Hang-Ups

Hang-Ups

Esther 7

“So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.” vs. 10

Wile E. Coyote

As you are well aware of, I am, a kid at heart. I’m not ashamed to admit it and I enjoy some of the simple things in life. One thing I have always enjoyed are cartoons. I love animation and love to draw cartoon characters and love to watch cartoons when I just need a break and something to just make me smile. One cartoon that always intrigued me was one that included this guy—Wile E. Coyote (show picture).  Of course his big nemesis is (wait)…Roadrunner (show other picture). Wile E Coyote is always trying to catch Roadrunner and he ties every trick in the book.  It’s interesting too because he always orders all his schemes from ACME supply company. ACME means the pinnacle and it is suppose to be the best of the best.  So he orders rockets, TNT, traps, bombs, gun powder, traps, and all kinds of gadgets and tricks and  gizmo’s that are suppose to work and help him catch the Roadrunner.  The problem is…every single plan and scheme and plot that he makes backfires on him. Everything bad he plans to happen to the Roadrunner happens to him instead and he gets blown-up, shot, caught in traps, falls off cliffs, etc. you name it, they always backfire and he gets burned by his own traps.

Today we are gong to look at Esther 7 and how Haman’s plan and scheme back fire on him.

Read Passage – Esther 7

So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther, and as they were drinking wine on that second day, the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted. ” Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.” King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?” Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman.” Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life. Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king exclaimed, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?” As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A gallows seventy-five feet[b] high stands by Haman’s house. He had it made for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.” The king said, “Hang him on it!” 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.

Identifying The Real Enemy

Let’s take a moment to review where we have been in the book of Esther and the story we are talking about today.  The Israelites have been in captivity for about 100 years, first in Babylon and now in Persia. The reigning king is Xerxes and he dismisses his queen because she would not dance for him at a party he had for all his buddies and after a search of all the maidens in the land a woman named Esther is made queen.  She is a Jew who was raised by her cousin Mordecai. Xerxes right hand man is Haman and the king has everyone bowing down to Haman but Mordecai won’t do it. Haman gets tick and his hatred is so deep that he slyly convinces the king to sign a document to execute not just Mordecai but all the Jews which would include Esther but he doesn’t realize that she is a Jew. Mordecai and Esther call for the Jews to fast and pray to God for deliverance. In the meantime, Haman, with the urging of his friends and family, has a gallows 75 feet high built to hang Mordecai. One night when the king couldn’t sleep, he has the records of his reign read to him and realizes Mordecai has never been publicly recognized for saving his life when some attendants plotted to assassinate him. He sets up a parade for Mordecai with Haman’s input and has Haman lead the parade and publicly announce Mordecai’s good will with the king. Haman goes home ashamed while Esther has spent some time preparing a meal for the king and Haman. Enter chapter 7. After dinner, the king says this to Esther in verse 3:

“Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request.“  vs. 3

We should take note of what Esther is doing here.  First this is the third time she has had the king  and Haman to dinner.  She is taking the time to express to the king her love for him and her desire to serve him by spending the time to do the things he likes. She is also trying to please him so that he will be more favorable to her. Then, when she has set the Table (no pun intended), she responds to the kings offer. Now if it were me, I would probably just blurt out “kill Haman because he wants to kill me!” I would want to blame and point the finger right away. How we state our case and the attitude we have are as important as the words we use and choose. She is much more tactful.  First, she pleads for her own life. Then, she pleads for the lives of her people.  She wants the king to understand that her life is in jeopardy and that she is indebted to him because the irony of the story is it is really the king who signed the death order.

I think there is something else going on too.  Getting rid of Haman doesn’t necessarily solve the problem.  The death edict is still out even if Haman dies. Her actions also set the stage for the king to resolve the problem down the line.  Sometimes when we struggle with others, we think getting rid of them will solve the problem but the reality is that our struggles are bigger than people. Let’s look at what the Bible tells us about our problems; Eph. 6:12:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph. 6:12

When we are attacked, it is an attempt to draw us away from God. Satan uses his angels to get us to attribute our problems to people rather than see the bigger picture that as Christians our struggles are against Satan and his angels. I am not saying those against us are Satan’s angels I am just saying he can lure us into focusing on the wrong thing. We need to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Facing Your Crises

That leads us to look at this passage from the angle of: When we face the crises of our lives, what can we do to understand the bigger picture and honor God in our actions.  Let’s look at how Esther handled them.

