June 5-6, 2010
I’ve ridden in a Rolls Royce one time in my life, and it was quite an experience. One thing I’ve learned about Rolls Royce’s, is the fact that Rolls Royce’s don’t do a lot of advertising. You know, if it’s a Rolls Royce, it’s a Rolls Royce. A Rolls Royce is a Rolls Royce. A Bentley is a Bentley. Those cars just don’t advertize because they’re awesome, they’re great. It just is what it is and it does what it does.
Illus: Several months ago I was at a basketball game and I was sitting beside a father of one of the star players on the court and I asked him, I said, “Hey is your son doing a lot of AAU stuff, and a lot of camps?”
He goes, “No.”
I said, “Really?”
He goes, “No.” He said, “You know what I believe?” He goes, “I believe if you’re good, they’ll find you.”
That’s the story of the book of Esther. Esther is over in the Old Testament. Some people have heard about Esther. Some of you have never ever heard about Esther. I like the word Esther. It’s like establish her. Have you ever thought about that? E.S.T. dot her. Establish her. Esther was put in an amazing position for such a time as this.
Esther was a gorgeous girl. A biblical babe. She was in Persia. The King of Persia had a problem in his marriage. His wife didn’t do what he wanted her to do, so he had her banished. And there was a giant beauty contest throughout the land. The women were cameled in from all over the place. They spent a year in a spa just getting ready for this event. All the cosmetic surgery, all of the spa treatments. It was just a typical, typical pageant.
Esther won the contest. And because she won the contest, this Jewish girl, she became Queen of Persia.
Now, Esther had a very, very different and difficult background. Her parents were killed, and that left a void. So a guy named Mordecai, who was a hundred, a hundred years old, stepped in and was like the foster parent of Esther. He was the one that encouraged her to get into the beauty pageant business. He was the one who encouraged her to use her gifts and talents. Because I think he knew, not fully, but he knew, that God had something special for her life. And now you have a godly woman, a godly girl, Esther, as queen for this powerful, powerful Persian Empire.
So everything is rocking and rolling along. And because Esther was queen, I’m sure Mordecai got this job in the government, just a normal kind of low paying governmental job, and he spent a lot of time by the palace gates. And one day he heard some people who were very close to the king talking trash about the king. The Bible says they became angry at the king, and the word anger is just one letter away from danger.
And then from there, they decided to assassinate the king. To take him out. And these guy’s names are just classic, classic names. Check this out: Bigthana. Usually when you have someone who thinks they’re big, watch out. They’ll come after you. Bigthana and Teresh, I think that’s short for terrorist. So, Big-time Jones and Mr. T, the terrorist, went after the king and tried to kill him.
Well, Mordecai heard about it. Mordecai tells Esther about it. Esther tells her husband about it, and the assassination attempt is thwarted.
Now, the Bible sort of says, “and this was recorded in the king’s historical documents.” Kind of a, kind of an aside.
So you keep reading. And then this guy named Haman enters the picture. Haman, say “Hey man.” Say, “Hey man.” Haman was some kind of dude. The guy was a mover, a shaker. He was the guy who was a climber. He was the guy that needed to be on the inside. Always be careful when someone needs to be on the inside because usually it means they’re very, very insecure.
And as you look around in our world today, especially with young people, young people want so bad to have that popularity, for that applause. You ask people what they want to be and they go, “I just want to be famous, man.” That’s what people want. And normally, people will sacrifice all sorts of things just to be popular. Just to hear the applause of the crowd. And that’s what we find in Haman.
Haman was doing all that just to get to where he wanted to be. So he was schmoozing, he was saying the right stuff. And for some reason, I’m sure because he was talented, he got elevated to this position of Prime Minister in the land of Persia.
Well, here’s something that you’ll discover about life. Many times you’ll see people that go to a certain level, but they can’t stay at that level. In other words, talent can take you to areas that character can’t keep you.
You can get to a certain point talent-wise, but because your lack of character, you can’t stay there for very long. That’s why you hear somebody say, “Oh, he went up like a rocket, he came down like a rock.” “She went up like a rocket, she came down like a rock.” Character. Character. Character. Character counts.
