In celebration of the Feast of Purim, we are going to take three days and look at different aspects of the Book of Esther and what it held for the time it happened and what it means for Christians today. We will not be able to look at every verse and chapter, so I encourage you to take time and read and pray through the book of Esther this week.
THE BEGINNING AND THE SHIFTING:
King Ahasuerus was hosting a banquet and everyone was having a good time. As usual, much wine was being consumed. Esther 1:10-12, 19-20 NASB “On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. Then the king became very angry and his wrath burned within him. (19-20) If it pleases the king, let a royal edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot be repealed, that Vashti may no longer come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to another who is more worthy than she. When the king’s edict which he will make is heard throughout all his kingdom, great as it is, then all women will give honor to their husbands, great and small.””
With Queen Vashti’s refusal we see the hidden hand of God at work. Esther is the only book in the TANAKH (The Hebrew Bible) that does not mention God’s name, yet, throughout the story we see His hand moving things behind the scenes to protect and favor His people.
Because she refused the king’s request a search was made for a new queen. A Jew named Mordecai told Hadassah (Esther) his uncle’s daughter to go the process of preparation and not tell anyone who she was. Esther found favor with the king and was made queen.
THE HAND OF GOD FOR FUTURE FAVOR:
Esther 2:21-23 NASB “In those days, while Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s officials from those who guarded the door, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. But the plot became known to Mordecai and he told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name. Now when the plot was investigated and found to be so, they were both hanged on a gallows; and it was written in the Book of the Chronicles in the king’s presence.”
This interruption to the story is another setup by the hidden hand of God to protect and favor His people. This plot against the king is interrupted by a Jew and because of this the enemies plot against the Jews later doesn’t quite turn out like he wanted.
THE PLOT, THE PLAN, AND THE PLEA:
After that event the king decides to promote a man named Haman. Haman becomes enraged at the fact Mordecai won’t bow to him so he has the king write a decree to kill all the Jews. The decree is sent out and the Jews are in distress. When Esther finds out about the decree she instructs Mordecai to have all the Jews fast for three days.
In the midst of facing death, before Esther springs into action she calls for a fast. Stop and think about that. How many of us when we are going through a much less stressful situation just operate in our own strength and understanding? Fasting puts our flesh in line. That place in line is second to our spirit man. Fasting enables us to get the mind of God on a matter. When you’re facing a big decision or an unexpected situation, don’t let your emotions take over, put them under the control of your spirit man.
THE BANQUET AND THE FLIPPED SCRIPT
Esther put her life on the line by going to see the king without an invitation but she obtained favor and the king extended the golden scepter. The king asked her what she requested and she asked that the king and Haman attend a banquet she would host. When Haman heard of the invitation his pride went through the roof and he bragged to his friends. Scripture says pride goes before the fall and Haman is about to find that out.
The night before the banquet the king can’t sleep so he asks the records be read to him, because that will definitely put you to sleep. It just so happened that the story of Mordecai was read. The king asked if anything had ever been done to honor him and nothing had been done.
The King wanted to ask how to honor someone and it just so happened that Haman was in the courtyard. The story picks up in Esther 6:6-12 NASB “So Haman came in and the king said to him, “What is to be done for the man whom the king desires to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king desire to honor more than me?” Then Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king desires to honor, let them bring a royal robe which the king has worn, and the horse on which the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown has been placed; and let the robe and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble princes and let them array the man whom the king desires to honor and lead him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him, ‘Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor.'” Then the king said to Haman, “Take quickly the robes and the horse as you have said, and do so for Mordecai the Jew, who is sitting at the king’s gate; do not fall short in anything of all that you have said.” So Haman took the robe and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor.” Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried home, mourning, with his head covered.”
That is one of my favorite parts of this whole story. Mordecai didn’t seek an honor for what he did but it was bestowed on him anyway. Not only was he honored but Haman was taken down a few pegs as well.
Even with this setback Haman still had the banquet to look forward to.
THE FALLOUT AND THE FAVOR
At the banquet Esther finally asked the king of her request, the life of her people. Haman is hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Things have definitely turned around. The Jews have been delivered from the plot of the enemy but God doesn’t stop there. Esther 8:1-2 NASB “On that day King Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to Queen Esther; and Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had disclosed what he was to her. 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.”
TURNAROUND! PLUNDER! FAVOR! Just a few days ago their lives are being threatened and now, not only is the guy who threatened them hanging from his own gallows, on top of that Mordecai is given his house, his possessions and his position!
And God doesn’t stop there. The king issued a second decree that the Jews could defend themselves against anyone who would try to kill them.
We may not always sense or see how God is moving in our lives but the story of Esther is a reminder of the hidden hand of God in our lives. Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for the good of them that love God and are called according to His purpose.
As I said in the beginning of this post, read and pray through Esther. Be encouraged by the goodness of God in this story. Pull away in prayer and fasting over your situation and expect to receive the mind of God on it.
Purim is a time to remember and celebrate the miraculous protection of God’s people, the deliverance from the plot of the enemy and the favor of God in any situation. Not just any type of favor but favor you couldn’t dream of without His influence.
Get in the Word concerning deliverance, protection and favor this week. Expect God to move on your behalf this week. Expect freedom and favor! Expect abundant harvest!