Return from Exile: Esther 6-10 (2)
Pray Psalm 52.9.
I will praise You forever,
Because You have done it;
And in the presence of Your saints
I will wait on Your name, for it is good.
Sing Psalm 52.9.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Thanks evermore to our Savior be raised! His faithfulness be ever praised!
Here with Your people, loving God, I wait upon Your Name, so good!
Read and meditate on Esther 7.1-10.
1. What did Esther reveal to the king?
2. What happened to Haman?
The drama of chapter 7 reminds us of an Agatha Christie mystery. Esther’s revelation that she was a Jewess (vv. 4-6) suddenly caused everything to come together in the mind of the king—Mordecai, Haman, Jews, the king’s decree, and his wife. Haman’s response was immediate (v. 6). His subterfuge and deceit had all been revealed, and he knew he was in trouble.
Artaxerxes (Ahasuerus) was so angry he stormed out of the room, perhaps that he might think more clearly about what to do next (v. 7). When he returned, he saw Haman draped over the couch where Esther sat and assumed he was assaulting her (v. 8). He didn’t need to think about what to do next. Haman was taken and hanged on the gallows he had constructed for Mordecai (vv. 9, 10), the king having been reminded of just who Mordecai was (v. 9).
We suspect that Haman was more a thug than a man of literature. Had he read Solomon’s proverbs, which were certainly available in Susa, he might have thought twice about his scheme (Prov. 7.14-16):
Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity;
Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood.
He made a pit and dug it out,
And has fallen into the ditch which he made.
His trouble shall return upon his own head,
And his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown.
They who choose to ignore, neglect, or simply disbelieve the Word of God will be captive to their own folly and hoist on their own petard. Haman learned this the hard way, as would those who had returned from captivity in Jerusalem.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established” (Prov. 16.3).
Esther’s wisdom and ability to think on her feet was most evident in this scene. Ahasuerus posed two questions to her:
1. “What is your petition, Queen Esther?”
2. “What is your request?” (Esth. 7.2)
Esther’s wise and well-thought response:
1. “Let my life be given me at my petition.”
2. “Let my people’s life be given at my request.” (Esth. 7.3)
Both questions answered succinctly—clearly, precisely expressed in a few words; concise and terse.
Ahasuerus’ reaction is a moment to be cherished:
Who is he?
Where is he?
Who would dare to presume in his heart to do such a thing?
I once heard an interview done with the late author Sue Grafton. When asked how she got into writing novels she answered that she was going through a contentious divorce, which dragged on for years, and she would lay in bed at night and fantasize about all the ways she could rid herself of him. Knowing that she could not lawfully do any of them, she began to write about people who did.
It is very likely that many of us have also been in situations that were untenable, painful, and cruel. Situations not unlike Esther’s (albeit less royal). We too, like Sue Grafton, cannot take matters into our own hands.
But we have a God Who sees everything that happens.
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth” (Ps. 34.15, 16).
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chron. 16.9).
And we have a God Who will take care of righting all wrongs:
“Vengeance is Mine, and recompense…” (Deut. 32.35).
“…the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment…” (2 Pet. 2.9).
Haman was guilty. Haman got what was coming to him in the end (Prov. 26.27).
God declares not only Haman to be guilty, but all humanity. As much as we like to despise folks like Haman, we are all equally guilty in the sight of our holy God: “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…” (Is. 65.6). “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Rom. 3.23).
Even though this is our Reveal, He has other, more gracious, plans for us:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us” (Rom. 5.8).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8.1).
Haman, Mordecai, Ahasuerus, and Esther were all real people.
They each had a life to live and choices to make. Three chose wisely, one poorly.
God is always Sovereign. Always watching.
Let us wisely choose to serve Him during our time in history.
1. What can you do each day to help make sure you choose wisely to serve and obey God?
2. Do you have people in your life who encourage you and hold you accountable in your walk with the Lord? Should you have such people?
3. How does knowing God is sovereign and always in control help us to have courage, like Esther, to live for Him?
It is written in the book of Proverbs: “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on the one who starts it rolling.” So also Haman was forced to support the cross that he had prepared for Mordecai. Rabanus Maurus (780-865), Explanation on the Book of Esther 10
Pray Psalm 52.1-8.
Pray that God would foil the plots of those who persecute the Church, and that He would cause His churches to grow and flourish despite the opposition of their enemies.
Sing Psalm 52.1-8.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Why do the mighty boast in sin? God’s love endures, it knows no end!
They with their tongues vain boasts repeat, and like a razor, work deceit.
Men more than good in evil delight, and lies prefer to what is right.
They utter words, both harsh and strong, with their devouring, deceitful tongue.
God will forever break them down, uproot, and cast them to the ground!
He from their safety tears them away, no more to know the light of day.
The righteous see and laugh and fear, and say, “Behold, what have we here?
Such are all who at God conspire, and wealth and evil ways desire.”
But as for me may I be seen in God an olive ever green!
Ever in God, most kind and just, shall I with joy and gladness trust!
T. M. and Susie Moore
Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.