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Sermon No: 2763-Esther - Part 3



Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 13 March 2016


Sermon synopsis: In chapter 4 we see typology regarding the need for godly repentance and the difference between grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit.

Mordecai says these memorable words, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
Like Esther, you too may be faced with a choice to rise up to a situation in faith, or to shrink back in fear and remain silent. Will you retreat and keep quiet, in hope that someone else will answer the call? Or will you obey the voice of God and speak and act on his behalf and for his glory? Who knows - this crisis situation you may be facing now may be your time - you too may have been positioned by God “for such a time as this”.

Esther makes the great statement of faith, “If I perish, I perish”.
So she makes it clear that she doesn’t know what the outcome will be, but she is now prepared to take a step in faith. Faith doesn’t mean that we know what God will do, but it is the sincere belief that God will work out his purpose, and that his purpose is what’s best for us.
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The Book of Esther


In chapter 3 we saw the introduction of a villain called Haman. We saw that Mordecai was a picture of the Holy Spirit while Haman is a type of the flesh – the sinful self-centred old nature. The conflict between Haman and Mordecai is typical of the ongoing battle we experience as Christians – the conflict between flesh and Spirit. Mordecai is a type of the Holy Spirit who will not bow down and give any ground to Haman, the sinful nature.


We also saw that Haman was a racist who was responsible for a decree that called for the slaughter of an entire people group solely on the basis of their race.

And tragically it will happen again. Two thirds of all Jews will be killed by the Antichrist (Zech 13:8). In a very sobering prophecy Jesus warns a future generation of Jews to flee to the mountains because:

“For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equalled again.” (Matt 24:21)

So Haman is also a type of the coming Antichrist. Like Antiochus Epiphanies, Adolph Hitler and the Antichrist, the goal remains unchanged – killing Jews!


Haman is a type of the flesh – that sinful nature lurking within you which sometimes finds its way out.

The sinful nature (Haman) is responsible for a decree that ends in death. What is this typical of? This pictures the eternal decree by the king of heaven that:

… the soul that sins will die (Ezek 18:20 NASB).

Rom 6:23 The wages of sin is death…

Rom 7:5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.

Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…


The decree is a picture of the sentence of death that stands over the human race and it is not a reference to physical death. There is a ‘second death’ that scripture warns against which is eternal separation from God.

Rev 21:8 “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.”


4:1-2 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. But he . went only as far as . the king’s gate, . because no one . clothed in sackcloth was . allowed to enter it. .

4:3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

When the decree of the king is proclaimed the reaction of Mordecai and his fellow Jews was mourning, weeping and fasting. The is the correct response when we are faced with our sin and its consequences.

2 Cor 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

The Bible tells us that there are two kinds of sorrow:

Worldly sorrow

Godly sorrow


Worldly Sorrow means:


You were sorry you got caught, but you did not change your mind about your sin, you would do it again.

That sorrow is of the world.

It leads to death, God’s punishment on sin.

Godly Sorrow means:


We are truly sorry for our sin

We want to change our actions, our attitude and our behaviour!


Matt 27:3-5 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.


Matt 26:75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

But Peter is restored by Jesus (John 21) and goes on to be a powerful apostle and witness for Jesus (Acts 2:38).


The recognition of one’s sinful state, followed by acceptance of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, is called repentance. Repentance in the New Testament has a wider meaning than simply regretting the mistakes of the past. 1

Many today preach a ‘gospel’ without repentance. But Jesus, John the Baptist and Peter all started their ministry with the same message, which was a call to repentance before we can follow God.

Acts 2:38 (NIV) Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”

1 Wikipedia: Salvation


We must repent i.e. not only be sorry for our sins but turn our back on our sinful life (change your lifestyle).

Acts 20:20 (NIV) … I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

Matthew 3:8 (NIV) Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.



4:4 When Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.

Incredibly Esther doesn’t know about the edict of the king. The king’s harems were largely shielded from contact with the outside world. Even the dialogue Esther has with her own cousin Mordecai has to be conducted via a third party – namely a eunuch. As eunuchs were castrated they were trusted to look after the king’s harem to ensure that there was no possibility of marital unfaithfulness (on the wives’ part that is).

