Christ Community Church
Part 6, Esther the Hidden Hand of God
Sunday, July 19, 2020
- Open The Eyes Of My Heart
1 John 1:7NKJV
- O Praise The Name (Anástasis)
- Bind Us Together
- It Is Well With My Soul
- Pride’s DownfallPride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.Last week we talked about Haman’s rise to power. He quickly became the King’s right hand man, something like a Prime Minister. Haman finances the future destruction of the Jewish people, and the King gives Haman his Signet ring, so Haman virtually has the power of the king to do whatever he wants.Now Haman as dined with the King and Queen Esther, and he is about to return for a second time for another banquet of wine.Haman must have been feeling good and proud of what he had accomplished in such a short time. But in unique fulfilment of the Proverb I began with today, it is destruction which awaits Haman, just around the corner.So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther. And on the second day, at the banquet of wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”The King is very curious. He probably isn’t used to people putting him off. Esther put him off in her original request. She put him off again yesterday, by asking for a second banquet with Haman today.Esther wastes no more time. She bluntly tells the King that she and her people have been sold for destruction, meaning that their lives could be taken.She even says that if they had only been sold as slaves, she would have remained silent. That is an amazing statement, being that they have recently come out of 70 years of slavery under the Babylonian Empire.The King is angry, and demands to know who would do this?So King Ahasuerus answered and said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would dare presume in his heart to do such a thing?”Hidden in the Hebrew in this phrase which the King speaks in verse 5 is God’s Name which He gave to Moses at the Burning BushChuck Missler says: This is the “I AM,” the very name o=God announced when He delivered His people out of the land of Pharaoh in the past, and who has now come to deliver them again out of the hand of Haman.Esther points her finger straight at Haman.And Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman!” So Haman was terrified before the king and queen.You better believe Haman is terrified. He can see his life unraveling before his own eyes, as he is powerless to do anything.The King marches out into Palace garden. He was probably ready to kill Haman with his bare hands, so he leaves to try to control himself.However, when the King returns he finds Haman fallen on top of Esther, and assumes Haman is trying to sexually assault her. In fact, the NIV uses the world molest, for what the King assumes is happening.Then the King’s eunuch, Harbona suggests to the King that the 75 foot tall gallows which Haman built to execute Mordecai be used for Haman’s execution.The King’s quickly decided, “Hang Haman on it!”Pride indeed went before Haman’s fall!In chapter 8 we see further retribution agains Haman. The King gives Esther Haman’s Estate. That must have been worth a lot, since Haman had a few million dollars to pay for the destruction of the Jewish people.Esther appoints Mordecai over Her new estate. The King gives Mordecai the official signet ring. Now Mordecai has been elevated to the position of Prime Minister!Things are not quite as good as they seem. What good will all this do for Esther and Mordecai? The edict that all Jews should be killed later in the year is still out there. Not only in the capital Shushan, but all across the Persian Empire.We need to remember that once the King made a law, it could not be changed. The King reminded them that Mordecai has the signet ring, and told Esther and Mordecai to fix the problem.Here is what they did.By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives—to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions,on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.Basically, from the time this decree allowing the Jews to defend themselves, they had a little over 8 months for this new message to reach all provinces from India to Ethiopia. Just less than 9 months for the Jews to prepare for their defense.In a very short period of time. The Jewish people in the Persian Empire went from being slated for execution, to being able to defend themselves, should they actually be attacked on that day.How did this affect the Jews?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.Centuries earlier, when Joshua sent spies into Jericho, the spies discovered that the people of Jericho were afraid of them because they had heard how God parted the waters of the Red Sea, and they crossed on dry ground. Then God destroyed their enemies in Pharaoh’s army.When the spies hear this, the crossing of the Red Sea was already 40 years in their past, yet the people of Jericho still feared the Jews.These are God’s way of orchestrating events behind the scenes. These things show the evidence of God’s hidden hand at work in situations we cannot see until they have happened.So, we know that many people in the Persian Empire would not participate in the trying to kill the Jews, simply because they were afraid.However, not all were afraid, and as is true today, there are still people dedicated to the destruction of the Jews.Let’s see how the story unfolds in Esther, chapter 9.If you look at the next slide, you see a phrase I pulled out of verse one of chapter 9 which summarizes what happened.
