Sunday, May 1, 2011
Esther Chapter 7
Esther Chapter 7
- So we left Haman feeling rather down, but looking forward to Esther's banquet. His one bright spot for the day...
- The king and Haman go to the banquet. Yet again, while they're drinking their wine, the king asks Esther what she wants. The suspense is killing him... lol.
- “Even if it's half my kingdom, I'll give it to you.”
- Esther replies... keep in mind that she's had 4 days or so to prepare this speech... and she's had the entire Jewish population in Susa praying and fasting for this very moment...
- “If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request, I ask that my life and the lives of my people will be spared.”
- Wow. Xerxes has to be freaking out right now. Wonder if it suddenly dawned on Haman. Wonder if he had figured it out yet. Or was he still sitting there in the bliss of the moment still wrapped up in “Ah. What a man I am that the queen would treat me to a banquet!”
- “My people and I have been sold to those who would kill, slaughter, and annihilate us.”
- Xerxes—“Whaaaaaa? Since when! How do I not know about this!? There's a threat to my queen and I haven't heard about it? Is there a threat to me too? Who would dare!?”
- “If we had merely been sold as slaves, I could remain quiet, for that would be too trivial a matter to warrant disturbing the king.”
- Ecclesiastes 7:11-12, 19; 8:1
- Proverbs 4:4-13
- James 3:13-17; 1:2-12
- That statement says a couple of things...
1. Esther had a way with words... or God knew exactly what she needed to say and how...
- I don't want to say that she was manipulative in her speech... but it was definitely cleverly worded.
- I mean basically... this is what she said: “If it were such a small thing as slavery... you know... oppression... chains... eh... I wouldn't have bothered you... but since it's a little bigger than that... If you have time in your busy schedule... and you still like me... even a little... could you maybe think about saving my life? You know... if it's not a bother...”
- Way to pull on the heartstrings there Esther...
- Matthew 12:25-37
2. Israel has been enslaved before... technically still kinda are. Yes it would've been a big deal and there would have been sorrow... but I can see them just rolling over and saying “Oh Lord! Have you forsaken us again!? Oh well... we'll just have to bear it. We will accept our penance and continue to do whatever we want... because it's not so bad in the long run.”
- Had it just been a matter of slavery, I don't think they would've fought it. I don't think there would've been the same desperate cry to God. Which is exactly what they needed to do.
- Sometimes, God puts us in hot water because He needs us to buckle down and get serious. When we get apathetic or lukewarm, God has no use for us as a vessel.
- We have a tendency to go about our lives drifting. We don't pay attention to God's voice or direction. We do the minimum.
- Sometimes it takes the threat of death to wake us up to God's reality.
- I would like to say that I've never been there, or never will be there... but apathy attacks us at every turn... Ever have a busy week? Life takes over and you realize somewhere along the line that you haven't taken the time to talk to God.
- Or “God, I'm too tired tonight to really pray... so I'll just say a quick one and catch up tomorrow...”
- Israel had A LOT of times like that. They constantly drifted away to other gods. God tried slavery. It didn't wake them up out of their sleep. Oh sometimes eventually it did. Their oppressors would take a step too far and Israel would cry out to God. Or part of Israel would cry out to God...
- But this time... Persia had created kind of a comfort zone. There wasn't really a NEED to cry out to God.
- They were living and subsisting quite well. They weren't oppressed as before. Why go back to Jerusalem? For that matter, why go back to God? They didn't need Him...
- My brother had a line in a song a little while ago about God not being our “wishing thing”.
- God's not a genie. He doesn't grant whatever 3 requests we have and that's it.
- But Israel sometimes had that view of God. They'd wait until things got REALLY bad before they'd turn back. Most of the time they had to be so far beyond the end of themselves that they really had no other options period.
- Had it just been a matter of yet again being enslaved... I don't think the people would have asked Esther for help. I think they would have just let things play out...