Just as Esther was unaware of the decree that brought death, so too many people are unaware of the consequences of their life of sin.

Hos 7:2 (NIV) but they do not realize that I remember all their evil deeds. Their sins engulf them; they are always before me.


When Esther learns of Mordecai’s situation, she is distressed even though she doesn’t know the reasons behind his grief.

She promptly jumps to the rescue, maybe thinking that a gift of clothes might cheer him up.

While new clothes may have worked for some of us, the impact of the decree is far too severe to be sorted out by change of outfit – and Mordecai immediately rejects the offer.


4:5 Then Esther summoned Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.

4:6-7 So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews.

4:8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to urge her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.

On learning that her gift has been rejected, Esther tasks the eunuch Hathach to get more information. Mordecai furnished Hathach with the sordid details about the decree along with supporting evidence to back it up.

Remember that Mordecai is a type of the Holy Spirit. One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to enlighten people regarding their problem of sin and its consequences.

John 16:8 (NASB) “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…”


Just as Mordecai enlightened Esther as to who was really pulling the strings in the kingdom (i.e. Haman) so the Holy Spirit enlightens us to see that the fleshly nature within is in charge of our lives.

Rom 7:5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.

Man is faced with two problems regarding sin – the penalty of sin and the power of sin. The Holy Spirit reveals both to us and both require some action on our part.

Mordecai reveals the penalty of the king’s decree (death) and the driving force behind it (Haman); the Holy Spirit reveals the penalty of God’s decree (death) and the driving force behind it (the sinful nature).


Mordecai understood that if there was to be any deliverance from the penalty of the decree that Esther had to go before the king, who alone had the power in such matters.

Likewise the Holy Spirit prompts us to go to our king who alone can save us from the death penalty of the decree regarding sin.

Have you sensed the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to you about the condition of your soul? If so, Mordecai’s instruction to Esther applies to you as well.

We need to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and go to our king with regards to our issue with sin, for he alone has the power in such matters. Only God can deliver us from the penalty and power of sin.


4:9-11 Hathach went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai:

All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold sceptre to him and spare his life. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.

Mordecai requests Esther to intervene on behalf of her people. So in effect she is being asked to make herself vulnerable by exposing her national identity, which until then she has kept concealed.

By revealing that she is a Jewess, she will effectively be highlighting the fact that she is also under the death sentence based on the king’s decree.

Up to this point Esther has obeyed Mordecai without questioning.

At first he asked her to conceal her identity and she obeyed.

But now he requests the opposite – she must reveal her national identity.


But this also means that she would have to risk her life by approaching the king without being called. 1

Esther gives a lengthy response to Mordecai but effectively her answer is ‘No’.

She asks the eunuch to remind Mordecai that she hasn’t been summoned by the king and to go before the king unannounced could mean death.

As she hasn’t been called for 30 days, she is not confident that he even wants to see her at present.

1 Herodotus, the Greek historian, also informs us that anyone approaching the Persian king without being summoned would be executed unless the king gave immediate pardon. Herodotus notes that ever since the reign of Deioces, king of Media, for the security of the king’s person, it was enacted that no one should be admitted into his presence; but that if any one had business with him, he should transact it through the medium of his ministers. http:// esther/4-11.htm


This chapter gives us a picture of how the Holy Spirit can be grieved and quenched.


Initially we saw Mordecai (type of the Holy Spirit) grieved – He is clothed in sackcloth because Haman (type of the sinful nature) is influencing and controlling and the running of the kingdom and is issuing decrees to achieve his own evil goals.


Here now for the first time we have Esther rejecting Mordecai’s advice. This is a picture of the Holy Spirit being quenched, with Esther reasoning that it would not be prudent to obey Mordecai’s request.


The difference between grieving and quenching is clearly demonstrated in the typology of Mordecai.


When Haman is in control of the kingdom the result is envy, hatred and death and Mordecai is grieved.

But when Esther won’t carry out Mordecai’s instructions then his ability to help in the situation is hindered or ‘quenched’.

