Right place, God’s Will, our Surrender
Esther 5:1 “Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the kings house,…”
Obedience to a command from God, we often think, will turn out well….
Yet here, Esther, a Jewish woman, made queen in Persia, stands in a place of complete surrender….not to the command of God,….but to the Will of God.
You may say that there is no difference….but the Will of God transcends “good”, and “bad”.
It is what God intends done, how He intends done, and for the Purpose which pleases Him.
(As believers, we obey His commands or not; but we “fit into” His Will by surrender to Him….whatever happens.)
(Someone has written that God and prayer, is ever mentioned in this book…and it is true. These people, when they had the chance to return to Israel, and build lives in the land God gave them, refused….for they now had lives in Persia.
But equally true, is that wherever His people are….He has His eye on them.
He does not forget them, but brings His Will to pass,….even through them; and for them…..though it is not in the same personal way He does for those who gather close to Him.)
Persia had conquered Babylon and had given invitation “to all of a willing heart to return to Israel and build a house for God”, to do so.
They had, and God had helped them….though they had many enemies.
Yet, now, things are going to take a dramatic turn. Back in Persia…..
Two things happen: The king, Ahasuerus, wants a new queen….and a Jewish woman, Esther is picked as one of the choices.
And Haman, an Agagite (a descendent from a people who, since Israel came out of Egypt, have sought to destroy them….down through the generations Exodus 17:16)……this man comes to power, in the king’s court.
This is a battle brewing which is amazing to read…..for behind the scenes is God working His Will….even in the things which seem to work for His people’s hurt.
Esther is the niece of Mordecai. And when Esther is taken to court, Mordecai tells Esther not to lie about her heritage, but only to keep quiet about it.
Esther 2:17 “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight…..so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen…”
And when she is chosen as queen, he warns her again, to hold her peace….at that time there was no danger….but soon enough, there will be.
He will be at the gate, sitting each day, if she needs to send a message to him.
(During this time, Mordecai has a chance to do the king some kindness: he overhears two men servants plotting the kings death…and he sends word to Esther. She tells the kings servants in Mordecai’s name, and they stop the assassination plot….and the deed is written in the Chronicles of the king Esther 2:21-23)
Esther 3:1-2 “After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman….the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.
And all the kings servants, that were with him in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman:…”
Here comes the trouble. Haman is promoted above everyone else! Exactly the kind of power this evil person would want. Real influence with the king, and in court….people bowing….this is the life.
But a man who sits at the gate…..and yes, this is Mordecai….does not bow to him.
Esther 3:2,5-6 “….but Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.
And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.
And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had showed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.”
What should he care?
But it infuriates him…..so much so, that he finds out that Mordecai is an Israelite….and he begins a plan….to destroy him and all his people—everywhere in the kingdom.
(As I said….the Agagite of the Amalekites, were sworn enemies of Israel…and he is taking vengeance, not just on Mordecai but on every last Israelite he can.)
Now, let me ask you….was it God’s Will that Mordecai not bow? Or just an occasion to the Adversary, the devil, to stir up trouble?
(True conviction is of the Holy Spirit…and if followed, will lead to more knowledge of God’s Will for ourselves…..but it must needs be followed through, no matter what it costs you.
Mordecai had the conviction for himself that he could not bow to an enemy of his people, so….he did not bow. But it could bring terrible trouble not just for him, but for his people.)
Haman now had to persuade the king to make a decree for all the Jews to be slain.
(It is interesting to note, that the decrees of the Medes and Persians were unbreakable…”altereth not” (Daniel 6:8)….but we will see how God changes what man decrees, and does all His Will.)
Haman goes to the king with a lie…”there is a people…their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them (put up with them)”. So Haman offers money to the king to pay for the cost of destroying them. The king believes Haman, and so the plan is made.
Then, Haman casts lots for the day of his vengeance…..
Esther 3:7 “In the first month,….they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month….”
…and when he does, he places his plans unwittingly under the Will of God….for the lot—like dice thrown in chance—is ruled by God. (Proverbs 16:33)
The slaughter was to be in the last month of the year, a whole year away.
It was then proclaimed through the nations under Persia….and when the Israelites heard it, they wept, and lay in sackcloth and ashes.
What could be done?
But God is not upset…His plan is already in motion, although unseen.
Mordecai did not know what to do….but he showed the decree to Esther, and asked her to talk to the king. She was saddened, but she did not know what to do either.
Even she could not go into the king, unless she be called…..and she hadn’t for thirty days.
And if she did without being called she could be killed…..unless he would hold out his scepter to her.
Mordecai realizes this is why she was there….and even though she was afraid, he was faithful, and told her the truth (“speaking the truth in love” Ephesians 4:15):
Esther 4:13–14 “Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shall escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed:
And who knowest wither thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Now was the time, to stand up and be shown as an Israelite…no matter what the outcome for her or her people. Her duty was shown to her….now it was up to her.
(This is a word in due season… Proverbs 15:23. How many times, we too need a word given us, to remind us of Jesus’ Way for us)
Plainly, after hiding in the palace for some time, Esther did not want to show the king her people. If she was out of favor, she could do no good…for them or herself.
But Mordecai’s words brought her to see the situation clearly…..and her duty.
Mordecai believed that Israel would survive….somehow. He might die, and she might die….but deliverance would come;…..but he thought maybe Esther was “come into this position,….to do this very thing.”
Esther 4:15-16 “Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise: and so I will go into the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”
This was not said in despair or passion, but in holy resolve to do her duty….no matter what happened to her.
And so she did her duty….she came into the court…..and was accepted by the king.
Esther 5:2 “And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favor in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the scepter.”
The king asks her, What is thy request?
Esther does not charge right into the matter, but….knowing the king,….she invites him and Haman to a banquet for the next two days, where she promised to tell the king what is on her mind….
They come to the first, and Haman is proud as a peacock in his privileged position;……bragging to all his family and friends.
In between the two days, the king can not sleep…..(and here is the amazing part):
The king hears in the Chronicles which are read to him,….(to help put him to sleep)…..about Mordecai’s saving him from assignation.
But what had been done for him, as a reward? Nothing…..so…
The next morning, Haman, so full of pride, comes into the king….wanting to talk of killing Mordecai, that very day….no waiting for the rest of the Israelites….he wanted his blood now.
But, he gets a surprise…the king wanted to honor Mordecai for saving him!
Esther 6:6, 10 “So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor?
Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself?
Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew,….”
The very person Haman wanted dead, he had to help honor……this was not what he had planned….but God has more surprises for him.
In the second banquet, Esther tells the king of Haman’s plot to destroy her people….he listens to her, and ends in destroying Haman.
The enemy is destroyed, but what about the unchangable decree against the Israelites?
How will God take care of that?
Well, the king promotes Mordecai….telling him that the decree can not be altered…..
….but, he can do what he can…..
And God made a way: they made a second decree….so that the Israelites could destroy all those that would come against them…..signed by the king….backed up by the king.
and that sent fear into their enemies,….and stopped the massacre of the Israelites!
Against all odds….God saw to His people.
And the principle is the same for us.
How many times things seem impossible and against us, and Him….but He is working His Will….perhaps puffing up those proud rebels….just enough to destroy themselves.
Perhaps putting us in a place of duty, to do His Will,……speaking His Word faithfully.
Psalm 94:21-23 “They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.
But the Lord is my defense; and My God is the Rock of my refuge.
And He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.”
God still sees to us….His Will is still being done.
Let us surrender to our part in it.