God Behind the Scenes-Esther 8-10
Esther-God Behind the Scenes • Sermon • Submitted
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In last weeks message we noted that:
1. It is at our weakest points when we are most Dependent on the Power of God to Sustain us .
2. God does permit, and sometimes even puts us into situations that are more than we can handle. But the key is they are more than we can handle on our own. Those times take place to bring us to the point of complete reliance on Him.
3. God’s timing isn’t always convenient, but it is always perfect. We need to trust that He is sovereign and always in control, even when we may not see His Hand in ways we would like to.
We were also reminded of the truth that:
Repentant Hearts Always Move the Heart of God.
Whenever the Heart of God Moves, the Hand of God Follows.
This week we conclude our study in the Book of Esther. I sure hope you have enjoyed this journey through the pages of Esther as much as I have! This has been a rich study of the faithfulness of God, of His providential Hand always at work, sometimes behind the scenes, in a way designed to bring glory to His holy name. Of His power at work and of His perfect timing in all things.
This morning, as we finish the Book of Esther, we will be looking at chapters 8-10. If you haven’t already, turn to Esther 8 in your copies of God’s Word. It is page 525 in the Pew Bibles.
To begin with we find out in verses 1-6 that while: Next Slides
The Perceived Enemy was Dead and Gone, The Real Enemies Plan was Still In Pay.
You may recall from our study a few weeks ago that we determined that Haman ultimately was not the real enemy, but more of a tool in the hand of the real enemy, who is Satan himself. We talked about how we need to be careful looking at individuals, even those who may oppose us and our walk with Christ, as our enemies. That we should be careful to not harbor any bitterness or hatred towards these individuals, but instead be praying for them. While this may not be something we see in the Book of Esther, it is something that was patterned for us by Jesus as He hung on the cross.
Additionally, there is likely a very important reason of why the Book of Esther shows no compassion on the household of Haman. You may recall from early in our study of the Book of Esther, that Haman was a decedent of King Agag, an Amalekite king. The Amalekites were sworn enemies of the Nation of Israel, not just Israel but also God Himself, and were the first people to attack Israel after they escaped their slavery in Egypt. Because of that, God promised that one day they would completely be destroyed.
Many Biblical scholars believe that the Amalekites represented sin, and that was the reason why they were to be completely destroyed. This destruction was supposed to take place when King Saul battled against them, but Saul disobeyed the command of God, as a result the Amalekites were still in existence in Haman. When Saul refused to honor the command of God, he was basically saying that he didn’t want to rid the Nation of evil, of sin.
So here in the Book of Esther, when we see no compassion being given to the family of Haman, it is representative of Mordecai and Esther saying, we will finally fully obey the command of God and destroy the Amalekites.
This is a key lesson for us in the Book of Esther. Esther teaches us that we are to rid ourselves of all sin, Next Slides
Victory in the Christian Life will never come if we Hold onto sin.
just as they rid themselves of Haman and all of his son’s. We will never win in our battle against sin if we allow sin to remain in our lives.
With those things in mind,
Let’s look at these verses together.
1 On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her. 2 And the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. 3 Then Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet and wept and pleaded with him to avert the evil plan of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. 4 When the king held out the golden scepter to Esther, Esther rose and stood before the king. 5 And she said, “If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. 6 For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?”
As we look at these verses, let’s review what we have learned in the past weeks about an edict of a Persian King. An edict of a Persian king cannot be reversed.
Simply put: Next Slides
Satan’s Plan to Destroy the Nation of Israel and Thus God’s Plan for Redemption was Still in Play.
Let’s read on:
7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. 8 But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.”
I’m not sure King Xerxes knew what to do at this point, because he understood he couldn’t reverse his own edict, but Mordecai had proven himself to be both loyal and wise, so he left the decision up to Mordecai. Next Slides
The providential Hand of God is at play in Mordecai.
as we see in verses 9-14.
9 The king’s scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. And an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews, to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language. 10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king’s service, bred from the royal stud, 11 saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods, 12 on one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 13 A copy of what was written was to be issued as a decree in every province, being publicly displayed to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take vengeance on their enemies. 14 So the couriers, mounted on their swift horses that were used in the king’s service, rode out hurriedly, urged by the king’s command. And the decree was issued in Susa the citadel.
While the edict of destruction could not be withdrawn, this new edict permitted the Jews to assemble together and to fight any who tried to destroy them. By the way, this brings to light an other important truth for us as believers. The Jews were told to “gather and defend their lives”. The important truth for us is this: Next Slides
We are Stronger Together, Than We are On Our Own.
This life we live as believers is not meant to be lived alone, we need each other. In Hebrews 10:25 we read: Next Slide
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
As we read on in verse 17:
17 And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them.
Many Biblical scholars believe that what is taking place here is that the fear isn’t so much of the Jew’s themselves, but of the God of the Jews, who in 70 days had completely undone the plans of the wicked Haman. They had watched as the Jews had been saved and how their mourning had been turned to rejoicing and they wanted to be a part of that. None of the gods they bowed to could accomplish what the God of the Jews had accomplished.