- How far does God have to go to get your attention? Does He have to beat down the walls around you for you to notice anything? Does He have to light the path with neon signs and megaphoned directions? Does He have to send the threat of death your way? How far will you make God go to make you pay attention to His will and direction?
- Acts 17:16-31
- I Kings 8:22-53
- Ezekiel 14:1-23
- Hosea 11; 12; 13; 14
WHO IS THE MAN?
- Regardless, the king responded as hoped.
- “Who would do such a thing? Who would be so presumptuous as to touch you?”
- Mwahahahahaha Victory!... well almost... Wonder if Haman got it yet... Or if he was sitting there wondering right along with the king... “What idiot would dare to threaten the queen! I mean do they not know who Xerxes IS!?”
- Well if he didn't already have it figured out... Esther's reply definitely left no doubt.
- “This wicked Haman is our adversary and our enemy!”
- YIKES! “Haman grew pale with fright before the king and queen.” I bet he did. What idiot would dare to threated the queen? Him. He Himself... Uh Oh.
- Worst day ever? He had had to parade his most hated enemy around all morning declaring that he was the one the king wished to honor. Then his family and friends suddenly turned on him and his base for all his anger and rantings fell out from under him. And now to find out that the queen herself... the one bright spot he thought he had left... is also one of the hated Jews? And apparently in enough favor with the king to have some pull...
- Now had Haman not been caught off guard... he probably could've come up with something like “My king! I!? I would never! I had no idea! If she is a Jew, she has infiltrated the palace. SHE is the one planning your demise! Remember I said they were crafty and would be the ruin of this nation... SHE is one of them! Just like Vashti, yet another queen will dishonor you!”
- However... He was so taken aback... that he couldn't say anything.
- Jeremiah 12:1-17
- Psalm 37
- Had I been Xerxes, I think I would have smacked Haman right then... but he didn't. Why? Well... if you think about it... he was probably in a little bit of a conundrum. Who does he trust? His most trusted noble. His friend who has been in the palace spending time with him just about every day? Or the new queen... who he hasn't even thought to call in to him in over a month? I wonder how much Vashti was suddenly on his mind. Was he thinking of a second queen's betrayal? Was he distraught at the idea that he couldn't find a queen worthy of the title?
- Instead of turning on either one of them, he got up and walked out into the garden. Maybe he was used to trying to control his temper. Maybe he was trying to figure out who to trust. Whose side should he take? Maybe he was just so in shock that he needed time to clear his head... needed some time to process and didn't want anybody to see that he was shaken...
- While the king was out, Haman threw himself on Esther's couch to beg for his life... Right about the time the king walked back in...
- “Will he even assault the queen right here in the palace, before my very eyes?”
- “BBBBBBut... I was just...”
- Yeah... whatever Haman... lol I think had Haman maintained his cool... the king might have taken his side. I mean this is the most trusted noble in the land... and he's a man. Esther is just property... and he's already had one queen betray him. But when Haman threw himself at Esther to beg for mercy... it kind of... sealed his fate. Showed his guilt.
- As soon as Xerxes spoke, it signaled Haman's doom and the servants covered his face.
- footnote- “A veil was placed over the face of someone condemned to death because Persian kings refused to look upon the face of a condemned person.”
- Then one of the king's eunuchs, Harbona, says “Haman has set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet tall in his own courtyard. He intended to use it to impale Mordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination.”
- Oh that settles it... if he's trying to kill the man who saved the king... I mean... that pretty much seals his guilt.
- “Then impale Haman on it!” YeeeeeeeeeeeS! I mean not to be happy at someone else's misfortune... but... The good guys are winning out! : )
- So they took Haman and impaled him on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Poetic justice right there... Or ironic justice...
- And so the king's anger subsided.
- I wonder if he ever regretted killing Haman... He was his advisor etc....
- As much as that sounds like an ending... the story still continues on... but that's for next week : )
- Matthew 7:1-2
- John 5:19-30
- I Kings 8:22-53
- Ezekiel 14:1-23