And you have Mordecai with his endurance, his commitment. He found his security in God, because the Bible calls Mordecai a Jew. The word Jew means a worshiper of God, someone who got to know God. So you have him finding his security in God. Then you have Haman finding his security in others – in others opinions, in others thoughts, in others feelings toward him.
So whenever you get your props from others, you’re going to have insecurity. Whenever you get your props from God and then surround yourself with people, you understand it all comes from God, you are going to have security in this one and only life.
So that is the situation. That’s the plot. We have Mordecai – secure. We have Haman – insecure. We have Mordecai who was thinking about others, who was thinking about Esther. He was thinking about the King. He was thinking about His people. And you’ve got Haman thinking about Haman. Thinking about what would elevate him. What would make him look good, what would make him feel good, what would give him pleasure.
Haman is elevated, he’s feeling good. Mordecai would not bow down to him. Mordecai would not clap for him. Mordecai would not say, “Oh, you’re the man.” Because back in the time, back in this day, if you had a governmental position, if you were like really high in the government, if you were a prince or a noble or a king, you were divine. You should have been worshipped. And for someone not to worship you, was drinking some serious Hateraide.
So Mordecai was not going to worship anybody or anything other than God. So when Haman saw it, he was like, “Man, I’m going to kill you. And not only am I going to kill you, but I’m going to wipe out the entire Jewish race.” Anger, I’ll say it again, is just one letter away from danger.
The Bible says, “Be angry and do not sin.” Yeah, it’s cool to get angry at the right stuff, but once we get into sin, we become dangerous. We can hurt people we love. We can hurt the cause of Christ and it can end up actually taking the life of someone, literally or in a sense of attacking someone’s character.
So the assassination attempt was attempted. It was thwarted by Mordecai, Haman was promoted. He didn’t dig it because Mordecai wasn’t showing Him the love. So he said, “I’m going to kill Mordecai and all the Jews.”
The king was drunk, I’m sure. He liked his wine. And he was talking to him one day and Haman goes, “Listen, King. There is a group of people…” You know, people who are haters always lie. They always exaggerate. The evil one is all about half truths. And the first thing he ever said was a lie. He’s all about lies.
And he’s like, “King, there’s this group of people, they are not really respecting you. They’re not really following your directives. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” He never named the group of people. He said, “King, give me your signet ring so we can kind of put an edict on it. Let’s just wipe ‘em out.”
And the king said, “Ok. Just take care of them. I’ve got so much on my plate. Just, Haman, man, just kill ‘em.”
So they roll the dice, literally. 12 months from that day, the king put the edict in order. All the Jews were to be wiped out.
Now we have the ultimate text message. I know it’s hard to wrap your brain around, but the Bible talks about texting way back in the Old Testament. Check this out. Esther 4:8. It says, “He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa.” A copy of the text, the text.
So, Mordecai knew what was happening. Mordecai figured out he was going to get killed. The Jews were going to get killed. And he said, “Man, I gotta talk to my girl Esther. Because God has placed Esther where she is for an amazing purpose, a dynamic reason.”
All of us are where we are for a reason. All of us are where we are for a dynamic purpose. You’re not there, I’m not where I am just for me. You’re not there for just you. You’re here and I’m here for God, for God’s purposes, for such a time as this. We either take advantage of the opportunity, or we don’t.
And too many times I’ve been so worried about opportunities I wish I had, that I’ve missed the opportunities that were right in front of my face. And I’ve seen so many people over the years, so many influencers, so many leaders in the business world, in the athletic world, in the church world, who had all of these blessings, all of these opportunities, but they were so focused on opportunities they wish they had, “I wish I lived there, I wish I worked for that company, I wish I made that much money, I wish I had that look, or those gifts…” that they miss where they are.
Here’s my question, are you taking advantage of the opportunities God has given you? God is in control, we know that. We have the freedom to choose and to step out into an opportunity or not. God works with those people who act. Mordecai acted. Esther acted. Mordecai said, “Esther, you’ve got to go into the king’s presence and tell the king that this thing has gone nuts. This thing is crazy.”
Well guess what? Esther was like, “I can’t walk into the king’s presence.” I mean back in the day, if you walked into the king’s presence without some formal meeting, without him first lifting his scepter, then you could walk in.
