Taking a Stand.

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If you have your bibles this morning open them up to Esther 7.
Pray with me.
I have titled the message this morning, Taking a Stand.
Its hard to believe we only have three messages left in the book of Esther, and the story is really heating it. Over the last few weeks we have seen this story unfold right before our eyes. Last week in the text saw an unexpected turn you could say. Remember last week, the King could not sleep leading to the reading of the memorable deeds, and in his reading he discovered that Mordecai who saved the kings life many years before that never got properly honored, and he sought to honor him, and in the process of all this happening, Haman was there waiting in the court to confront the king about killing this man whom the king was wanting to honor, and being self deceived when the King asked how he should honor a man whom the king delights in, Haman gave the king his own desires ultimately having to serve the one whom he desired to kill, and at the end of the text last we saw that he was hurried along to the feast that we will see today…
Today you are going to see why I titled the message, Taking a Stand.
Because what I want you to see from the word this morning is this…

Esther took a stand for her and her people resulting in Haman’s death.

Let me read to you the first four verses of this chapter.
Esther 7:1–4 ESV
1 So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. 2 And on the second day, as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king again said to Esther, “What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” 3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. 4 For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.”
Few points I want you to take note of this morning, the first is this…

Taking a stand involves standing up for what is right.

The plan of Esther which has seemed to be taking forever was about to unfold, and the events leading up to this make the moment we are in even more powerful, remember when Esther first approached the king, the events of Mordecai not bowing down to Haman again, and the gallows being built, and the honoring of Mordecai had yet to happen, but with those in place and fresh on the minds of the King, and Haman we land again at another feast. This time with tensions rising.
At this feast Esther is finally going to answer her request. The second day of the feast roles around and the King asks Esther again, What is your wish?, and He acknowledges her as the queen, and again emphasizes the fact that that whatever your request is, you can have it up to half of my kingdom.
Now she responds to the King in such a way that really connects her with her people, in such a way she has yet to do in this book.
Notice the language here in the text. She says really two statements before she makes the request, If I have found favor in your sight O king. Now we know throughout the book that the King had a thing for Esther, he was truly taken back by her beauty, and I believe Esther says these words as a plea for the King to truly answer that request.
Then she moves on to the petition here by saying… If it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish and my people for my request.
What she is about to tell him, is something that is truly life or death here for not only herself, but for her people, so she tells the king for we have been sold, and this selling as she states clearly is not just as slaves, but for destruction, death, and total annihilation.
Remember what that edict said and the response of the king
Esther 3:9 ESV
9 If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king’s business, that they may put it into the king’s treasuries.”
Esther 3:11 ESV
11 And the king said to Haman, “The money is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you.”
Now there is an understanding by her of this edict that maybe the king does not understand, he may have not truly known the full intentions of Haman. In fact during my studies this week I found something that I believe explains the situation quite well. Listen to this scholar… He proposes one theory regarding why Xerxes was so confused and would have been enraged at Haman's betrayal. He contends that because the Hebrew word for "destroy" is a work that also means "enslave" that Haman solicited the king's permission to kill the Jews, but did so with an ambiguous word, such that when he followed the request with a payment of money, the king would naturally but mistakenly think that Haman was requesting merely to enslave a group of people. (Inconspicuous Providence, 132)
If this is indeed what happened, then at least the king was not guilty of genocide. Enslaving an entire ethnic group, though, is only slightly less repulsive than murdering them.
And what Esther says here in the text implies that this scholar could have a very good point, in fact she says if it was just the case of you having this edict to enslave my people I would not even confronted you like this, but the reality is if you wipe out these people it is going to greatly even cost you a-lot.
There is a-lot of things could mean, but we know one thing for sure the queen whom he greatly delighted in would meet the fate of death if this fully did come to pass. And many who served the King quite well would die as well. Esther had to take this stand because there was so much on the line even for the king.
Listen to the next two verses..
Esther 7:5–6 ESV
5 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared to do this?” 6 And Esther said, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.
Second point involves taking a stand, but i want you to see something we have already seen in this text, and its this…

Taking a stand involves speaking truth.

