Grace Bible Church
Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 042813
We Are Here for A Time Such As This. A Look at the Book of Esther.
We wrapped up our short study of the Book of Esther. The main theme of the study is that we are here for just such a time as this. Mordecai will say that to Esther basically, don’t be afraid…you need to realize that you are here for just such a time as this. We will see that is what Esther needs to motivate her into action. So one of the lessons we learn from this study is that we all need to realize that we are here for just such a time as this.
God has a plan for our life, and put us here at this particular time. Each one of us, young or old must realize that if your still alive there is still a part of His plan to be lived. Living and fulfilling that plan may be confusing at times. And many look for some big visible thing that everyone can see as their destiny. But instead of wondering when that big thing will come start simply by realizing that your current part in God’s plan may be small in your eyes and even in the eyes of the world , but not to the Lord. Small parts make up God’s big plan.
So if your wondering what am I to do, how will I fulfill my destiny and accomplish that plan that God has for your life
Paul in Eph 5
and 6 gives the simplicity of how to start:
Stay in fellowship with the Godhead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Be good to one another in the fear of Christ.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives…as Christ loves the Church.
Children, honor your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Workers, be good employees to your employers
Employers treat your employees without threatening them,
And the reason is given: For their Master is the same as yours and He is in Heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
So start by doing your best in those areas and watch what God can do. If you do those things and you will have the capacity for all that God has in store.
The events of Esther remind us of the truth of
“For evildoers will be cut off, those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there… The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him, For He sees his day is coming.
Esther also addresses the age old cry of man, “Why, LORD, does the wicked man seem to prosper, while the righteous at the hands of that wicked man so often to suffer?”
The Lord does indeed punish the evil man and deliver the upright man but it is according to His justice and His timing which is always better than ours would be.
The suffering of the just is as for a moment in this world, but the damnation of the wicked by The Lord…that is forever.
So in our short study of Esther in Ch 1-2, we met King Xerxes and his first Queen Vashti (which means beautiful) and saw the reason they divorced. The King then needed a new Queen. We then meet Mordecia and Esther and we saw how Esther became the Queen.
In Chap 3 we met the evil Villain Haman. And an important note to remember is that they…were descendants of King Saul, and the villain in the story Haman was a descendant of King Agag whom Saul failed to kill after being commanded to do so. 500
In chap 3 and 4 the story develops… Esther is the Queen at this time. Haman is promoted to great status and all those in the empire were commanded to bow to him when he passed by.
Mordecai refuses to do so because as a Jew he knew there was a true God and wouldn’t bow to Haman an evil Agagite. A lesson in knowing when not to compromise. We saw that Haman’s anger because of this one little Jew gets to such a point that he approaches the King and lies about all the Jews and tells the King it’s better to kill them all. They are unprofitable to the King. And the King says “Do with them as you please.” An amazing display of what arrogance can do and the danger of power without a spiritual capacity to handle it. A problem demonstrated throughout history.
During this time Mordecai who works outside the gates discovers a plot to kill the King and tells Esther and Esther tells the King and the plot is stopped and the men who had planned it were hung. An event that would play a key role later in the story.
So Haman had gotten the authority of the Persian King to murder all the Jews of the Empire (huge) on a certain day. Mordecai prays, and then he went to call on Esther to intervene with the King. Esther hesitated, at which point Mordecai spoke out to encourage her to take action in the face of this oncoming evil.
EST 4:13-14, Mordecai said to Esther, “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?”
Esther could have remained silent, saying to herself, “I am safe, I don’t need to worry”. Like many of us we say I have my place of security, like Let God use somebody else!” And He will, but we lose out in the process.
So like Esther, we cannot see the big picture of the life that swirls around us. But there is One Who can, the Lord Jesus Christ who controls history. Keep in mind that Esther had not revealed that she was a Jew. This fact becomes more and more significant as the story continues. Mordecai’s reason for refusing to bow was based on his religion and nationality as a Jew. The other servants warned Mordecai every day and finally they ratted him out and fueled the flames of the situation by reminding Haman of the fact that Mordecia refused to bow. Bowing to the rulers was viewed as worship to a false deity. There is a lesson there regarding compromise. We can certainly see the importance of standing for God’s will rather than man’s will regardless of the opposition.
Mordecai had to withstand the continual urging of his companions, who sought to pressure him to participate.
Many of us would have given in to the pressure But actions like that of Mordecai should give us courage to stand and do what’s right.
3:5-6, When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage…..
Haman had everything, but as we have we seen it was not enough. Haman’s downfall will be not getting over one little Jew who would not bow. By ordering the decree to kill the Jews the King was actually ordering the death of his Queen Esther whom he loved very much. But he didn’t know all of that yet. Later the King realized his mistake when he learned the true character of Haman. Haman was an evil companion who corrupted the King.
