January 23, 2023
Fasting in Crisis – Esther 4-8
Listen to last week’s sermon on Fasting in Crisis found in Esther 4-8
The sermon, given last week, was found in the book of Esther in the Bible and how it serves as a reminder of the power of fasting and prayer. The pastor discussed how Esther, a Jewish orphan who became queen of Persia through a beauty contest, used her position to save her people from a serious treat, Haman an enemy of the Jewish people, through fasting and prayer. The pastor also discussed the character of Haman, a descendant of the Amalekites, who was promoted to a high position in the Persian court and was honored by King Xerxes. He drew a parallel between the story of Esther and the story of King Saul, who failed to obey God’s command to destroy the Amalekites, and used it as a reminder that disobedience can have serious consequences.
Who was Esther?
Esther was a Jewish queen of the Persian king. The story of Esther is about how she saved the Jewish people from extermination by revealing her Jewish identity to the king and convincing him to spare her people. The story also reveals the role of Mordecai, her cousin, as her mentor and guide. The holiday of Purim is celebrated by Jews to commemorate the events of the story of Esther.
The message from Esther regarding the crisis had three primary points:
1. Supplication and Humiliation.
The first point was the stage of Supplication and Humiliation, where Esther and her people fasted and prayed for God’s intervention in their situation.
In times of crisis, it can be easy to take matters into our own hands and try to find solutions on our own. However, the story of Queen Esther in the book of Esther serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of supplication and humility in such situations.
When faced with the crisis of her people being threatened with extinction by the Amalekites, Esther proclaimed a fast and went to God before taking action. This act of faith and trust in God was a key factor in her eventual success.
As we read the account of Esther, we see that instead of relying on her position as queen or trying to manipulate the situation, she humbly sought the guidance and intervention of God through fasting and prayer. This is a powerful example for us to follow in our own times of crisis.
As Leonard Ravenhill, a writer and preacher, once noted, many people read about the biblical prophet Elijah and his miracles and wonder where the God of Elijah is in their own lives. But the question we should be asking is, “where are the Elijahs of God?” – those who, like Esther, have the faith to turn to God in times of crisis through fasting and prayer.
Just as Mordecai obediently followed Esther’s orders to fast, let us also have the faith to trust in God’s power and intervention, and turn to Him through fasting and prayer in our own times of crisis. By doing so, we demonstrate the depth of our faith and trust in the Lord.
2. Action in the face of intimidation
The second point was the stage of Action in the face of intimidation, where Esther took action to save her people, even though she faced opposition and intimidation from Haman and the Persian court.
The pastor’s message highlighted the second stage of Esther’s actions, which was taking action in the face of intimidation. He emphasized that after fasting and praying, it is important to take a step of faith and take action, even if it is difficult or risky. He used Esther as an example, who after fasting and praying, took the courageous step of speaking to the king, despite the fact that it was against the law and could result in severe punishment. He encouraged the congregation to think about how God may be calling them to use their own positions and influence to make a difference in the world and reach others for Christ, just as Esther did. He also praised Esther’s unselfishness and willingness to risk her own safety to speak out on behalf of her people.
3. Demonstration of Divine intervention
The third point was the stage of demonstration of Divine intervention, where God’s hand was clearly seen in the events of Esther’s story, as He worked to save His people from their enemies and bring about His purposes.
The third stage was used to highlight the demonstration of divine intervention in Esther’s story. It emphasized how Esther, after fasting and taking action, won favor with the king and was able to overturn the plans of the enemy to exterminate her people. It also highlighted how Esther refused the comforts of the world in order to rescue her people and how Mordecai was promoted and the enemy was punished. It also emphasized how God can use unlikely individuals to accomplish His will and bring about His purposes and how the fast of Esther and Mordecai’s faith and actions led to the demonstration of Divine intervention.
Watch the video here: