In this sermon, we go back 2,500 years to the Medo-Persian Empire to discover Esther’s identity trap—seeking security through people. Through the story, we’ll see how God loves her out of her orphan-hearted identity and into the true security of living as a child of God.
- Esther’s Secret: The story begins with King Xerxes casting his queen, Vashti, aside and seeking a new queen. In the process, Xerxes uses power to exploit and use women for his own purposes. And Esther is caught in the rounding up or young women into the king’s harem as he looks for a new queen. As she enters the palace and makes her way to the top of the system, Mordecai instructs her not to reveal her Jewish background. Mordecai is not trusting God, nor is he behaving life a faithful Israelite or protecting Esther. He’s using Esther to get ahead in Persian society. And Esther just wants to be safe, so she goes along with his plan. Esther’s identity is formed around finding security through people. She’ll be whomever she needs to be to make the king happy and know the security of his protection. Esther ultimately pleases the king and becomes the Queen of Persia. Now she’s under the protection of the most powerful man on the planet. But Esther’s problem is that whenever we try to be whomever we need to be to fit in, we’re looking for security in the wrong place, and we become orphaned from the true King of the universe.
- Esther’s Peril: As the story continues, Haman the Agagite enters the scene and demands that all under him pay homage. When Mordecai refuses, trouble starts. Haman notices that a Jew is refusing to bow to him, and so he schemes to make a decree that all the Jews are to be killed in a state-wide genocide in 11 months. So, Mordecai pleads with Esther to intervene on his—and the Jewish people’s—behalf. Esther realizes that if she reveals Jewish identity, her security may be shattered. Esther’s orphaned-hearted identity strategy leaves her insecure and vulnerable. Where can she turn?
- Esther’s Courage: Esther realizes she needs protection beyond what the king can offer, and so calls a fast, seeking the protection of her God. She schemes a way to gain the ear of the king and to put Haman’s genocidal edict on the line. She finally owns her Jewish heritage, and in so doing, steps into the crosshairs to be annihilated along with her own people. Esther’s courage reveals she’s found a greater security through a better Protector. Her willingness to put herself at risk before the king means she’s looking for her security elsewhere. She’s begun to take refuge in God, seeking His protection, and identifying herself as a child of the covenant-keeping God. And God ultimately comes through for Esther and for His people.
Takeaway: The security our souls seek is found in the protection of our Father.
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