1 Co 15:33 says, Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.
We must be very careful of the influence people have on us and whose advice we take.
The decree said to destroy, slay, and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, including women and little children. People then were authorized to plunder the possessions of the Jews.
The one who is not mentioned in the story is Satan, although we can see his hand in it all, he was once again behind a plot against God’s people.
Mordecai knew Esther was in a position to influence the King, so he asked her to use her position as a means to save God’s people. The lesson here is that: When we face difficult circumstances, we may grieve that is normal, but ultimately we must trust God for deliverance from the problem. God may show you the action to take, we must be willing to do it, not to sit on sidelines and watch. Esther’s first reaction was much like that of Moses when God called him to go tell Pharaoh to release the Israelites. All she could do was to look at the difficulties and see them as obstacles and then make excuses. And she actually had some good arguments and excuses.
Like most of us, she hoped to find a different solution that did not involve danger. This reminds us that we to need to trust in God’s providence and promises, the fact that the Lord has said He will never leave us or forsake us and never give us more than we can handle. The situations we face not be as drastic as Esther, but we too have hardships. It is not that we face no hardships or that we can ignore the hardships. Rather, the nature of the situation is such that we need to act despite the hardships!
Mordecai knew that Esther had come to power as Queen for the very opportunity for her to be a part of His purpose and plan at that very moment in time. We can always be sure that God has a plan to carry out His will, and He has all the power in the Universe to accomplish His will. He could use Esther, but she still had the power to choose whether to respond to His will or not. If she chose not to do so, He would use someone else.
God’s will is not determined or limited by man’s choices, but the choices an individual makes will determine whether and how much God can use that individual.
So after three days (Divinity) Esther went to the King and said thus I will go to the King, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.
We all can admire and imitate such courage. We should be willing to serve God according to His will regardless of what price we may have to pay. No matter what the problems, difficulties, or dangers. If we perish, we perish, what a great line.
In Ch 5 Esther went to the King she obtained favor in his sight; and the King said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the Kingdom it shall be given to you.”
Esther said, “If it pleases the King, may the King and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”
She was worried, but isn’t it true that many of the bad things we fear never really happen. We should appreciate the courage this took. Her request would be difficult to make for several reasons:
1) She sought to defeat a decree made by the authority of the King.
2) She knew she had a powerful adversary in Haman, who hated Mordecai and the Jews.
3) She would have to reveal for the first time that she herself was a Jew. How would the King react to this?
But instead of death, as she feared, she had been offered half of the greatest empire in the world.
The King said, “Bring Haman quickly that we may do as Esther desires.” So the King and Haman came to the banquet which Esther had prepared.
At that banquet, the King said to Esther, “What is your petition, for it shall be granted to you. And what is your request? Even to half of the Kingdom it shall be done.”
Esther replied, if it pleases the King to grant my petition and do what I request, may the King and Haman come to the another banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the King says.”
The events that take place between the two banquets were essential to plan. Once again we see that the Lord was clearly at work, although even Esther could not have understood how at the time.
Haman left Esther’s first banquet feeling pretty good. He had been honored by the Queen, who had invited him personally to, not one but two banquets! But as he was going home, Haman was confronted with the one great grief of his life. He saw Mordecai at the King’s gate. No coincidence by the way. Mordecai still would not do what violated the law of God…to bow to Haman – he was convinced would be sinful. Haman was pissed and he went on home and called a gathering of his friends and his wife Zeresh to brag about his perceived greatness. Pump himself up you see.
Haman had a multitude of children, he had ten sons. This he thought it would impress his friends.
He had great power and authority.
The final proof of Haman’s greatness was his honor. he alone had been invited to accompany the King to a banquet with the Queen. And not only that, but he was invited back to another banquet the next day!
Haman like many was so inflated by his own greatness that he actually called his own brag session! Note that the measure of greatness to him, as with nearly all conceited men, consisted entirely of material things. The point is that there is a fleeting nature of such conceit which is based on material things. In his very next breath he will acknowledge how unhappy he still is. He doesn’t know it yet but he is just one day away from complete destruction.
Pride indeed goes before a fall. And let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall!
All these great honors and blessings, he says, are nothing to him so long as Mordecai sits at the King’s gate.
He was yet not satisfied. It all meant nothing to him, because one little Jew refused to bow to him! It was not enough to have wealth, family, and honor from the whole empire. This is typical of vain, greedy OSN. There is warning there…instead of counting our many blessings, we sometimes complain about the insignificant problems we have.
Instead of appreciating what we have received, we worry about some things we don’t have.
This also demonstrates the failure of material prosperity to satisfy. Those whose joy and happiness in life is measured by material things think that happiness will come only if only they could have just a little bit more.