Well, Esther, she knows, I mean it is like life or death. And if you want to hear just a great passage on courage, look at Esther 4:12. “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,” Let me stop.
I can slander you by remaining silent. You can slander me by remaining silent. I can slander God by remaining silent. You can slander God by remaining silent. I just thought I’d throw that it in.
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place.”
Replacement players. And I’ve seen people come and go in my leadership over the last 20 years. And I’ve seen so many of these people who had so many opportunities to go, “Wow, I’m just going to move on.” And when they move on, God replaces them with someone bigger and brighter and better.
But so often I look at them and go, “Man, that girl missed it. If she’d a just stayed and crashed through the quitting points, if he’d a just gotten with the program, things would be different.”
And so often I wonder, do these people get it? But so often I don’t think they do. Because they’re blinded by pride. Pride will eat your lunch. Pride is what Haman was dealing with – the ride of pride. It’s an angry ride and it leads to danger, danger.
“If you don’t do it,” Mordecai says, “somebody else will do it.” But he says, “But you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows that you have come to a royal position for such a time as this.”
God placed Esther in this prominent position for such a time as this. And that’s what she did. She walked boldly into the king’s presence, and she said here, “If I perish, I perish.” Meaning, “If I die, I die. I’m going for it.”
She did it. The king welcomed her. The king said, “Honey, what do you need? Baby, what do you want?”
Esther said, “I do have one request, I do have one thing I want to tell you and ask you, but could we first of all have just a two-day banquet?”
The king was like, “Sure! A two-day banquet.”
Esther said, “I want to invite Haman and you.”
So they showed up, first day, had a great time. When Haman was leaving the banquet, he looked and saw Mordecai at the gate, the palace gate. Mordecai once again did not bow down to him. Everybody else was bowing.
Haman should have said, “God, this is amazing, all these people love me. Look at this power, look at this wealth, look at the ability you have given me. Who cares if Mordecai doesn’t dig me.” He couldn’t. He was so mesmerized by Mordecai, so focused on Mordecai that he couldn’t enjoy what he had. He shrunk his vision, he shrunk his dreams, and he missed his opportunity because of Mordecai.
Who is your Mordecai? Are you allowing that one person or one group, or one negative thing, or one twitter you didn’t like or one blog that like freaked you out or one group or whatever mess you up? You can’t be that way. You’ve got to say, “God, I thank you for where I am. I love everybody, but I’m going to move with the movers.” And that is what Mordecai did, but Haman couldn’t do it.
Haman went home. Told all of his friends and family about being invited to the par-tay, “I’m the man.” He showed off all of his wealth and he was like living large and going on and on about himself. He was very, very me-istic.
Then his wife says, “Well, honey, I know you don’t like Mordecai. I know you can’t really enjoy this until Mordecai is dead. Just build some gallows outside of our mansion and hang him on the gallows tomorrow. Walk into the king’s office while he’s drinking his coffee and say, “King, I want to kill Mordecai. He’ll let you do it. You’re the man, you’re smart, you’re brilliant, you’re rich, just do it and let’s get it over with and move on down the line, baby.”
And he was like, “That sounds good, that sounds really good!”
So, Haman went to bed with his wife and his family. And the king tried to go to sleep. The king couldn’t sleep. The king had insomnia. He tried Lunesta, he tried Benadryl, nothing would work. Tried his harems. Nothing would work.
Finally he said, “Hey, bring me my journals. Bring me the historical documents. Read to me.” So the people began to read to him.
“Oh king, this guy who sits by the palace gate, Mordecai, saved your life. He thwarted an assassination attempt.”
And the king said, “Whoa! What did we do for Mordecai?”
“Uh, well, let me see here. Uh, mmm, yeah, (mumbling)… nothing sir.”
“Nothing?! Have you lost your mind? Let’s honor him! Let’s honor him!”
Several hours later, “(Doorbell) Bing-bong-bing-bong. Bong-bong-bing-bong.” In the security cameras they see Haman’s bucket-head.
“King, it’s Haman.” Haman’s walking in, he’s getting ready to say, “I wanna kill, I wanna hang Mordecai…”
Right before he begins to speak, the king goes, “There’s a hero in our midst that we need to honor. Haman, you have so many brilliant ideas, how would you honor this guy?”