On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurredIf I hope to overpower you, and the opposite happens, what happens to me? That’s right, I am overpowered by you.The underdog wins.If you recall when Modern Israel became a nation in 1948, the Muslim countries around them vowed to drive the Jewish people into the Mediterranean Sea. Did that happen? No it did not. In fact, the amount of land, the Jewish people originally agreed to receive in 1948 was less than the amount of land they had after fighting their war of independence.Back in Esther’s day, we see that the balance of power shifted to having the King’s officials, satraps, governors and all doing the King’s work, helped the Jewish people. This was because Mordecai had become Prime Minister.We see something very important in chapter 9 about what the Jewish people DID NOT DO TO THOSE WHO ATTACKED THEM.
but they did not lay a hand on the plunder.The Jewish people were simply defending themselves. They were not out for retribution or gain.However, if you remember, the edict which Haman put out in chapter 3 was not only for the destruction of all the Jewish people, but to get all their wealth too.And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions.This reminds me of a story I heard from Brigitte Gabrielle, a Lebanese Christian, who lived on the southern Border of Lebanon, which is the Northern border of Israel.Christians in both Lebanon and Israel are in the minority. Yet, Brigitte had grown up around Muslims in Lebanon who spoke about how evil and heartless the Jews were.One day, the Muslims parked a truck with a rocket launcher in front of Brigitte’s home. They fired the rocket into northern Israel. Then quickly drove the truck away.Today’s weapons can track a missile and determine where that missile was launched from. The Israeli’s fired a missile to hit that point, which was in front of Brigitte’s home.Brigitte’s mother was injured in the blast. The closest hospital was in Northern Israel. But she dreaded taking her mother to a place where she would not be treated, or not treated well.But she took her mother anyway. Brigitte told how amazed she was at how kind the people were. How they went out of their way to treat her mother.What she learned was that the Jewish people in Northern Israel were not the monsters she had been taught about. Brigitte is a strong supporter for Israel today.We see this response of the Jewish people in Esther’s day reinforced a two more times in chapter 9, verses 15 and 16 it repeatedly says,
but they did not lay a hand on the plunder.So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them,because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that is, the lot), to consume them and destroy them;but when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letter that this wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them,the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who would join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time,that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.Back in verse 26 is where the Jewish festival “Purim” gets its name. The Pur was like a die, and Purim is the plural, like we would say dice.Back in chapter 3 Haman cast a Pur to see which day the Jewish People would be killed. Because God reversed this atrocity, Mordecai and Esther established that every year the Jewish People would celebrate the festival of Purim.Purim 2020 started at sundown on Monday, March 9 and concluded at nightfall on Tuesday, March 10. Next year,2021: Purim will be observed onFebruary 25-26HamantaschenThe N.Y. Daily News describes these as: “triangle-shaped cookie pastries with fruit or savory filling. The treat is said to look like Haman's tri-cornered hat or his ears ("oznei Haman" in Hebrew). Sweet hamantaschen are most popular, with poppy seed, chocolate, date, apricot, or apple filling, but some bakeries (like Bread's Bakery) are getting into savory fillings, like eggplant, mushroom, or different meats and cheeses.”As you can see Purim is still observed by Jewish People throughout the world. It has happened for centuries, and God-willing will continue for several hundreds of years more.Esther closes on a high note, with this final verse from the book at the end of chapter 10.For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen.Do you remember six weeks ago when we started this series? I told you that Esther’s name had two meanings.Esther means either star or it means hidden.We have seen God’s hand in the background of this story doing what God does best. Loving His people. Providing for His People, Caring for HIs People.God presence is seen much in the way Elijah experienced it after Elijah ran away from Jezebel and hid in a cave on Mt. Horeb/Sinai.You have the slides of the text in front of you.Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.Too often we look for the majesty of God in the majestic, when after all, God may be showing up speaking in a still small voice.This is how God reveals his Hidden Hand in the book of Esther.So, I close with these two very important questions. I ask you, and I ask myself as well:ARE YOU LOOKING?ARE YOU LISTENING?Amen, Now may the Shalom of God which passes all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen!
1 Kings 19:11NKJV
1 Kings 19:12NKJV
- Benediction, As You Go On Your Way...
- Be Magnified
- Your Name
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