If you’re just joining us, I invite you to read the previous posts in this study.
Esther 5 ended with a plan to hang Mordecai. Haman had gallows built to carry out Mordecai’s execution. As he needed permission from the king to carry out his plans, he swiftly made his way to the court.
However, the same evening, King Ahasuerus, unable to sleep, asked that the book of court records be read to him. His servant read over the section where Mordecai uncovered the plan to assassinate him years prior and informed Esther of the plot to kill the king.
The report caught the king’s attention and he inquired of what was done to thank Mordecai for his unparalleled act. The servant responded that Mordecai had not been rewarded in any fashion. Thinking of a reward for Mordecai, the king asked if any of his trusted advisors or officials were around just as Haman arrived.
The king requested that Haman comes in and he poses a question: “what should be done for the man the king delights to honor? …” (Esther 6).
Haman, certain that he is the person in question, provided the following response:
… “For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’”
King Ahasuerus agrees with Haman’s proposal and asks that he carries out everything he said for the Jew Mordecai.
Haman went on to do as the king ordered. But once he was finished and Mordecai returned to the king’s gates, Haman covered his head in shame and went home. The same friends and spouse who suggested that Haman has Mordecai hanged now recanted. They, upon hearing what happened to Haman, told him that his downfall before Mordecai was certain since Mordecai was Jewish.
The story takes an incredible turn to further reveal God’s providence, a theme that has been seen in more implicit ways throughout the book. God caused a sudden case of sleeplessness to fall on the king and he placed on his mind to have the book of memorable deeds read to him.
The language in the text suggests that this is not normal for King Ahasuerus. He does not suffer from insomnia. Secondly, after an evening of festivities and wine drinking, it would stand to reason that he would pass out (pun intended) once he laid his head to rest.
However the danger that awaited the child of God would not permit him to sleep. The circumstances of the moment were divinely ordered.
As you can imagine, the book of records was likely extensive. Yet, the servant read how Mordecai had told about the two eunuchs at the gate who planned to harm King Ahasuerus.
What does this mean for us?
The same God who took charge of this situation reigns eternally. He is in charge of the situations in our lives as well, no matter how out of control they may seem. God does not allow His children to stand alone in the battle line. In due time, He conquers every battle.
Delayed Recognition, Delayed Answers
In a previous post within this series, we discussed delayed rewards. I invite you to read the entry.
As this chapter is clearly a portrait of God’s providence, I thought of these often unwelcome “delays” in terms of the Will of God.
There are often things that we pray for or desire from God, but it seems as though He is unresponsive to our prayers. We wait…and wait…and wait.
Our attitude in the waiting period reflect the contents of our hearts.
Too often we grow weary, impatient or outright angry because we are being made to wait. We do not always understand or appreciate the waiting period.
Instead of waiting on the Lord’s deliverance, we tend to create our own solutions. One such example is that of Father Abraham and Sarah who grew tired of waiting on the Lord and decided to take matters into their own hands. They invited Hagar into their marital relationship and it bore all kinds of heartaches (Genesis 16:2).
We have to be careful not to sin while we wait. The Israelites did so while Moses was on the mount in the presence of God. They grew tired of waiting and decided to make themselves a golden calf to worship. This cost them greatly (Exodus 32).
How often do we turn our attention from God when the wait seems long?
Don’t Fret about Your Enemies
Our enemies will fall before us at the right time because they are no match for our God. God will not only deliver us from the hands of our enemies, but He will cause them to be a source of blessing for us in spite of their intentions. For this reason, we have to reason to worry about the plans that men devise against us, for God is Sovereign.
If you have made enemies because of the cross and message of Christ, be encouraged. Christ and the first believers endured the same hardships and treatments.
John 15:18-21 reads,
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.
More importantly, we know that there will come a day when the Name of Christ will be exalted.
Philippians 2:9-11 assures us of that:
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Who Advises Us Matters
Haman went home in a depressed state, explained his embarrassment to his friends and wife, only to be told that he was sure to be defeated.
While their words are true, I could not help but think of the fact that executing Mordecai was their idea in the first place. As the saying goes, “with friends like these, who needs enemies?”
There is another lesson here for us from Haman’s circle: the wicked abandons us when the waters become treacherous. If our friendships do not mirror the love of God and if our friends advise us to do that which displeases the Lord, it is time to assess and reconsider the source of our counsel and the company that we keep.
Proverbs 13:20 instructs us that
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Are there friends in your life that you need to point to God? Are there friendships that the Word of God has instructed you to sever?
Heed the advice of the Holy Spirit in your life and invest in godly counsel and friendships, for the right friends will sharpen you and help you to grow deeper in the things of God.
Trust the Lord to fight your battles and know that He will honor you before your enemies at just the right time.