1.0 It’s Time to Fight (Esther 4:1-3, 4-5)!
1.1 We’re in a war!
A) Fight the real enemy!
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.”
- We’re charged to put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:11).
- Old-time warriors dressed for battle putting on shield, breastplate, helmet, sword, shin guards, and shoes w/spikes.
- Even his words were a part of his weaponry.
- One of our greatest weapons is PRAYER.
Eph. 6:18-”And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Luke 22:31-32: Jesus used the weapon of prayer on Peter’s behalf when He said: ”Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”
1.2 Prayer is a ”war cry” that rouses God.
The phrase war cry or battle cry means: ”a call made to rally soldiers for battle or to gather together participants in a campaign.”
oshua 6:10-But Joshua had commanded the army, ”Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!”
Summary of the Story:
(1) Mordecai and all Jews living in Babylon were facing extinction. Haman-one of the leading nobles-was livid that Mordecai did not show him honor by kneeling down to him. So he looked for a way to destroy him and all of his people (Esther 3:5-7).
(2) Haman manipulated the new king to pass an unretractable law that allowed for the Babylonian citizens to destroy all the Jews on a certain day.
(3) The law allowed the Babylonians to also plunder the goods of the Jews.
(4) To stoke the emotions of the king, Haman promised to contribute a huge sum of money into the national treasury.
2.0 Lift Up a War Cry!
2.1 Sound the ALARM (4:1-3A)!
Mordecai became sober.
Definition: sober means ”marked by seriousness, gravity, solemnity; subdued in tone and color.”
- He tore his clothes-a sign of a heart torn-one that is in mourning.
- He put on sackcloth and ashes-symbols of grief and earthly discomfort-in order get focused in his pursuit of God. (The soldier’s uniform.)
- Mordecai wailed loudly and bitterly in the city center.
- This behavior drew ATTENTION.
- People entering and exiting the palace knew something is wrong.
Foreign diplomats carried the news of this spectacle to their countries.
iii. Many people (maids and eunuchs) brought the news to Esther of her uncle’s unusual behavior.
Note: Weeping is a symbol of repentance and sorrowfulness for one’s state.
- This behavior created ANNOYANCE.
- It said to the business people: ”Stop focusing on money and commerce” and pay attention to the urgent matter at hand.
- It said to parents: ”Stop fussing with your kids and pay attention to the true parental concerns.”
iii. It said to the careless: ”Stop hustling your way through life something serious is about to occur. Pay attention!”
- It said to single persons: ”Stop being consumed with the thought, who will I marry? None of us will have a mate or can have a mate in a short while.”
- It said to the victimized: ”Stop walking around blaming others for your limited life. In a short while you’ll really be a victim.”
- It said to the children: ”Stop your childish behavior and imagination. Something real awful is about to happen to adults and kids.”
- He fasted as a sign of great dismay.
- Impending doom triggered this spontaneous reaction to fast.
Note: Fasting is a spiritual weapon that accompanies intense praying. Fasting is the prayer of the soul.
He, along with other Jews, were weeping-dripping, overflowing with tears because of the impending disaster.
A Time to Fight: ”Though Rev. Peter Muhlenberg (1746-1807) had preached regularly for the cause of the American colonists, he decided that, in his last sermon, he would have to do something unusual to drive home his point. After reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1, he said, ‘There is a time to preach and a time to pray, but there is a time to fight, and that time has now come.’ Muhlenberg threw of his [clergy] robes to reveal the uniform of a militia colonel. He then recruited the men of his congregation, who became known as the ”German Regiment,” which Muhlenberg commanded throughout the war [American Revolution].” Source: Mark Couvillon, Fighting Words. Christian History. Issue 50 (Vol. XV, No. 2), p. 13.
2.2 Prayer arms you for battle (4:4-5, 9-11)!
- Warriors are FOCUSED.
Definition: focus means ”a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity.”
He knew the king would be the focal point in his strategy for deliverance.
Queen Esther would be his emissary.
She is his niece.
She is Jewish.
iii. She is queen.
Esther was disconnected and carelessly thought:
She was unaware of the new law.
She hadn’t seen the king in 30 days.
iii. Anyone who approaches the king in the inner court unrequested will be put to death unless he extends the gold scepter to the inquirer.
She wanted to speak directly to Mordecai.
Mordecai’s Emotional State:
(1) Mordecai had on sackcloth and ashes, which prevented him from entering the king’s gate.
(2) Esther sent clothes for Mordecai to put on so that he could come and speak directly to her. But he chose not to get himself out of warrior mode.
(3) Mordecai’s Spirit-directed words called Esther from the sidelines and into the battle.
Esther 4: 13-14-”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?”
(4) Mordecai’s words reveals that he believes in God, in God’s guidance of individual lives, and in God’s ordering of the world’s political events, irrespective of whether those who seem to have the power acknowledge Him or not.
Esther’s Newfound Emotional State:
(1) She’s reminded of the power of God and the power of prayer coupled with fasting.
(2) The stark reality of her fate brought her into warrior mode. She institutes a three-day fast that called for others to join her.
(3) She’s so locked in warrior mode that her words of faith were: When we end the fast ”I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (4:16b).
- Warriors engage their FAITH (4:15-17)!
- Mordecai and Esther agreed on a three-day fast specifically for her to receive FAVOR with the king.
John Wesley writes: ”Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and reason; and others have utterly disregarded it.”
- Fasting empowered their prayers.
- Their fast created a heavenly disturbance. It was a war cry intended to rouse our Warrior God.
Isaiah 42:13-”The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.”
What rouses God (4:16)?
The Prayer of Agreement invites God into the fray.
Matt. 18:19-20-”Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
- The distress of His people rouses Him.
Psalm 86:7-”When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.”
Jer. 33:3-”Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
Illustration: Two recent news stories of fathers fighting their teenage daughters’ battles were splashed across the media. On June 9, 2014, according to Fox News a father hit a 42-year-old teacher with a baseball bat for inappropriate texts to his 15-year old daughter.
The teacher showed up unannounced to the house and after the father had repeatedly asked him to leave; he would not, so the dad hit him with the bat. No charges were filed by the teacher. And, the police said that though the texts were inappropriate no crime was committed.
iii. Waiting on the Lord rouses Him.
Isaiah 40:30-31-”Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope [wait] in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
2 Chron. 26:5-”He [Uzziah] sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.”
In his book The Weapon of Prayer, E. M. Bounds writes: ”It [Prayerlessness] is a declaration made to God that we do not need Him…By leaving prayer out… we leave God out.”
2.3 Use the weapon of PRAYER!
- Their prayer was focused and fervent.
- Their prayer was singular and measureable. All would see God’s.
- M. Bounds shared: ”All great leaders for God have fashioned their leadership in the wrestlings of their closets…To them prayer was one great thing to be appreciated and used.”
- The prayer was steeped in faith.
Spurgeon said: ”How dare we pray in the battle if we have never cried to the Lord while buckling on the harness!”
Ireland say: ”I’m hard pressed to pray at Prayerfest if I’ve not cried to the Lord in preparation for a unique outpouring of the Holy Spirit on that great day.”