The Bible speaks of both of these situations in our walk with God.

WHEN WE DO what we ought not to do – we grieve the Holy Spirit.

Eph 4:29-31 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths… And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

The context of ‘grieving’ in Ephesians is unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander. In other words, all that we see when the flesh (Haman) is in charge.


But WHEN WE DO NOT DO what we ought to do – we quench the Holy Spirit.

1 Thess 5:16-20 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt.

The context of quenching the Holy Spirit is the instruction to rejoice, pray, give thanks and to not treat prophecies with contempt. The result of not doing these things will quench the Spirit.

Quenching the Spirit means to extinguish, suppress, crush completely, put an end to, stifle, limit and to hinder the work of the Spirit in your life.


4:12-14 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer:

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?

By his words, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place”, Mordecai indicates his knowledge of the covenant relationship between God and Israel.

God’s covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and David could not be fulfilled if the entire Jewish race were annihilated.

Hence Mordecai was confident that God would ultimately act to save them.


Mordecai goes on to say that if Esther refuses to be God’s instrument of deliverance that “you and your father’s family will perish”.

When you habitually quench the Holy Spirit’s prompting in your life, ultimately God will cut off you.

APPLICATION: Is God calling you to say something but you remain silent?

If God calls you to do something but you do nothing, he will find another way - but you will miss out on the blessing of being God’s instrument of deliverance for others.


He reasoned that God would surely preserve Israel one way or another, but Esther had a choice to make as to her role in God’s plan for deliverance.

Would she experience God’s blessing as he delivered Israel using her as an instrument?

Or would she fail to be strong at the moment in time which God had ordained for her to shine?

Mordecai is effectively saying, “This is the moment God has been preparing you for. Don’t miss it!”

This was Esther’s chance to make a choice that would impact the history of an entire people group. This was her time to play her crucial part, for God had arranged the circumstances of her life for just “such a time as this”.


Here we see an example of the sovereignty of God and the free will of man in operation.

Esther had been providentially put by God into an influential position whereby she could assist the Jews (God’s sovereignty).

But she had to choose to obey and be God’s instrument of deliverance (man’s free will).


Then Mordecai says these memorable words, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

We see his acknowledgement of God’s providence in Esther’s life. Everything had worked in her favour on her road to be coming queen, but it was God who had tipped the balances so that she could be in a position to be his instrument to deliver his people.

Mordecai clearly believed in the providence of God, for he recognised the possibility that God had allowed previous circumstances to prepare her for this very moment they were now facing.

Yet he did not believe in fate i.e. that they should stand by helplessly and do nothing.


APPLICATION: Like Esther, you too may be faced with a choice to rise up to a situation in faith, or to shrink back in fear and remain silent.

Will you retreat and keep quiet, in hope that someone else will answer the call?

Or will you obey the voice of God and speak and act on his behalf and for his glory? Who knows - this crisis situation you may be facing now may be your time - you too may have been positioned by God “for such a time as this”.


4:15-16 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:

When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.

Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do.

Finally Esther understands the extent of the problem and decides to obey Mordecai no matter what the cost.

It’s no surprise that she requests that all the Jews in Susa fast for three days as she prepares for her next move.

Esther says that she and her maids will also fast - an action that is normally associated with humility and earnest prayer.

Remember that Jesus also told us that certain spiritual battles sometimes require special prayer and fasting. Regarding a stubborn case of demon possession, he told his disciples:

“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matt 17:21 NASB)


To fast in the abundance of the palace is an indication of Esther’s sincerity.

Esther realised the need for focussed prayer, both by herself and others, as she prepared to risk her life for her people. She is going to do something that was not lawful - even for the queen – going before the king unannounced.

Bearing in mind that her predecessor was dethroned for doing something that was not unlawful, but just disrespectful, we can understand Esther’s plight.

Vashti was banished for not coming to the king when summoned.

Now Esther is going to do the opposite – she is going to come before the king when she hasn’t been summoned.


Then Esther sets her feelings aside and resigns herself to God’s will for her life. She makes the great statement of faith, “If I perish, I perish”.