  1. Turn Your Fear Into Faith

First, fear can be paralyzing and stop us from living victoriously. And let’s face it, it’s not if we have a crisis, it’s when. The crises come and sometimes it’s not just one. We get past one and them another is right around the corner. The first tool we see in Esther is that she turned her fear into faith.  After consulting Mordecai, after fasting and praying, she makes this statement in Esther 4:16:

“I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esth. 4:16

We face all kinds of struggles and some can be (or seem like) life and death situations. We face financial difficulties, health issues, relationship problems, etc. Here, Esther says she is ready to move forward despite the fact that she can die! Turing our fear into faith is starring fear in the face and saying, “My God is bigger.” It’s the idea of remembering that God is ultimately in control and that He needs to remain our focus.  It doesn’t mean we won’t be hurt or struggle or anything like that. It does mean that even in the most dire situations, our focus remains on God and on His strength. If we go through something, He can get us through it. 1 Cor. 10:13;

“And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

1 Cor. 10:13

Notice that the verse says He is faithful. We struggle but God is always there with us and God provides outlets for us.

Key Point: Face fear with God’s strength not your own. Use your fear to direct yourself to Him.

2. In The Crisis Find Your Gift

The second tool that we can rely on in the face of crises is that God has gifted us, each of us uniquely, to use those gifts in our life to bring Him glory.  Remember what Esther did in Ch. 4:

“Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me.” Esth. 4:15-16

She fasted and prayed and then acted.  Ever ask yourself; “Why did she serve him dinner three times?” She was using her gift. Her gift, or at least one of them, was hospitality. She was also gracious, kind, and had a servant’s heart. She served him dinner because that is what she did best and that was her unique calling.  I would imagine she made his favorite meal and had the palace looking just right, and must have made that dinner one great meal and great time. God calls us to operate within our gifting; to do what he has given us the capability to do.  1 Peter 4:10 says:

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

You have a gift. It’s not an option, not a chance thing, not a hope we do, you do!

Ex. The 1989 earthquake and my role with UPS administration

3. Let God Do The Fighting

And the third tool is to let God do the fighting for you. Remember Esther’s request didn’t start by pointing the finger and blaming Haman but when it was the right time, Esther does say that Haman is the master mind of this plan. Verse 6:

“Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman.”” vs. 6

Now the story gets really hairy, The king gets so upset that he leaves the room. Protocol called for everyone to leave because no man was supposed to be a lone with the queen.  Men were not even allowed to get within 12 steps of her. The passage told us that Haman stayed behind when he should have left. But leaving would be like admitting guilt and going after the king would just cause more anger.  He was in a no win situation. So he goes to Esther to plead for his life but of course then he makes that fatal mistake, he climbs on her couch.  Ouch! When the king returns and sees this, it throws him over the top and now Haman’s fate is sealed. The king’s eunuch reminds the king about the gallows Haman built to execute Mordecai on and the king orders Haman hung on those same gallows. We need to be so careful. We have phrases like; You repa what you sow; and others. Solomon puts it this way in Proverbs 26:27:

 “If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.” Proverbs 26:27

Esther set an example here for us in that she names Haman but hhis actual fate rests in the hands of the king. The king sets the seal of Haman. God calls us to allow Him to do the avenging for us. Romans 12:19:

“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

I understand the desire for revenge. That inner pull to want to take avenge when I’ve been wronged. But the reality is that when our struggle is not against flesh and blood, then the revenge factor is for God.  The passage in Romans tells us that when we take that revenge ourselves, we have not left room for God to act. It seems the real issue is the timing. We want the revenge in our time and in our way. Then it is not God’s timing and that takes us to our closing.

Called Just For This

There is an important thing to remember as we close. It’s something Mordecai brings to Esther’s attention. He spoke it to her in Esther 4:14:

“And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esth. 4:14

Esther was called for just this. God used here in the time and place she was to be used for His glory. God has placed us where we are for a specific time and reason and that the reality is that God does not give us more than we can handle and that it is through our difficulties that we grow. Putting this all together; our struggles, our difficulties, our crises, are our opportunity to turn our fear into faith, our opportunity to use our gifts for Him and opportunity to allow God to work in ways we never could. He choose us for that. It says in John 15:16:

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit…” John 15:16

You might recall that this passage in John is the passage about the vine and the branches and abiding in Him.

Charlie Brown and one of his friends were discussing the problems of life as they walked down the road. After much discussion, Charlie Brown declared his problem solving philosophy. He said, “There’s no problem so big that I can’t run from it.”

We don’t need to run, we trust in God.

Advertisements

About ronbow16

Pastor
This entry was posted in Sermons. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s