protection, deliverance, and help that we’re aware of. But the truth is, He could’ve protected you from an accident, maybe yesterday. He could’ve protected you from the devil’s schemes for you to die last year. Or an angel of the Lord cut short a disease that the devil sent your way.
But tonight, we’re going to see how God works behind the scenes in the story of Esther in the Bible.
In the story, King Xerxes (Ahasuerus in Hebrew) held a beauty contest to find a new queen to replace Queen Vashti, whom he deposed when she refused to come and show her beauty to the people at his command. While there many beautiful women in the land, including Esther, it was the favor Esther obtained which made her queen (Est. 2:15).
Pastor Prince shares about how a young man who used to fail his exams took up his leader’s challenge to memorize the entire book of Proverbs, and scored straight As after that.
Whatever profession you are in—whether you’re a student, taking care of children, a teacher, lawyer, or doctor, when you spend time in God’s Word, you touch the power to prosper you. Time and time again, God told Joshua in the Bible when his previous leader Moses just died and he had a big pair of shoes to fill: “Meditate on My Word, you’ll make your way prosperous (tsaleach in Hebrew), and then you will have good success.” (see Josh. 1:8)
Good success doesn’t take you away from your family. It’s success in every area of your life.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.”
—Psalm 1:2–3 NKJV
When you meditate on God’s Word day and night, whatever you do shall prosper. Prosperity doesn’t just refer to you having wealth, but also health and renewal of youth like the eagles (“whose leaf also shall not wither”).
The world might say that our bodies decay with age, but God’s Word says that “as your days, so shall your strength be.” (Deut. 33:25) God’s ways are opposite to the world.
Don’t just listen to the news and experts who say things based on their five senses, studies, and background. Spend time in God’s Word and get a different vision for your life. His Word will cleanse your mind, and cause you not to accept the things of the world so easily.
“My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.”
—Prov. 4:20–22 NKJV
“Health to all their flesh” — God’s Word isn’t like medication which resolves one condition but causes side effects in another area. It’s health to all your flesh.
You can see the faces of people shine and their eyes sparkle when they study the Bible. But when you don’t spend time in the Word, life just gets mundane. You become natural.
Pastor encourages us to expect to leave healthier, stronger, and more prosperous by the end of the sermon, because we’re touching the Word.
Even when we don’t understand or retain all of God’s Word, it has a cleansing, reviving, rejuvenating, and health-giving effect on us. Just like the story of how a farmer once sent his son to get some water from the river (which represents the Word) in a rattan basket (which represents our minds), which inevitably leaked—but the basket was so clean after that.
The name of God is not mentioned once in the book of Esther.
But one of His names in Hebrew, Yahweh (which speaks of relationship, the covenant-keeping God) appears four times in acrostic (see slide 1). Note that Hebrew reads from right to left.
Two times, the acrostic appears normally, which represents how God is ruling directly, while the other two times, the acrostic appears in reverse, speaking of how God is overruling circumstances for the good of His people.
An example of an acrostic is G.R.A.C.E — God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
And each time, the Yahweh acrostic appears at a pivotal, game-changing point in the book of Esther. These are not so much miracles, as they are supernaturally natural turning points. God’s name, “I Am” (Ehyeh in Hebrew) also appears in acrostic once.
The book of Esther is not so much a book of miracles as it is a book of provision, where God shows himself as a God of providence.
The word ‘providence’ comes from an old Latin word, provideo:
You don’t have to be afraid that life will take you by surprise.
An example of the Yahweh acrostic is also found in Psalm 96:11 (see slide 3).
“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;”— Psalm 96:11 NKJV
The acrostic shows that it’s only with the Lord that the heavens can rejoice, and the earth (us and our situations) can be glad.
And just as God was working behind the scenes for His people’s good in the book of Esther, He is doing the same for you today.
During this time, Israel wasn’t in the place where God wanted them to be.
They were in captivity, having worshipped other gods and killed the prophets that God sent.
So the times of the Gentiles (as spoken about in Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2:31–45) started, and has continued till today.
This time will continue until a revived Roman empire in Europe arises, and from here the anti-Christ will come, giving false peace, but actually annihilating Jews and Christians.
But we as believers will have been raptured.
