Return from Exile: Esther 6-10 (4)
Pray Psalm 28.8, 9.
The LORD is their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.
Sing Psalm 28.8, 9.
(Angel’s Story: O Jesus, I Have Promised)
Our strength are You, O Savior, our strong defense and sure.
Anointed with Your favor, we rest in You secure.
Save us, and bless us, Jesus, upon us turn Your face.
With shepherd’s care, Lord, keep us forever in Your grace.
Read Esther 9.1-17; meditate on verses 3, 4.
1. Why did the regional governors help the Jews?
2. What happened to Haman’s sons?
Mordecai, we recall, was to be murdered along with all the other Jews in the Medo-Persian empire. God had other plans, and instead of his being brought down to the grave, he was elevated to the purple—well actually, blue and white (8.15)—and his fame and standing spread throughout the 127 provinces ruled by Ahasuerus (vv. 3, 4). Local officials, learning of Mordecai’s exaltation and the decree for the Jews to defend themselves, suddenly discovered just how much they loved the Jewish people and rushed to assist them in their defense (v. 3).
The threat against the Jews was thus downgraded by three things: the Jews’ ability to gather and defend themselves (v. 2); the assistance of the local officials; and a little common sense changing of plans on the part of erstwhile aggressors. Seventy-five thousand people were killed—including 800 in Susa (Shushan) over a two-day period (vv. 6-15)—in an empire that extended from India to Ethiopia.
Esther, I think, was just making sure—sure that Haman’s lineage was eradicated and that any lingering opposition would be eliminated—when she requested a second day for the Jews in Susa to carry out the king’s decree (vv. 13, 14). Nowhere throughout the empire, where Jews defended themselves against those who assaulted them, did anyone seek plunder for themselves (vv. 15, 16). All they wanted was to be left alone in peace, not to ransack their neighbors’ possessions.
God thus delivered the Jews through faithful Esther and Mordecai. Would they perceive that He had done this? Would those who had returned to Jerusalem? Will we?
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“You thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you,
and set them in order before your eyes” (Ps. 50.21).
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways, and
My thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55.8, 9).
The human tables turned drastically for the Jews and their enemies. “On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred, in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them” (Esth. 9.1).
Although there must have been godly and ungodly people in both camps, these kinds of disasters of man against man, are hard to understand, and even harder to imagine participating in. But the fact that the initial warfare was instigated by a heartless and cruel enemy of God’s people is undeniably true.
Vengeance belongs to God, and we are happy to leave it with Him. “You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross; therefore I love Your testimonies” (Ps. 119.119) “Therefore the LORD says, The LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, ‘Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries, and take vengeance on My enemies. I will turn My hand against you, and thoroughly purge away your dross, and take away all your alloy’” (Is. 1.24, 25).
Jesus added an attitude-check for disasters like this: When someone informed Him of the murders Pilate perpetrated against Galileans who had been sacrificing, He responded, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13.1-5).
We have not been called to annihilate enemies of the faith; we have been called to do what Jesus did: to give His life in service to others. His suffering, death, and resurrection offered forgiveness of sins and new life in His Kingdom. As for our calling, Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My word, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Lk. 9.23-26).
Esther and Mordecai did what they thought needed to be done. They were there for just “such as time as this” (Esth. 4.14). They were delivered by God for His purposes and His glory.
We, too, have been delivered from death to life. We cannot possibly understand, with our human minds, the grace of God that allowed this to happen. But it did. And we are thankful beyond comprehension.
Let us, then, take up our cross today, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to overcome and overpower our enemy Satan, and turn the table on him who “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5.8). “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jms. 4.7).
“Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God” (Ps. 50.23).
1. Why has God granted you salvation? How do you show your gratitude for this unspeakable gift?
2. We do not bear the sword of the world but the Sword of the Spirit. How do you expect to wield this glorious weapon today?
3. Whom will you encourage today to be faithful right where they are for such a time as this?
In addition to a fear of the Jewish people, there was also a fear of Mordecai among the leaders, which caused them to assist the Jewish people. Their motive may have been to protect themselves politically in light of Mordecai’s power and popularity. Earl Radmacher (1933-2014), NKJV Study Bible Note on Esther 9.3, 4
Pray Psalm 28.1-7.
Pray that God will bless you as He did Mordecai, to give you courage, faithfulness, and opportunities to serve others with His grace.
Sing Psalm 28.1-7.
(Angel’s Story: O Jesus, I Have Promised)
I cry to You, our Savior, O, be not deaf to me!
Lord, speak to me with favor, lest I should dying be.
Hear now my supplications when for Your help I cry.
Receive these, my oblations, before Your throne on high.
Lord, count me not among those who walk in sinful ways.
With words of peace their tongue glows while evil fills their days.
Your works they disregard, Lord, while evil fills their hands.
Destroy them by Your Word, Lord, and let them no more stand.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus, for He will hear our prayer.
His strength protects and shields us with mercy and with care.
In You our heart rejoices; You help us by Your Word.
To You we raise our voices to praise and thank You, Lord.
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.