Esther Must Die to Self

Scripture Passage: 
Esther 4:1-17
Attached audio files: 

INTRODUCTION: The sentence of death had been proclaimed upon all Jews (Esther 3:13). Unfortunately, this sentence had been made in such a way that it could not be changed or altered (Esther 1:19; Daniel 6:8, 12). The burden of this dilemma seemingly fell upon the shoulder of one person brought “to the kingdom for such a time as this.”

  1. THE RESPONSE OF THE JEWS (Esther 4:1-3)
    1. The Weeping of Mordecai (Esther 4:1-2; Jeremiah 6:26)
      1. In the midst of the city (Esther 4:1)
        1. He perceived all that was done (Esther 3:8-15; 1 Chronicles 12:32).
        2. He rent his clothes.
        3. He put on sackcloth with ashes.
        4. He went into the midst of the city.
        5. He cried with a loud and bitter cry.
      2. Before the king’s gate (Esther 4:2)
        1. Even before the king’s gate
        2. None were allowed to enter with sackcloth.
    2. Great Mourning Among the Jews (Esther 4:3)
      1. In every province
      2. Wherever the king’s commandment came
      3. Manifested in multiple ways
        1. Mourning
        2. Fasting
        3. Weeping
        4. Wailing
        5. Dressing in sackcloth and ashes
  2. THE INFORMING OF ESTHER (Esther 4:4-9)
    1. Esther’s Attempt to Calm Mordecai (Esther 4:4-6)
      1. Mordecai’s refusal (Esther 4:4; Genesis 37:34-35; Psalm 77:1-3)
        1. Esther heard of Mordecai’s mourning.
        2. Esther was exceedingly grieved.
        3. Esther sent raiment to Mordecai, but Mordecai refused (see Psalm 77:2; Jeremiah 31:15). Note: Often, when there is a cause for grief or mourning, people will seek to cover it over and ignore the problem. There are, however, some things that need to be grieved and times when we need to mourn.
      2. Esther’s inquiry (Esther 4:5-6; Genesis 28:16; John 20:9)
        1. She sent to know what the problem was (Esther 4:5).
        2. Hatach met Mordecai before the king’s gate (Esther 4:6).
    2. Mordecai’s Meeting with Hatach (Esther 4:7-9)
      1. Mordecai told Hatach of Haman’s plan (Esther 4:7).
        1. To destroy Mordecai
        2. To destroy all Jews
      2. Mordecai provided Hatach with a copy of the king’s decree (Esther 4:8a).
      3. Mordecai asked that a charge be given to Esther (Esther 4:8b).
        1. That she should go before the king
        2. That she should make supplication unto the king
        3. That she should make request before him for her people
      4. Hatach fulfilled Mordecai’s request (Esther 4:9).
  3. THE CONVINCING OF ESTHER (Esther 4:10-14)
    1. Esther’s Message to Mordecai (Esther 4:10-12)
      1. Delivered again by Hatach (Esther 4:10, 12)
      2. Expressing Esther’s fears (Esther 4:11)
        1. The law of approaching the king
          1. The reach of the law – “whosoever, whether man or woman”
          2. The content of the law
            1. One should not come unto the king into the inner court.
            2. Unless he was called
          3. The strictness of the law – “there is one law.”
          4. The consequences of violation – “to put him to death”
          5. The pardon available
            1. The king could hold out the golden scepter.
            2. The individual might live.
        2. Her need to violate the law  (Esther 4:11; see Acts 24:25)
          1. She had not been called for thirty days.
          2. If she entered, she would knowingly violate the law.
    2. The Charge to Esther (Esther 4:13-14)
      1. Think not that thou shalt escape (Esther 4:13; Matthew 12:30); Note: Esther might have been tempted to think that her being queen would exclude her from the wrath of Haman, but she was no different than any other Jew.
      2. Think not that thou art the only hope (Esther 4:14a; 1 Corinthians 10:13).
        1. If thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, deliverance will arise from another place.
        2. Thou and thy father’s house, however, shall be destroyed.
      3. Think not that God has brought you here for any other purpose (Esther 4:14b; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Ephesians 1:9).
  4. THE DECISION OF ESTHER (Esther 4:15-17)
    1. Her Call for a Fast (Esther 4:15-16a; Matthew 9:15)
      1. Amongst the common Jews (Esther 4:15-16a)
        1. The leader of the fast – Mordecai
        2. The participants of the fast – “all the Jews that are present in Shushan”
        3. The purpose of the fast – “for me [Esther]”
        4. The details of the fast
          1. Neither eat nor drink
          2. Lasting three days (night and day)
      2. Amongst those in the palace (Esther 4:16a)
        1. Esther
        2. Esther’s maidens
    2. Her Surrender of Self (Esther 4:16b; Luke 9:24; Acts 20:24; Acts 21:13; Philippians 2:30)
      1. Her willingness to violate the law – “so will I go in unto the king” (Esther 4:16b).
      2. Her willingness to die if it could possibly spare the lives of her kindred (Esther 4:16b)
    3. Her Help from Mordecai (Esther 4:17)
  5. THE SPIRITUAL GROWTH OF ESTHER
    1. She Grieved Over the Circumstances (Esther 4:4).
    2. She Feared For Her Life (Esther 4:11).
    3. She Saw Herself as Either the Problem or the Solution (Esther 4:13-14).
    4. She Surrendered to the Will of the Lord (Esther 4:16a).
    5. She Died to Self (Esther 4:16b) – “if I perish, I perish.”

CONCLUSION: The way to conquer the sentence of death is by death. When Esther surrendered to the possibility of death, she conquered the sentence of death against the Jews. Today, we conquer the sentence of death against us first through the death of Christ on the cross. Then, we experience greater victory through reckoning ourselves to be dead to sin through our death with Christ on the cross. See Romans 6:1-11. We must all come to the place where we can say with determination: I will do what is right for my God and Saviour by His strength in me; and if I perish, I perish.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 13:18

Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.