It’s just like God to prepare His people beforehand, just like how He forewarned His people to “flee to the mountains” when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies, which happened in AD70. As a result, the moment the Christians saw that the siege was laid, they fled and not a single believer died.
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.”— Luke 21:20–21 NKJV
The main characters in the story:
“Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia), in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the citadel, that in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants—the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him—when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all.”
— Esther 1:1–4 NKJV
“reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia” — This was a wide compass of land. King Ahasuerus was the ruling power of that day.
“Shushan the citadel” — This, modern-day Susa in Iran, is where the story of Esther takes place.
After the 180-day feast, King Ahasuerus also held another feast for all the people in Shushan, which lasted seven days.
On the last day, he commanded seven of his eunuchs to bring Queen Vashti before him, “ wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold.” But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him. (Est. 1:11–12)
“As such, when King Ahasuerus asked his closest wise men what should be done to Queen Vashti, one of them (Memucan) said: “If it pleases the king, let a royal decree go out from him, and let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it will not be altered, that Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. When the king’s decree which he will make is proclaimed throughout all his empire (for it is great), all wives will honor their husbands, both great and small.” And the reply pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan.”
— Esther 1:19–21 NKJV
“another who is better than she” — this refers to Esther.
“all wives will honor” (Est. 1:20) — this is where the first Yahweh acrostic appears in reverse, a picture of how God is overruling (see slide 8). He’s deposing Queen Vashti and putting Esther in her place, empowering Esther with a position of authority to help her people later in the story.
Now, King Ahasuerus wanted to find a new queen. Upon his servants’ suggestion, beautiful young virgins from all of his kingdom’s provinces were gathered to Shushan. Beauty preparations would be given them, and one young woman who pleased him would become queen in Vashti’s place. This woman was none other than Esther.
“Now when the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her. So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king made a great feast, the Feast of Esther, for all his officials and servants; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the generosity of a king.”
—Esther 2:15–18 NKJV
“Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her”, “she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins” — Even though Esther was lovely and beautiful (Esther 2:7), so were the other women. What truly made Esther stand out and eventually become Queen was God’s favor. The Holy Spirit emphasises it twice to bring home the point.
Put your faith in God’s grace and favor, and you’ll go places. If you’re the new kid on the block. God’s favor will make the difference. And if you have smarts, education, a good background, thank God for all that but don’t depend on it.
The drama intensifies. In Esther 3, we are introduced to an evil man, Haman—who is a type of the anti-Christ to come. Haman is from the tribe of the Amalekites, who hate Israel.
When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, the Amalekites would kill children, the elderly, and those who were tiredly straggling behind. And God says to Israel, never tolerate the Amalekites (see Deut. 25:17–19).
King Saul didn’t kill the Amalekites when he was told to. Eventually, it was an Amalekite that killed him when he was on the Mountain of Gilboa (see 2 Sam. 1:6–10).
The Amalekites are a picture of our flesh today.
Amal in Hebrew means to labor hard, to labor with pain. It speaks of fleshly effort and anxiously feeling like everything’s up to you—“If I don’t do anything, nothing will happen.” But if you don’t kill this fleshly effort, it will rob you of your peace of mind, cause sickness and stress, and eventually kill you.
Despite being an Amalekite and not even a Persian, Haman rose through the ranks to become King Ahasuerus’s right-hand man (Est. 3:1). So Haman became very proud, and was very angry when Mordecai would not bow or pay homage to him:
“When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai. In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, the lot), before Haman to determine the day and the month, until it fell on the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.”
— Esther 3:5–7 NKJV
“bow or pay him homage” — This wasn’t just a courtesy bow; Haman literally wanted Mordecai to worship him. So Mordecai refused. He would have no other gods before the one true God.
“Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus” — Haman was a truly evil man. He hated the Jews, and wanted to destroy them all. He told King Ahasuerus that the Jews were not keeping his laws, and successfully suggested to the King to kill all of them.
“they cast Pur (that is, the lot), before Haman to determine the day and the month” — “Pur” is where we get the Hebrew word “Purim”. Till today, the Jewish people celebrate Purim annually as the victory over Haman (as we will see later), and how God preserved His people.
