Saturday, May 7, 2011
Esther Chapter 8
Esther Chapter 8
- On the same day that Haman was impaled on the pole he had set up for Mordecai, Xerxes gave all the property of Haman to Esther.
- Esther told Xerxes how she and Mordecai were related. Mordecai was called in before the king and Xerxes gave Mordecai his signet ring. Xerxes had given the ring to Haman when he gave him the right to write the decree ordering the destruction of the Jews. He took it back from Haman when he was killed... and now passed it on to Mordecai.
- So Mordecai has now taken the place of his enemy. To make matters more ironic... Esther puts Mordecai in charge of Haman's property. So not only has he taken Haman's place among the nobles and with the king... but now he has also taken possession of all his property. He has completely usurped Haman's place.
- Ever have an enemy you just can't seem to get rid of? They seem to follow you everywhere. They just make life miserable... Ever thought about revenge? Thought about taking a shot back at them?
- Mordecai never once actively took revenge against Haman. He refused to bow to him... but that's kinda passive. He never threw rotten vegetables at him as he walked down the street... or spray painted graffiti all over his house... or egged his car... or yelled at him in front of his kids... He never confronted Haman to demand an explanation for the decree he wrote... Never threatened his life...
- Mordecai just let everything play out. He let God handle the situation. He turned the other cheek so to speak and let God have His way. Was he scared? Worried? Sure! But he took steps to alter the situation... yet the never once stepped out in an overly aggressive manner towards another person.
- He went and asked Esther to talk to the king about the Jews situation. He prayed and fasted. And he sought God's help.
- And you know what? God rewarded that. When Haman's life was ended, Mordecai ended up usurping his former enemy's place.
- This is not to say that every time you have a difficult person in your life, just wait and see and you'll eventually get the better of them...
- This is simply to say that if you are faithful where you are and you honor God by your life, that He in turn will honor you.
- Matthew 5:21-26, 38-48
- Galatians 5:16-26
- Micah 7:18-20
- I Corinthians 6:1-11
- Romans 13:8-14
- Ephesians 4:17-32
- James 1:19-27
SET IN STONE
- Esther yet again goes before the king to beg for her life and the lives of her people. Wait... didn't they just do away with Haman? Isn't it over? Not exactly...
- When the king made a decree... it could never be taken back. There was no reversal... no veto process... once it was done, it was literally set in stone as law.
- So now, Esther goes before the king to see if he can do something about the law he set down.
- The king yet again held out his scepter to Esther, giving her the opening to speak.
- “If it please the king, and if I have found favor with him, and if he thinks it is right, and if I am pleasing to him, let there be a decree that reverses the orders of Haman son of Hammedathea the Agagite, who ordered that Jews throughout all the king's provinces should be destroyed. For how can I endure to see my people and my family slaughtered and destroyed?”
- Yet another one of Esther's very... nicely worded speeches. : )
- Xerxes speaks to both Esther and Mordecai: “I have given Esther the property of Haman, and he has been impaled on a pole because he tried to destroy the Jews. Now go ahead and send a message to the Jews in the king's name, telling them whatever you want, and seal it with the king's signet ring. But remember that whatever has already been written in the king's name and sealed with his signet ring can never be revoked.”
- Have you ever been faced with the impossible? Seems like no matter what you do, or how you do it, there's always something in the way of making any forward progress. For every step you take forward, something comes along and pushes or pulls you three steps backwards.
- Have you ever given up? Retreated from the fight?
- Satan's biggest weapon in our lives sometimes is doubt. He pushes those little thoughts into our mind that bring a doubt of success. “You'll never win this fight... just give up. Just quit. It'll make life easier if you just stop trying to work so hard at this. Oh look! Another road block! See! They just keep coming! I'm telling you, just give up!”
- Yeah it's easier to give up. And when you're halfway there and give up... wow... What if Esther and Mordecai had only fought half the fight? What if they had given up after Haman was dead and they realized they couldn't get around the decree because the king's word couldn't be revoked?
- Peter had one of those moments... Christ died... rose... appeared to the disciples, ascended to heaven... and Peter turned around and went fishing. It was like he was only motivated while Christ was physically present. As soon as Christ wasn't sitting beside him, he went back to what he knew how to do.
- When Christ called Peter to the shore from the boat... they were eating and talking and three times Jesus asked him “Do you love me?” It was like He was asking, “Are you going to follow through this time? Do you REALLY love me... or just kinda love me?Are you committed to seeing this mission accomplished?” (John 21)
- We have to be sold out to this walk. We can't sit down and take a break every time we start to feel a little tired. When we get thirsty, we have to keep walking until we get to water. We can't just sit down by the side of the road and wait on somebody to come walking along with water.
- Yes there is a time for rest. There is a time to find an oasis and take a minute to rest... but that time is not in the middle of a battle. If you take a break in the middle of a fight... you'll die.
- So when the fight gets hard, is there someone you know you can turn to to help you pray? To help you fight the battle? How will you stay committed?
- Hebrews 10:19-39
- I Peter 4
- So now to come up with a counter-command that doesn't conflict with the previous command... How many nights did they sit up thinking about that one...
- Finally on June 25th, the secretaries were summoned and a new decree was written as Mordecai dictated. It too was sent to all the highest officers, governors, and nobles of all the provinces of Persia, written in every language of the empire.
- The decree was written in the name of Xerxes and sealed with his ring... it couldn't be revoked either... It had to be taken seriously.
- Mordecai sent the decree out with the swiftest messengers on the fastest horses.
- The decree said that Jews in ever city were now given the authority to unite and defend their lives. They were now allowed to “kill, slaughter, and annihilate anyone of any nationality or province who might attack them or their children and wives, and to take the property of their enemies.”
- The original order to kill the Jews could not be revoked... but a way to defend themselves and deter an enemy attack could be provided. The decree was issued as law in every province and proclaimed to all peoples so that the Jews would be ready to take revenge on their enemies.
- And Mordecai... left the king's presence a little better off than he came... he left wearing the royal blue and white robe, a gold crown, and a fine linen, purple coat. Think there wasn't some celebrations that night in Susa?
- It says that “the Jews were filled with joy and gladness and were honored everywhere. In every province and city, wherever the king's decree arrived, the Jews rejoiced and had a great celebration and declared a public festival and holiday. And many of the people of the land became Jews themselves, for they feared what the Jews might do to them.”
- So not only did this whole mess produce a great rejoicing in the Jews and a praise of thanksgiving from them to God... but it also encouraged Gentiles, to become Jews... yes out of fear... but God can use a lot of things to open a heart to a new idea leading to a soul's salvation. And if fear of death is what it takes to get your eyes to see what God needs you to see... then so be it.
- If you are faithful to see the mission through to the end... God will honor you. Maybe not necessarily in this life... but the reward for remaining faithful will be great.
- Isaiah 8:20-9:7
- Psalm 74; 75
- Matthew 25:14-30
- Hebrews 3
- I Thessalonians 5:12-24
- II Thessalonians 2:13-3:5