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Crunch Time

Esther 4:14 

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Controversial basketball coach, Bobby Knight, of the Texas Tech Red Raider men's team has announced that he will not accept his quarter million dollar salary. Following his team's 74-68 loss to Baylor, the coach told the school to keep his salary. Knight said he did not feel he had done a good job and neither had the team. In a news conference the Monday after the game Knight said, "I just feel like I had a product, and it broke. You shouldn't have to pay for it." 

The Red Raiders finished the season with a record of 16-11. They were 10-1 before they began play in the Big 12. The team faltered in the second half of the season going 6-10 against league opponents, including a 2-8 record in games decided by nine or fewer points. Reflecting on the season, Knight said, "You heard me talk after games all season long about missed opportunities..." In other words, they came to crucial times in the game-crunch times, and they choked. (Fresh Illustrations

Crunch times are defining moments. Esther 4:14 was a defining moment for Esther-something her cousin Mordecai reminded her of. "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"

Up until this point, Esther's was a Cinderella story. After 70 years of exile, God's people were free to leave the land of their captors and return to Jerusalem. 50,000 Jews returned with Governor Zerubbabel's blessing to aid Ezra & Nehemiah in rebuilding the walls and the faith of the city. For whatever reason, like the majority of Jews in Persia and Babylon, Mordecai & Esther chose not to return.

The book of Esther begins with a drunken king summoning his wife to dress in her royal attire and parade her beauty before his friends. Queen Vashti refused to leave her guests she was entertaining and become a part of the King's debauchery. As I read the story, I think the King was out of line and his advisors should have told him so. But then again, I'm reading it from the perspective of our culture, not his. The advisors told him to issue a decree banishing the queen from his presence and for him to find a better woman to be queen. That's exactly what the King did. He sent out a letter that included these words, "every man should be master in his own house." I don't know what those words remind you of, but when I read those words I flash back to black and white images of Jackie Gleason proclaiming that he is the king of his castle. 

The King also began a search for the most beautiful, young woman in his kingdom to become the queen. If they had TV in those days, I'm sure the quest for a new queen would have been a great reality TV series, don't you think? Do you think the nation would have tuned in to see "Who wants to marry a King?"

Mordecai heard about he search and brought his cousin to vie for the King's affection. (He'd been raising her since his uncle and aunt died.) She was careful to follow her cousin's advise and did not reveal her heritage to anyone. She went through the twelve months of preparation to see the King, just like the other women, but unlike the others, she was not sent away the next day to the concubine quarters-Esther became the queen.

Even after becoming queen, she did not reveal to anyone that she was a Jew or that Mordecai raised her, but she did stay in casual contact with her cousin. When Mordecai discovered a plot against the King's life, he told Esther and Esther told the King using Mordecai as the source of the information. The king foiled their plot and hung them on the gallows.

So all is well, right? Not exactly. The King promoted Haman to an exalted position and commanded all the Thank you for reading the free preview of this sermon.  The full manuscript is available to Premium Members use these resources in their ministry.
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