That brings us to another important truth for us: Next Slides
When the Joy of the Lord is Present in Our Lives, People are Going to be Curious.
and their curiosity will in many cases open the door for us to share about our Awesome God.
About 8 months have passed between the end of chapter 8 and the beginning of chapter 9. In the story of Esther, we have now reached the day Haman had arranged to have all the Jews killed. We see in chapter 9 a complete reversal of the expectations of Haman and Satan, the one who ultimately controlled Haman.
Of course this is a regular theme in the Book of Esther: Next Slides
God Thwarting the Plans of Satan. (Esther 6:11 & 13; 7:8 & 10; 8:9-10)
I want you to notice 2 phrases in verse 1 & 2 of chapter 9 that I believe are very telling: Vs. 1 “the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them.” & Vs. 2 “And no one could stand against them”.
When we read in verse 1 that “the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them.” The Hebrew phrase used here implies a complete power or dominance—like that of a king over a land. The picture we see in these two phrases is that the favor of God was now resting on His people.
Of course we need to remember that the only reason God’s favor was now resting on them was because they had all participated in a time of fasting & prayer which most certainly included repentance. Their hearts had changed, and as we have said several times now:
Repentant Hearts Always Move the Heart of God. And that: Whenever the Heart of God Moves, the Hand of God Follows.
As we read on in chapter 9 we see God give the Jews great victory over all of their enemies throughout the Persian empire. In the end 75,800 of their enemies were killed. On top of Haman being hung at the end of chapter 8, his 10 sons were killed in chapter 9.
God had accomplished so much in the days following their fasting, prayers and repentance that they instituted a special feast on what was the be the day of their destruction, to this day they continue 2 days of a special celebration. This special feast is called: Next Slides
The Feast of Purim.
Purim is from the word Pur, which was the casting of lots. That is what Haman did to determine the day of destruction for the Jews. What was to be a day of destruction had now become a time of feasting and celebration.
You see that is what our God does, He takes the plans of our enemy Satan and He turns them on Satan’s head. Oh we may not see it happening, because God’s time table is perfect, and there are many times it appears that Satan is winning, but in the end, like we see in the Book of Esther, God wins, and He wins big.
His providential Hand is at work, often times behind the scenes, in His time and for His glory. And that brings us to the end of the Book of Esther. In conclusion, I’d like to read you John McArthur’s concluding statement for the book of Esther, I really love what he wrote;
“Where is God in the book of Esther? Well, the real hero in the story, the real power behind the story, is never mentioned, but it is God. His hand of providence is manifest in every single tiny detail. His presence is more powerfully and dominantly visible here than maybe in any other story of this complexity in Scripture, though He’s never mentioned. His providence is at work in filtering down 25 million women to one, a Jew, chosen to be queen. His providence is demonstrated in Mordecai, being in a place where he could hear a plot and warn the king. His providence, his power, his superintending sovereignty can be seen in the night that the king can’t sleep and decides to read the royal record and out of all that could have been read to him, what is read to him has to do with Mordecai being unrewarded. And even Haman’s timing is perfect in the purposes of God.
The invisible hand of God is evident everywhere, everywhere. The absence of God here (as in God not being mentioned by name in the book) is, I think, intentional…intentional. It is an ingenious strategy by the writer to draw the reader to think deeply about how life’s circumstances are ordered to the divine purpose. These are not coincidences—too many. This is not random. There is a designer. There is a coordinator. There is a power behind all of this. God literally thunders through the book of Esther. There are no miracles in the book of Esther, but the whole thing is a miracle of divine providence. People, places, time, action—it’s more than miraculous. Not Haman, not Satan using Haman, could destroy the people of God, could put an end to the Abrahamic and Davidic promises, to the promises of the preservation of the nation for the coming of Messiah and the ultimate salvation of Israel. No one, no matter how they attempt to destroy the people of God and the purpose of God, can succeed because God’s covenant love for Israel will be fulfilled, is being fulfilled.
And the message for you is this. While you’re going through life and trying to make sure you fix all the little pieces of your life, understand this: that there is over and in, above and below your life a divine architect ordering every detail. And if you belong to Him and are in the covenant of His love, He is accomplishing His perfect will. And you can rest in that, you can rest in that.
The Lord is still on the throne. These are challenging times, challenging days to live in. You can become pretty distressed about the way things are going, the way things are going in the world is chaotic, disconcerting, troubling, disturbing, distressing, some ways frightening. Not so in the kingdom. The divine architect is ordering our lives, those of us who belong to Him and are in covenant love with Him. He is ordering our lives to His eternal glory, every part. How wonderful to live in that confidence, amen?”
Let’s close in prayer.