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The Scriptorium

Esther's Request Honored

A great and glorious reversal. Esther 8.1-17

Return from Exile: Esther 6-10 (3)

Pray Psalm 17.13-17.
Arise, O LORD,
Confront him, cast him down;
Deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword,
With Your hand from men, O LORD,
From men of the world who have their portion in this life,
And whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure.
They are satisfied with children,
And leave the rest of their possession for their babes.
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

Sing Psalm 17.13-15.
(Park Street: All You That Fear Jehovah’s Name)
Rise up, O Lord, and bring them low! Brandish Your sword, and save my soul!
With children they are satisfied; treasures fulfill their hope and pride,
treasures fulfill their hope and pride.

But as for me, Lord, save and bless! Let me behold Your righteousness.
Your face in glory I would see, and thus forever blessèd  be,
and thus forever blessèd  be.

Read and meditate on Esther 8.1-17.

1. What did
Esther and Mordecai ask the king to do?

How did the Jews throughout the empire respond?

Esther was honored and Mordecai was exalted for exposing the treachery of Haman. But Esther begged the king to spare her people from destruction (vv. 1-7). The king could not simply revoke his previous decree, for that would go against Persian law and call into questions his infallibility—an essential component of the remit of certain ancient kings and emperors. So a new decree would need to be prepared, and the king trusted Esther and Mordecai to draft it (v. 8).

This decree allowed the Jews to defend themselves against any who might assault them, but only on one day (vv. 9-12; however, see 9.13, 14). They were not allowed randomly to attack their neighbors or to plunder them. Rather, only those who assaulted the Jews could be targeted for destruction.

The document was sent by courier to every province and published in prominent places (v. 13). This new decree would have deterred a certain amount of the violence that had been planned, but not all. Nevertheless, the Jews throughout the empire rejoiced and feasted and had a holiday, even as the fear of them fell on their enemies (v. 17).

The Jews would be delivered, but not without some serious exertion on their part. God didn’t build the temple for them, and He wasn’t going to defeat their enemies without them putting up a fight. If they believed the Word of God which came from Esther and Mordecai, they would prepare and act accordingly. So must we.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor.
And in every province and city, wherever the king’s command and decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a holiday. Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them” (Esth. 8.16, 17).

Yes, indeed. I would imagine so!

But You, LORD, are on high forevermore.
For behold, Your enemies, O LORD,
For behold, Your enemies shall perish;
All the workers of iniquity shall be scattered” (Ps. 92.8, 9).
“Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies, and
Turn My hand against their adversaries.
The haters of the LORD would pretend submission to Him,
But their fate would endure forever.
He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat; and
With honey from the rock I would have satisfied you” (Ps. 81.13-16).

But isn’t that exactly what we want to have happen today?
Not that people would fear us; but that they would fear, honor, and respect God.
And that they would embrace salvation through God’s dear Son, Jesus Christ.
And be filled with the Holy Spirit to live out their calling—powerfully, lovingly, and persuasively. In their own Personal Mission Field.

Then many of the people of the land became Christians!
Our hearts long for that day. We cry out with Jesus:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem” (and our own cities as well)
“the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!
How often I wanted to gather your children together,
as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,
but you were not willing!” (Matt. 23.37).

But just because they were not willing, Jesus didn’t stop caring, nor did He digress from the job that He had been sent to do. “For the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (Jn. 5.36). “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (Jn. 19.30). And through His work, millions upon millions of people throughout history have been saved from the wrath of God, unto salvation and good works of our own, to the end that “many of the people of the land” may come to know and fear Him.

Our request honored.

For reflection
1. What will you do today to bring joy and gladness to someone in your Personal Mission Field?

2. Are you confident that you could explain the Gospel to someone? When might you have an opportunity to do so?

3. What fellow believers will you encourage today in their work in their Personal Mission Fields?

What Haman would have done mischief with, Esther will do good with. All the trust the king had reposed in Haman, he now placed in Mordecai: a happy change. See the vanity of laying up treasure upon earth; he that heapeth up riches, knoweth not who shall gather them. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Esther 8.1, 2

Pray Psalm 17.1-7.
Pray that God will give you courage today to do all His will, according to His Word, and to guard you against every temptation and sustain you through every trial.

Sing Psalm 17.1-7.
(Park Street: All You That Fear Jehovah’s Name)
Hear a just cause, O God the Lord! Gladly receive my plaintive word.
I cry with lips of purity: Look on my case with equity!
Look on my case with equity!

Let judgment from Your throne proceed. You have discerned my every need.
Let naught of sin in me be found, and from my tongue let truth resound!
And from my tongue let truth resound!

As for the deeds of sinful men, I will not walk those paths again.
My feet hold firm from first to last. Help me pursue Your righteous path;
help me pursue Your righteous path!

When I have called, You answered me, Lord. Hear now my fervent, seeking word!
Let kindness flow by Your command. Keep and preserve me by Your right hand,
keep and preserve me by Your right hand.

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.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

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.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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