Esther has already laid out what was on the line for her and her people. It was there very lives, and so when the king asks her about all this.. He really impresses upon who this man could be, and wanted to know where is he, and who dared do this…
And she tells the king. A foe and and a enemy, this wicked Haman… Now she was really taking a stand, she laid out what was going on to the King, the king had concern so much to ask about the one responsible for all of this, and when Esther called out Haman by name he was terrified…
One guy illustrates this so well by saying.. Esther’s answer was short and exact, “This vile Haman.” She made her case as strong and clear as possible. By announcing Haman as the guilty person, she revealed her Jewishness. Haman must have felt doomed immediately because he realized he had not condemned to death just a people from another land, for that had never bothered him. What was troubling was that the king’s favorite wife also was a Jew. This would be certain trouble for Haman. “Haman was terrified,” and he had every right to be afraid for his life. His plots and lies had now been uncovered by the one who had more power than he, the king.
So listen to what happens…
Esther 7:7–10 ESV
7 And the king arose in his wrath from the wine-drinking and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm was determined against him by the king. 8 And the king returned from the palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. And the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the word left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman’s face. 9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Moreover, the gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, is standing at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated.
Third point I want you to take note of today is this…

Taking a stand has consequences.

The king is clearly upset of all that has taken place, he has a tough choice to make in the moment so we see him escape into the garden, and again we are left without knowing his thoughts and feelings in this book.
I like so many others who have studied this book wonder what that moment must have been like. Because the King has to own up to what he approved, and in his own mind can he has to ask and answer the question do a punish a man whose plan I approved myself.
And Haman having the opportunity to run after the king or plead to Esther really determines his own faith.. He chooses instead of going after the King to plead with him, to go in the moment to beg queen Esther for his life. And the consequences of this, were for him truly a death sentence, because when the King comes back he finds him “assaulting” his queen, in the King’s own home.
Now if anyone touches my wife or family you may see a side of me you have never seen, and I hope you never see that but the king makes the choice he didn’t want to by having him killed.
Now its important for us to know a few things about this time. One of which according to scholars was Harem protocol dictated that no one but the king could be left alone with a woman of the harem. Haman should have left Esther’s presence when the king retreated to the garden, but where could he have gone? His choice was either to follow the king, who had bolted in anger from his presence, or to flee the room, suggesting guilt and inviting pursuit. Haman is trapped. Even in the presence of others, a man was not to approach a woman of the king’s harem within seven steps. That Haman should actually fall on the couch where Esther is reclining is unthinkable! Haman’s untoward behavior is so unimaginable that in the Aramaic Targum of Esther he falls on the queen’s couch only because the angel Gabriel has given him a firm shove, sealing his fate. It is Haman’s final, fatal action.
What is important for me and you to understand in all of this is we never see any bit of remorse or repentance for the actions Haman took against the Jews, only pleading for his life in his final moments.. We cannot overlook the sinfulness of Haman in this book, and how he wanted to only spare himself when his own life was on the line. He took a stand against the Jews, and is paying the consequences for it.
I do find interesting that a book outside of the bible talks about a angel positioning Haman in just the right place to seal his fate, and as we have seen in this book God is always working so I would not be surprised if that was the very case though we cannot assume that.
Now when it comes to taking Haman away in the text, often criminals faces were covered before taking them away to be executed, and the great irony of the consequences of Haman is he was going to hang in the gallows he built for someone else.
whom the kings eunuchs said were built for the man who saved the kings life.
Our actions always catch up with ourselves, sometimes its in this life and sometimes its in the life to come.
and forth and final point this morning is this…

If we stand with God he stands with us.