And he was like, “Oh, I tell you what I’d do, give him the best robe. I’d have him ride around on the king’s horse. I would call Ryan Seacrest for this ticker-tape parade. And we need to lead him around and talk about how awesome he is.”
And Haman, this is so pitiful, this is so sad, thought the king was talking about himself. Crazy people think everything is about me. And there’s a lot of crazy people out there.
People say, “Our world is going crazy.”
Well, here’s what I say – you show me someone who is not walking in sync with the Savior, and I’ll show you somebody who has a form of insanity. I’ll say it again. You show me somebody, this is a radical statement, but I’ll back it up. You show me somebody who is not worshiping God and worshiping Him only, and I’ll show you somebody who’s got a cup of crazy in their life. Straight-jacket craziness. And that’s what Haman was.
And you know what the king said? “Hey, man, you are going to lead Mordecai the Jew around on a horse.”
Wait one second. [Ed retrieves a horse from back stage and leads it on stage.]
On a horse. So, we have Haman leading Mordecai around on a horse. You talk about humble pie! Humble pie tastes funky, doesn’t it? Here he is, Haman, leading Mordecai around on a horse. Ryan Seacrest saying, “Oh, look at Mordecai. And look at the humiliated Haman.”
Now, here’s some application that is where we live. Who is your Mordecai? Let me ask the question in another way. Do you have any Haman’s in your life? Do you have someone in your life that you want to take out, that you want to assassinate, that you want to mess up, that you want to just trash, that you want to stab in the back, that you want to hurt, that you want to down-talk, that you want to abuse, that you want to just slap upside the head. Come on now, do you have somebody like that? Somebody in the past, maybe? A parent that hurt you? A business partner that lied to you? A son that did this or that? A former friend? Somebody that you thought you were going to marry? I mean, do you have somebody like that in your life?
Because if you’re not careful, if you’ve not released them, or if I’ve not released them, if you’ve not said, “Ok, I’m going to allow God to get revenge on them. I’m going to leave room for God’s wrath.” If you’re not careful, you’ll end up like Haman, leading them around on a horse.
So, who is on your horse? Can you imagine doing life like this? Going to the gym like this? Going out to a restaurant like this? Getting in a car like this? Doing life like this?
Can you imagine, like, “Ok, here I am, but I got this big ol’ honkin’ horse, and I got my Mordecai on the back, this person I’ve not forgiven, this person I’ve not released, this person I want to get revenge on.”
People say revenge is sweet – it ain’t sweet; it is bitter. God, though, will take care of the people in your life. Leave room for God’s wrath. I understand the anger, I’ve had it. I understand the remorse, I’ve had it. I understand the pain, I’ve had it. I understand the guilt when you have these horrible feelings, what you want to do or say to this person, I’ve had it. Leave room for God’s wrath. Give Him the reigns, let him take it.
Because Haman couldn’t do it, it messed him up. Because Haman couldn’t do it, he ate humble pie. Because Haman couldn’t do it, here’s what happened to him. Haman went home disgraced. And the next day he went to the party and Esther called him out.
Esther said, “Haman, you’re the man.”
The king said, “What?”
Esther goes, “Haman is trying to kill Mordecai and all the Jews.”
The king said, “What?” the king said, “Shut up!”
Esther said, “No, I’m not shuttin’ up.”
So the king said, “Hey, Haman, we’re going to hang you from the gallows that you built for Mordecai.”
You trying to be a climber, you trying to elevate yourself, you trying to get ahead, you’re trying to do it your way and not God’s way? You’re climbing up the gallows. You’ll hang yourself on hatin’ – and that is where your dreams will die.
Think about it. Mordecai was all about humiliation. We need to humble ourselves before God, and because of his humiliation before God, God elevated him at the right time.
Haman, though, was all about elevation – self-elevation. And that led to what? Utter humiliation.
Let’s learn from Esther. Let’s allow God to deal with revenge. Let’s take advantage of these opportunities. Let’s have some horse-sense, and some serious horse power that comes from the power of God to do it God’s way. Because God’s way is the only way to live.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]