Maybe people who you feel didn’t deserve a promotion got one, while you’ve been retrenched. But trust that God has something better for you. He could be protecting you from something bad in that company’s future.
Have faith that you have favor with God, and you’ll know to give Him the praise and glory when your breakthrough comes.
But if you’re just living naturally with your five senses, you won’t see it even when God does something for you. Without faith, it’s impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).
“Then the king’s scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and a decree was written according to all that Haman commanded—to the king’s satraps, to the governors who were over each province, to the officials of all people, to every province according to its script, and to every people in their language. In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king’s signet ring. And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions.”
— Esther 3:12–13 NKJV
“In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king’s signet ring” — In those days, once the King makes a law, no one can change it, not even himself. So the death sentence upon the Jews was sealed.
“on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month” — This was the day where the Jews would be annihilated and their possessions plundered, and one of the possible origins of Friday the 13th as an inauspicious day.
During this time, another Persian king (King Cyrus), King Ahasuerus’ predecessor, had actually made a decree that allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:1). But these Jews (e.g. Ezra, Nehemiah) would be destroyed too, because Judea was also under the kingdom of Persia.
But long before that happened, God positioned Esther in the palace to save His people.
Just like how he used small things like a crying baby to change the entire destiny of a nation. Who would have expected Pharaoh’s daughter to have compassion on baby Moses, instead of kill him like her father had ordered? (Exo. 1:22, Exo. 2:5–6). And it was Moses who led the Israelites out of slavery.
Just like how God worked with Queen Vashti’s temper to turn things in His people’s favor.
“Surely the wrath of man shall praise You;
With the remainder of wrath You shall gird Yourself.”
— Psalm 76:10 NKJV
Even if we are angry towards God, or others are angry toward us as God’s children, God can use their wrath to praise Him, and the remainder of it to clothe Himself.
Don’t just look for big demonstrations from God, and miss out on the small things He’s doing to change things in your favor.
When Mordecai heard of the decree against the Jews, He tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and sent a message to Esther:
““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?”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!”So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.”
— Esther 4:14–17 NKJV
“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place [...] Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” — If God allows you to be used in doing something, consider it a privilege because He’s positioning you to get blessed. Help will still come from somewhere else if you don’t want to do the job.
When Jesus borrowed Peter’s boat (out of all the other boats on the Sea of Galilee) to preach (see Luke 5:3), it was technically wasted time for the fisherman. Peter could’ve used his boat to go fishing in that time. But the Lord gave Peter a net-breaking, boat-sinking load of fishes, when previously Peter had toiled all night and caught nothing (see Luke 5:5–6).
“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
—Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
While we as believers are all saved by grace through faith, God does give us a special grace to do certain things—and it’ll be in vain if we don’t use it.
Don’t say no to God, and watch someone else enjoy the anointing, calling, and blessing that could’ve been yours.
The situation’s getting desperate.
Esther is going to see King Ahasuerus uninvited, which is against the law then. The King must extend his golden scepter to her, or she will die. Let’s follow the story:
“Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, across from the king’s house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house. So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.And the king said to her, “What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!”So Esther answered, “If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, that he may do as Esther has said.” So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Esther had prepared.At the banquet of wine the king said to Esther, “What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”
Then Esther answered and said, “My petition and request is this: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”So Haman went out that day joyful and with a glad heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, and that he did not stand or tremble before him, he was filled with indignation against Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. Then Haman told them of his great riches, the multitude of his children, everything in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and servants of the king.Moreover Haman said, “Besides, Queen Esther invited no one but me to come in with the king to the banquet that she prepared; and tomorrow I am again invited by her, along with the king. Yet all this avails me nothing, 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 be made, fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.”And the thing pleased Haman; so he had the gallows made.”—Esther 5:1–14 NKJV
“she found favor in his sight” (Est. 5:2) — Again, favor is mentioned, which saved Esther’s life.
“let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him” (Est. 5:4) — Esther was wise. She didn’t present her request for the King to save her people immediately, but focused on satisfying his stomach first.
“let the king and Haman come” (Est. 5:4) — This is where the second Yahweh acrostic appears, this time forwards because God is ruling directly, using Esther to save His people (see slide 22).
