Ester 2:1-23, 4:1-5, 7:1-8, 8
Oh my goodness, it’s like a 7thgrade algebra story problem figuring out what to read today… Hoping you “did the math” and got your reading done so we can look at Ester’s story together today. It is another beautiful example of God’s power and ability to use all kinds of people (with lots of different motives) to accomplish His plan… preserving a people group to bring His perfect Son to earth, making a way for us to have relationship with Him!
I know chapter 1 was not part of our assigned reading today but I have to start from the top. I honestly couldn’t remember why King Zerxes was looking for a new queen so I started reading chapter 1. The king threw a HUGE party, (the celebration lasted 180 days!) so he was feeling pretty good from the wine and made a request of his wife. He wanted to show her off in front of all the leaders of his kingdom. She refused him. He was mad! He gathered a bunch of friends (with ulterior motives) and asked their opinion on how to deal with the queen instead of thinking for himself and then followed their advice. So the queen got banished forever from the king’s presence and in time it seems like he started to second-guess the decision he made in anger about his wife. Turns out he did want a wife. So once more he asks his friends for help and they tell him to do a nationwide search for the perfect queen (or maybe the hottest virgin he can find) and this sounds pleasing (shocking, right?) to him so he agrees. A Jewish man named Mordecai had a job around the palace and heard about the beauty contest. He went home and got his beautiful, God loving cousin Ester entered in the contest. Out of many young women, Ester was chosen to be the queen. Mordecai stayed in close proximity to the palace so he could find out how things were going for Ester. He loved her and cared about her wellbeing.
Mordecai overheard a plot to kill king Xerxes while at work one day and quickly reported this news to Ester. Ester told the king, crediting Mordecai with the intel and the king did an investigation and found the report to be true. He impaled the two men on a sharpened pole for their plot to kill him. Some time later, the king promoted a man named Haman to make him the most powerful official in the empire. Haman decided that all the king’s employees should bow down to him as he passed by to show him respect. (Do you think he had pride issues?!?!) Mordecai refused to bow to Haman, because he was Jewish and loved God. This made Haman very mad and he decided to retaliate. Haman was so mad that punishing Mordecai wasn’t enough vengeance for him so he devised a plan to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes. Haman was a smart man who served a not so smart king, so he went to the king and told a vague version of the truth that the king believed (without investigating the facts). Haman got a law passed that stated that all the Jews in the land, women and children included, would be slaughtered on Mar 7 the following year. This is where Ester’s faith gets tested and the rubber meets the road for her. She has to talk to the king about this new law that is passed and try to get things changed around so that God’s people are not completely wiped out. No big deal right? Are they not husband and wife? The problem is that in the culture they live in, the queen cannot ask to be in the king’s presence. Only the king can call for his wife. Ester’s life is at risk for asking to speak to her husband. Ester is brave and invites the king to a meal where she explains the plight of her people, and her own fate because of Haman’s law. King Xerxes is furious about being tricked by Haman and impales Haman on the sharpened pole that Haman has set up to impale Mordecai on, and then the kings anger subsides. Justice! But there is still that law out there (that Haman had passed that cannot be revoked because it was signed by the king) that kills all the Jews, including Ester, on Mar 7 of the following year.
King Xerxes finally puts some smart and moral people around himself and replaces Haman with Mordecai. Mordecai was smart enough to come up with a plan that allowed the Jews to unite as a people to defend themselves and their property on Mar 7 of the following year, which God used to save the Jews lives and also to wipe out the rest of Haman’s family.
No matter people’s motives, position of power, or thinking capability, God’s plan will always be accomplished! He is more mighty than any human, more virtuous than any person, more loving than any being and will accomplish His truth no matter what people do to try to interfere. He will always win.