So Haman’s “friends and family” had a solution for his dilemma! His wife and friends suggested that he simply eliminate Mordecai. They suggested he get the King’s permission to hang Mordecai. Then he could be truly happy and enjoy the banquet with the Queen! So Haman had the gallows built 50 cubits (75 feet high!)
Ego can drive a man to incredible disregard for others. He himself is so important that see others as nothing.
Once again there is the danger of bad advice from close companions who encourage us in sin.
Note the influence of his wife. Like Jobs wife, she instead became a curse to him by joining in giving evil advice.
Up to this point Haman had the upper hand and felt assured of success in his efforts to destroy Mordecai and then Jews.
Beginning with this very night, God’s providence will intervene. Hamans defeat would be complete in one single day.
That’s a lesson for us all, we must remember that arrogance is evil and God will deal with it in both believers and unbelievers.
So now in Ch 6
Two opposing forces are seeking the King’s favor to achieve totally opposite goals: Haman to slay Mordecai and Esther to deliver Mordecai and all the Jews.
6:1-3, During that night the King could not sleep so he gave an order to bring the book of records, the chronicles, and they were read before the King.
It was found written what Mordecai had reported concerning two of the King’s eunuchs that they had sought to kill the King.
The King said, “What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” Then the King’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”
So As the chronicles were read, one event mentioned was the fact that Mordecai had saved the King’s life, another coincidence that of all the records this would be one that is read, maybe. It is amazing to see how God uses such small things to bring about great purposes. But there are no small things in Gods glorious plan. God’s providence worked one of the greatest deliverances in history. And the first thing God used was the simply the insomnia of the King.
If God can use such small things for great good, don’t you think He can use you and me! You are here for just such a time as this. Having been reminded of Mordecai’s loyal service to him, his attendants informed him that no reward had been given.
So the King proceeded to search for a suitable reward.
Mordecai had made never made a request for a reward. However, ultimately he received the greatest reward he could hope for. There is a lesson here when man rewards you there is nothing but as Mordecai will see…when God rewards you…you are truly rewarded.
So as the King is asking the question Haman comes in and he is going to ask to take the life of Haman but the King asks him first “What is to be done for the man whom the King desires to honor?” And Haman said to himself, ….
He must be talking about me….I think you should put a robe……..
And so the King says to Haman Your right do all of that for Mordecai the Jew, who is sitting at the King’s gate; do not fall short in anything of all that you have said.”
At that time Haman had come to the Palace to make his request for permission from the King to kill Mordecai. He is orderd to honor him and it is all his idea.
From this point on the irony continues to grow. Again we see the incredible vanity of this man Haman… First, he did not even ask who was being discussed but simply assumed that it had to be himself who would be honored. This was indeed a little payback for Haman’s vanity. But it was only the start. His pride itself was punishing him! A lesson here, pride always punishes because it is evil. It is a self-inflicted wound. This is what sin does to people. Yet neither Mordecai’s reward nor Haman’s punishment were yet complete.
After honoring Mordecai, Haman went home covering his head. When he was honored, he gloated. When others were honored, he pouted. Amazingly, his wife and friends, who had so praised him the day before, now predicted his downfall! This is a lesson, the fickleness of friends, even some family especially when they follow a man for the sake of his fame, wealth, and glory. Some are fair-weather friends who, as quickly as they flocked to a man in his time of glory, will desert him when he falls. As his friends were making their predictions of Haman’s downfall. The call came from the King’s eunuchs for Haman to attend Esther’s second banquet.
He was feeling bad – but not nearly as bad as he would feel shortly. He was totally unaware of what lay ahead for him, for the worst was yet to come. Keep in mind the warning and promise of Psa 37
The stage is now set for Esther’s ultimate request. The King himself, by God’s providence, has a favorable attitude toward Mordecai that was brought to his mind early just that very morning.
In Ch 7: the King and Haman came to drink wine with Esther the Queen. And the King said to Esther
“What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to half of the Kingdom it shall be done.” 3 times he asked her that the # of divinity mayby that she was waiting for it…I want to meet her…
Esther said “If I have found favor in your sight, O King, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request; for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated.
Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I would have remained silent, for the trouble would not be commensurate with the annoyance to the King.”
The King asked Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would do this?”
Esther said, “A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!” Then Haman became terrified before the King and Queen.
Esther requested that her life and that of her entire race be spared, because they had been sold to be killed. The courage that Esther had in speaking was because she knew her cause was just and God was with her. We need to pray for God’s help and make preparations to do God’s will. But no amount of prayer or preparation eliminates the need for us to act when the time comes. There is no resolution with confrontation. Esther accused her adversary to his face.
Haman was at this banquet and heard her accusation, because she herself had invited him.