So she makes it clear that she doesn’t know what the outcome will be, but she is now prepared to take a step in faith.

Faith doesn’t mean that we know what God will do, but it is the sincere belief that God will work out his purpose, and that his purpose is what’s best for us.

As Christians our actions must be governed by faith, and not by our feelings:

“Faith is doing God’s will when you don’t feel like it.” - Eddie Zepeda



I have had enough, Lord. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors… (1 Ki 19:4)

The Israelites have… put your prophets to death… I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too. (1 Ki 19:10)


O LORD… let it be known today that you are God in Israel… (1 Ki 18:36)


Matt 14:30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out…

Lord, save me!


I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk! (Acts 3:6 ESV)


... for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death.


… I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.

The will of Esther was initially opposed to Mordecai's’ instruction. Often it is the same in our lives.

There are the two wills in opposition to each other; your will and Gods’ will.

There comes a point we reach where we have to decide to deny what we want to do, in favour of what God wants us to do.

Matt 16:24 (NIV) Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

But Esther is not the only reluctant deliverer in the Bible.


Moses argued that he couldn’t be Israel’s deliverer because he was unable to speak eloquently ( Ex 4:10-12).

O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.

But not only did he deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt, this man who had “never been eloquent” wrote the first 5 books of the Bible and becomes the lawgiver of Israel.

Gideon argued that he couldn’t save Israel because he and his family was insignificant.

How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. (Judges 6:15)

But he freed Israel from the oppression of the Midianites.

But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? (1 Sam 9:21)

Saul also argued that he was unsuitable as king because his family was insignificant.

He even hid away when they wanted to make him king.

But he subsequently delivered Israel from the oppression of the Ammonites, Amalekites and Philistines.

Jonah was a reluctant deliverer because he didn’t like the people God wanted him to preach to (Jon 1:3).

But this unwilling preacher saved a city from destruction.

Esther is also a reluctant deliverer of her people, who is afraid of endangering her life by her actions.

APPLICATION: Has God asked you to do something and now you are making excuses as to why you cannot do it?

Maybe like Moses you argue that you are not qualified for the job because you lack ability?

Perhaps like Gideon and Saul you feel that you and your family are not important enough to tackle such a task?

Or like Jonah maybe you just don’t like the task due to lack of compassion for the unsaved?

Maybe like Esther you are worried that if you obey the call or God you will have to sacrifice your own comfort, safety or position of privilege?


Amazingly as a man even Jesus had a will (for personal safety) that had to be set aside in order to accomplish the Father’s will (our salvation through the cross).

Matt 26:37-39 (NIV) … and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”


We might forget that as a human Jesus also wanted safety and security (like Esther). But he placed the Father’s will for the redemption of the world above his own will.

Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin.

Esther put her own personal comfort and safety after the duty she had to obey God. “And if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)

So did Jesus when he was faced with the prospect of going to the cross to fulfil the will of the Father. “… yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)


Esther’s statement is reminiscent of the statement made by Daniels’ three friends (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) when they are threatened with been thrown into the fiery furnace if they refuse to worship the image set up by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:17-18).


If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it… But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.

Esther was persuaded by the reasoning of Mordecai (a type of the Holy Spirit) to set aside her will to do God’s will. In contrast, Jonah took a lot more persuading. He actively resisted the will of God in his life, choosing a ship bound for another destination (Tarshish) rather than God’s intended evangelistic target (Nineveh).

It took a storm at sea, being thrown overboard and three days in the belly of a whale to change his mind. And even then he obeyed God grudgingly.


APPLICATION: Has God asked you to do something that may mean you have to compromise your own comfort or safety? Or perhaps (like Moses) you don’t feel qualified or (like Gideon) important enough to handle the task?

Have you obeyed God’s request?

Are you repeatedly resisting God’s call like Jonah did, or are you responding to it?

Like Esther, you too must deny yourself and obey the call of God. If you do, God can use you to accomplish his purposes and his will in this world.

Matt 6:9-10 “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven… your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’”



Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the ESV:

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http://



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