Esther 3:1-6 final sermon outline
Arnold Dallimore wrote a two volume biography about the evangelist George Whitefield. At one point Dallimore shares a prayer that Whitefield had prayed concerning his need for wisdom after his actions had resulted in a fight in which he was hit in the head. Whitefield prayed, ‘God grant that I may behave so, that when I suffer, it may not be for my own imprudencies, but for righteousness sake.’
On another occasion Whitefield asked for prayer from a friend concerning the need for wisdom by saying, ‘O pray, dear sir, that my zeal may be always tempered with true Christian prudence. It would grieve me should I bring sufferings causelessly upon myself. A trying time, perhaps, is at hand. O that I may be found faithful.’
There will be times when godly wisdom is applied to a situation we will achieve peace.
There may be other times, as we will see in our text today, when we will apply godly wisdom to a situation and we will encounter trouble and trials.
In our text we will see that Mordecai disobeys an order given by King Ahasuerus when he refuses to bow to a man named Haman the Agagite.
When Mordecai does this he is confronted by those around him.
Day after day they apply pressure upon him to bow his knee.
When Haman is told about this he becomes angry at Mordecai.
It would not be unreasonable to suppose that Mordecai knew that there might be some repercussions for him when he did this, but he probably had no idea that his actions would involve so many others.
Let us read Esther 3:1-6,
After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him. 2 And all the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. 3 Then the king's servants who were at the king's gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king's command?” 4 And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai's words would stand, for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury. 6 But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.(Esther 3:1-6)
This text can be divided into three historical events:
King Ahasuerus promotes Haman the Agagite
Mordecai does not pay homage to Haman
Haman plans evil against Mordecai and the Jews throughout the kingdom
King Ahasuerus promotes Haman the Agagite
We read of the promotion of Haman in verses 1-2, “After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him. 2 And all the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him.”
After Mordecai had saved the kings life we may have expected to see that he would have been given a promotion, but we see that another man was promoted. This man’s name was Haman the Agagite.
(Gospel Application: Are we surprised that Mordecai is not honored by the king?
Jesus dies for sinners. This act of mercy and love is a far greater act than what Mordecai did for King Ahasuerus; yet people will not often honor Christ. We think that Ahasuerus is acting strangely but he is actually reflecting the sinful unbelief of all of us who are dead in our sins.
Just as God will have to sovereignly work in King Ahasuerus so that he would honor Mordecai, He also has to powerfully work in us so that we will honor the Son in grateful adoration (Esther 6:1-3)
This is the first time that we have heard about Haman. Haman seems to have had access to the king and had impressed him more than any other official. As a result, Haman is exalted higher than anyone else.
Gospel Application: The puritan Jremiah Burrough’s wrote a book called ‘Gospel Worship’. In it he speaks of how a Christian is to draw close to God and continually be in His presence. Burrough’s speaks of two benefits that come from drawing close to God and abiding with Him.
First, he says, “Those who are most familiar with God have greater access to Him. When strangers come into God’s presence, he does not regard them, but when a familiar friend enters, he pays attention to him.”
Secondly, Burrough’s says, “Those who are familiar with God do not fear death. Death is a joy for them, as one divine said while dying: ‘I shall change my place; I shall not change my company.’”1