Having heard the Queen’s accusation, Haman was terrified. Note how quickly his boasting vanity had changed to what all people like Haman truly are: cowardice. The King had just, in Haman’s hearing, repeatedly promised to give the Queen anything she wants! Evil men tend to over-estimate their power. This is one reason why pride goes before a fall. Haman had been so proud of the fact that Esther had invited him to these banquets, but now he realizes that his decree had far more wide-reaching consequences than he had anticipated.
7:7-10, The King arose in his anger from drinking wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther,
Now when the King returned from the palace garden, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. Then the King said, “Will he even assault the Queen with me in the house?”
Then one of the eunuchs,
“Behold indeed, the gallows standing at Haman’s house fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai who spoke good on behalf of the King!”
And the King said, “Hang him on it.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, and the King’s anger subsided.
Just one day earlier all was going well for Haman, All had to bow to him and honor him, and his only problem was that one miserable Jew who would not. One day earlier he was so confident in his power and position that he thought he could simply decree to take the lives of all his enemies. Now one day later, he tries to beg a Jew to spare his own life! It didn’t work.
Notice how quickly cruel men can come to believe in the value of mercy! When he was in power and thought no one could stop him, he had no mercy. But now suddenly he became a great believer in mercy!
So here we have the great and final irony in Haman’s life, he was hung on the very gallows he had built to hang Mordecai.
So we see here the power of God’s providence. Using seemingly insignificant events, using human agents without violating any human volition, working often in ways no human can perceive at the time, God accomplishes His goals and takes care of His people. The importance of trusting God – Haman apparently had all the advantages and blessings we could imagine, although he had no respect for God. Esther and Mordecai trusted God. Those who trust God will always win in the end. In the end, evil men will be punished. If not in this life, then in eternity.
In ch 8 The king gave the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to Queen Esther; and Mordecai came before the King, for Esther had disclosed her relationship.
The King took off his signet ring which he had taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
There is more to the story. First, the King set Esther in charge over Haman’s house. She was given the great
wealth that he had bragged so much about. Haman also lost all his wealth to one of the very people whom he had sought to destroy! Mordecai was advanced and truly advanced because God advanced him. You are never truly advanced until God advances you and he does that when and if you have capacity. The lesson here is that all authority ultimately comes from the Lord…it belongs to Him.
There still remained, however, one major problem that the Lord would have to deal with. Remember the decree? Well it still stood. The real root problem had yet to be resolved; only the perpetrator of the problem had fallen.
So in Ch 8 Esther implored the King to avert the evil scheme of Haman the Agagite and his plot which he had devised against the Jews.
Haman’s decree outlived him. A good lesson here, the effect of our sins may continue on affecting our lives or the lives of others even after we have repented or even gone home to be with the Lord.
Sin has consequences. We may live in sin when our children are small; we may later repent and become faithful, yet they may choose to continue in that sin, I know it is their freewill but as a parent we are teach them.
8:7-9, So the King said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “write to the Jews as you see fit, in the King’s name, and seal it with the King’s signet ring.”
He then gave them permission to issue whatever decree they wished to make, The one thing they had to remember was that they could not directly revoke the previous decree; it must be allowed to stand, so they must find some other means to solve the problem. And then their decree would also be irrevocable. So they should be sure that it was the right thing to do. They should not repeat the error of Haman in issuing an unwise decree.
8:9-10, So Mordecai sent a command to the Jews, In every province in the name of the King.
This was two months and ten days since the original decree had been issued.
The Jews who were in each and every city were given the right to defend their lives, destroy, kill and to annihilate the entire army of any people or province which might attack them, including children and women, and to plunder their spoil.
This was to take effect on the same day on which Haman had originally decreed for people to destroy the Jews the thirteenth day of the twelfth month. All this, of course, did not technically reverse the original decree, but it had that effect in the end. As news of the decree spread to every province and city, the Jews there would rejoice with feasting and gladness. This lead the non Jews to fear to attack the Jews on the decreed day and would even lead many offer to to fight on the Jews’ side. In fact, many people even became Jews.
In CH 9 on the day the twelfth month of Adar, on the thirteenth day the Jews themselves gained the mastery over those who hated them.
Mordecai was great in the King’s house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for the man Mordecai became greater and greater.
Thus the Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying; and they did what they pleased to those who hated them.
Esther also asked that Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.”
Although they were already dead, they would be hung even as Haman had been and as he had sought to do to Mordecai.
Now the Jews who were in the King’s provinces assembled, to defend their lives and rid themselves of their enemies, and kill 75,000 of those who hated them;
Then Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Xerxes both near and far, obliging them to celebrate the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same month, annually, because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday;
Therefore they called these days Purim
and these days of Purim were not to fail from among the Jews, or their memory fade from their descendants.
The greatness of Mordecai was recorded in the written chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia. So these events are also written in secular history so they are not a myth or a legend.