“let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said” (Est. 5:8) — Esther organizes another banquet. She was operating in wisdom and creating suspense, and this was the banquet that changed everything.
“Then Haman told them of his great riches, the multitude of his children, everything in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and servants of the king. Moreover Haman said, “Besides, Queen Esther invited no one but me to come in with the king to the banquet that she prepared; and tomorrow I am again invited by her, along with the king.” (Est. 5:11–12) — Haman was very happy to be the sole guest, besides the King, at Queen Esther’s second banquet. He was boasting to his wife and friends.
“Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” (Est. 5:13) — Despite all that, Haman was still filled with indignation against Mordecai. We see the third Yahweh acrostic appearing, in reverse this time, in “Yet all this avails me nothing” (see slide 28). God is overruling this time, making the wrath of man (Haman) to praise Him, as we’ll see in the next verse.
Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows be made, fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.” (Est. 5:14) — Haman heeded his wife and friends’ suggestion, and had the gallows made for Mordecai. Had he forgiven Mordecai, Haman would not have ended up hanging on those very gallows.
So whatever people are doing against you—maybe the devil seems to be making inroads into your life—God will cause to praise Him.
As King David said, “He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:19 AMPC)
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”— Psalm 23:4 “through” - You might not bypass the valley, but God will lead you through the valley.
“That night the king could not sleep. So one was commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king. And it was found written that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, the doorkeepers who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. Then the king said, “What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?”And the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”
So the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to suggest that the king hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.The king’s servants said to him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.”
And the king said, “Let him come in.”
So Haman came in, and the king asked him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?”
Now Haman thought in his heart, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman answered the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal crest placed on its head. Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor. Then parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’ ”Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken.”
So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”
Afterward Mordecai went back to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.”While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs came, and hastened to bring Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.”
— Esther 6:1–14
“That night the king could not sleep” — God uses the simplest things—a sleepless night in this case—to make the king realize how Mordecai had actually saved his life from two doorkeepers, Bigthana and Teresh, who’d plotted to kill him. And Mordecai had not been rewarded for it.
“Now Haman thought in his heart, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” And Haman answered the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal crest placed on its head. Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor. Then parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’ ”Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken.””(Esther 6:7–10) — That morning, Haman was actually there to suggest that Mordecai be hung on the gallows—but ended up recommending Mordecai’s reward for his good deed, and executing the reward himself.
“Do so for Mordecai the Jew...” (Est. 6:10) — Even the words “the Jew” is there.
You might be retrenched or jobless. Or someone might have dumped you. But don’t be discouraged. That person might have been dragging you down, and God is setting you free to go higher where He wants you. Your day of victory is coming!
“his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.” (Est. 6:13) — Haman’s wise men and his wife were really not helpful too.
“So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther. And on the second day, at the banquet of wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”
Then Queen Esther answered and said, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. Had we been sold as male and female slaves, I would have held my tongue, although the enemy could never compensate for the king’s loss.”
So King Ahasuerus answered and said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing?”
And Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!”
So Haman was terrified before the king and queen. Then the king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stood before Queen Esther, pleading for his life, for he saw that evil was determined against him by the king. When the king returned from the palace garden to the place of the banquet of wine, Haman had fallen across the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, “Will he also assault the queen while I am in the house?”
As the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Now Harbonah, one of the eunuchs, said to the king, “Look! The gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai, who spoke good on the king’s behalf, is standing at the house of Haman.”
Then the king said, “Hang him on it!”
So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s wrath subsided.”
If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated.” — Again, favor is emphasized here. This is also the first time King Ahasuerus realizes that Esther was a Jew, and that he’d made a decree against her and her people. Mordecai had told her not to reveal it previously (Est. 2:10).
“Haman stood before Queen Esther, pleading for his life, for he saw that evil was determined against him by the king.” (Est. 7:7) — Haman was terrified when Esther revealed that he was behind the decree to annihilate the Jews. Here in “evil was determined”, we find the last Yahweh acrostic (forwards), as seen in slide 44. God made the evil Haman had planned for the Jews come back upon him. Haman was hung on the very gallows he’d built for Mordecai.
“Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” —Luke 6:28 KJV
That’s why we need to pray for people who despitefully use us. Realize that anyone who tries to harm you touches the apple of God’s eye (Zech. 2:8).
Another one of God’s names, “I AM”, also appears in the story as seen below:
So King Ahasuerus answered and said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing?” (Est. 7:5) — God’s name, “I AM” (Ehyeh in Hebrew), appears in acrostic in the words “Who is he, and where is he…” (see slide 41).
It’s the same word used when God appeared to Moses in a burning bush:
“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’”— Exodus 3:14
It is also used when Jesus said, “I am the good Shepherd,” “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” It’s also used when Jesus said, “I Am,” and the soldiers who’d come to arrest Him fell at His feet.
Back to the story of Esther:
“On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. So the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai; and Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman.
Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews. And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king, and said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?”
Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews. You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke.””
“Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman” — Mordecai took Haman’s place.
“You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke” — King Ahasuerus allowed Mordecai to write a new decree concerning the Jews as he pleased in the king’s name.
“By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives—to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions, on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.”
— Esther 8:11–12
The above was Mordecai’s new decree, sealing the freedom of the Jews.
“So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor. And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.”
“And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday.” — This is the Feast of Purim, two days of celebration for the Jewish people.
“Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them.” —The Jews had such favor. God turned the entire situation around.
God’s name doesn’t appear openly in the book of Esther, because the Israelites had rejected Him.
“Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then God said:
“Call his name Lo-Ammi,
For you are not My people,
And I will not be your God.””
It was a period of Lo-ammi (one of the names of prophet Hosea’s sons, and Hebrew for “not my people”).
“And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them,
I will see what their end will be,
For they are a perverse generation,
Children in whom is no faith.”
“I will hide My face” — Even though God said that He would hide His face from His people, He could not stop being compassionate to them.
While God couldn’t acknowledge His rebellious people openly, He was working behind the scenes to protect, preserve, and bless them.
And we are in even better times today, because unlike the Israelites who were under the law in the Old Testament, Jesus has died on the cross for us.
Today, we will always be sons of the living God, with Jesus as our High Priest.
“As He says also in Hosea:
“I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved,
who was not beloved.”
“And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,‘You are not My people,’There they shall be called sons of the living God.””
God is still pursuing Israel in love today.
After Jesus died on the cross, there was another scattering of the nation.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”— Israel will see Jesus again when her people say this.
The Yahweh acrostic also appears in Jesus’ title above His head when He was crucified on the cross for us (see slides 59–61), even when it was simply written, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
That’s why the Pharisees were so adamant about changing it, but God would not allow it.
Yahweh came and lived among us, died as our Savior, rose from the dead to be our High Priest and Shepherd, and is coming back for us.
We see this in Psalm 22–24:
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
This was Jesus on the cross.
“The Lord is my shepherd,” “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…”
—Psalm 23:1, 6
This is our reality today, where Jesus is always with us and for us.
"Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in."
— Psalm 24:7
And this is where Jesus will come back for us believers.
Pastor Prince encourages us that God is our healing, strength, provision—whatever we need Him to be.
We can experience whatever He did for Esther and the Jewish people.
Pastor Prince prays for us:
The Lord bless you with the blessings that He bestowed on Esther, favor and grace. May you obtain favor and grace in the sight of those that God wants you to have favor with. And for those that are not good for you, God close the doors, but open doors of opportunity, doors of friendship, doors of relationships that are great for you, that are good for you. The Lord give you favor to those that really matter. The Lord grant you to be at the right place, at the right time, always. And the Lord grant you that no weapon formed against you, even those that you do not know of, and every tongue spoken, or that is speaking even right now against you, or any attempt or plan of the enemy, of the evil Haman against you, the Lord cause it to fall to the ground and not prosper. The Lord causes everything that you do to prosper, everything you touch. And may your leaf always be green. And the Lord grant you and bless you with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, that when you open up the Scriptures, they will jump out at you, they will talk to you, so that you can touch life, you can touch wisdom, you can touch provision, you can touch health, wholeness, and healing for your body. The Lord grant you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. And may all that you do, think and say, glorify One, Yahweh, Yeshua, Yahweh who saves. In Jesus’ name and all the people said? God bless you.
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2018
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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