Now we don’t yet in the story what the fate of the jews would be if you never read the story you will find the the two weeks fascinating, but we see that based on the faithfulness of Esther, and Mordecai that he is standing with them. Working through the sinful king to accomplish his purposes.
Now in the story of Esther, like the bible we have seen that he is always with the people whom he identifies with. We see that this does not mean it will be all sunshine, and roses, and this is because his people sin against him. But never the less his love for them always sees them through, and stands with them, when they stand with God.
Now what we must also know is We stand with God and He stands with us; he destroys those who do not stand with him. In the story of Esther, Haman who is not a jew rather an Agagite had a destiny of destruction, and his lack of the acknowledgement of God, and a lack of repentance, and remorse led to his death.
So many people today don’t realize that not standing with God means you will be sent to hell, and you are against him. In fact its evil to not stand with God.
I was reading something that really struck me this week it said, “Human evil, wherever it occurs and for whatever motivation, always sets itself against God, because God is the definition of goodness and righteousness. Divine justice inevitably and inextricably means the destruction of evil. The author of Esther shows that evil is personal. It is not some substance “out there”; evil does not exist apart from beings who are evil. Therefore, in order to deliver the Jewish people from annihilation as God promised in his covenant with them, God necessarily had to destroy the evil that threatened their existence. In this case that evil came in the person of Haman. Mercy on Haman would have been inconsistent with God’s covenant.
Nevertheless, Haman’s death illustrates that the divinely appointed path to destruction is a path that proceeds step-by-step from the will of the wicked person. There is perhaps no better biblical illustration than Haman of the truth stated by the great Christian theologian said, “Man falls according as God’s providence ordains, but he falls by his own fault.
Just like when Judas betrayed Jesus, Haman chose this evil because his heart was always against God. It was never his intention to stand with God.
And God punishes those who don’t stand with him. You don’t have to have a fatal decree against God’s people to prove you are against God, because all it takes is one sin to prove we are not standing with him. Today there is so many ways we prove to God we are not with him, by standing for things he is against. Like same sex marriage, abortion, and his things in his holy word. And those who support those things and stand against him and his word and dont trust in him will be destroyed.
But friends despite the results of the text today, and the pronouncement of judgement of those who stand against him.
If We stand with God he will stand with us…
Let me first say how he stands with us today, and then I will tell you a few ways we can stand with him.
He stands with us by dying for us. I have referenced this verse many times.. But Romans 5:10 tells us..
Romans 5:10 ESV
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
Haman’s death was a divine punishment, but Jesus death was a divine accomplishment, and his death brought believers who were far from God to himself and saved them, and those who are saved should in fact stand with God, because he first stood with us. Its our motivation to stand with him, because he is always standing with us.
Man there are way to many silent professing Christian’s out there who seem to stand for nothing, and you can stand for something and do it in love. People outside of Christ don’t get to determine what we are to stand for. Jesus himself tells us in Matt 10:33
Matthew 10:33 ESV
33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
In order to stand with God we have to be like Esther and use our lives and our words to stand with God, and others.
I read a-lot this week, but something I read i want to reword just a little to fit into the sermon, and its powerful me to think about so listen to this. its not a point unless you want it to be..
In order to stand with God we have to Live so that when what is concealed is revealed it will be for your reward and not ruin.
When I read that I was convicted, because like many of you I have things that I am not proud off, things I know Jesus died for, but there are things we all do in this life that show we don’t stand with God, and guess what sometimes those things get exposed before others, and they always get exposed to God. Nothing is more tiring than looking over your shoulder thinking someone is going to find out the next thing about you.
We don’t just stand with God when we are in the public square, but also when we are alone, and for most us that is when it may be hardest to stand with him.
Haman was deceptive in his plan to get rid of the Jews, and he got found out and it lead to his death, many people in the church play church their whole life only to get exposed by others, but ultimately God. We know this because…
Ecclesiastes 12:14 ESV
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Finally, If we stand with God, and he stands with us we will stand for the good of others. I think we do a good job of taking care of one another at this church, but we can’t stop. We want to show the world just how great Jesus is, and we do that so often, by loving and serving one another..
The book of Esther has so many self serving people, Queen Vashti, Xerxes, Haman, were all out to serve themselves, but Esther demonstrates to us that we must go outside of our own comfort zones to stand for the good of others, and we can do that by giving and helping those in need. ( and I could say alot more on that but its pretty self explanatory )
I want you to really ponder some things today that I have been thinking about really all week long. I want you to ask yourself and maybe others who you trust are you a person who truly stands for something? You have probably all heard the quote if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
What I love most about Esther in this story is she risked her comfortability to stand for something she truly believed in, today we have a generations of people who are passionate about the fact that they stand against Jesus, and all he stands for, yet today what I see is a generations of those who want to stand for Jesus, but don’t have the boldness with their words or their own actions to do anything about it.
Church, if we are going to make an impact for Jesus we have to stand with him and accept anything that comes our own ways. The consequences of taking a stand for God is not death like it was for Haman. It often is seeing the fruit of that before our very own eyes, now God is working all around us, I want him to work through us, but in order for that to truly happen its going to be if we are people who take a stand for what is right, and in the process we are going to people who are living as forgiven people, who confront their sin’s head on, and do right by God and others?
Do you want to be those people? Do you… Wait for an Amen…
Today I do again want to highlight the fate of Haman, and the real wrath of God to come for those who do not know him. If you would listen to this last thing, and then we will pray… One man said, Xerxes wrath toward Haman was satisfied when he was hanged. God's wrath toward individuals is only satisfied when they place faith in Christ. One man said, "Our King's wrath was poured out in full upon his own Son on the cross. And if God's fury has been poured out in full upon Christ, now there is none left for us (see Gal 3:13)" (Esther and Ruth, 96). Paul says, "Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 5:1). At great cost to himself, God covered all of our sin. He will not forsake believers because he has forsaken Christ in our place.
One man would say On this side of the cross we now know fully what Esther didn't:
God put away our sin by placing them on himself. Only at the cross will we hear, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die." Ever. Is there any greater news? Who needs to hear this news from you today.
Friend’s Haman was hung because he betrayed one close to him, just like Judas, but Jesus hung on a cross so you could live, and have life in him. Respond as someone who truly believes that!
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