7. EZRA, NEHEMIAH & ESTHER

Lesson 106: Esther 5:1-2…

Esther 5:1-2 Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

Instead of making her request at once, Esther invited both the king and Haman to a banquet. Haman felt honored to be included, but afterward he encountered Mordecai, who disrespected him again. Not content to wait for the killing of all the Jews, Haman planned to execute Mordecai early. So he set up a pole on which to have him impaled (Esther 5:14).

Esther 6:1-2 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed . . . two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes

This episode occurred years earlier, but was never brought to the king’s attention. As a reward, the king required Haman to lead Mordecai throughout the city on horseback, all the while proclaiming, This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor! (Esther 6:11). Haman became alarmed as things began turning against him. How could he put to death a man who saved the king’s life?

Here we see the invisible hand of God working on behalf of his people. God is the one who kept the king awake, so he would request the account of his reign be read to him, so he would discover what Mordecai had done for him. God was not working miraculously, but providentially. In fact, this how he normally works.

Sometimes God takes center stage, but he usually works behind the scenes. Either way, God is in control of everything that happens. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Matthew 10:29-30), said Jesus. Our heavenly Father is always in control, so we never need to be afraid. 

Esther 7:1-2 So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet, and as they were drinking wine on the second day, the king again asked, Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted

When the King learned that Esther was Jewish, he became so angry at Haman, for his plan to kill the Jews, that he left the room to think. Haman fell on the couch where Esther was reclining and begged for his life. When the king returned, it appeared that Haman was molesting Esther, and Haman’s fate was sealed. He was impaled on the pole that he had set up for Mordecai. 

Mordecai was then given Haman’s position, and he began to defend the Jews. Since the first decree could not be repealed, Mordecai and Xerxes wrote a new decree, permitting the Jews to defend themselves (Esther 8:11). Some attacks were made, but God’s people were victorious. Mordecai made the next two days a holiday, to be celebrated each year with feasting and gifts (Esther 9:20-22). This is the origin of the festival of Purim.

Notice the many coincidences that made this outcome possible. Coincidentally, Esther became queen. Coincidentally, Mordecai discovered a plan to assassinate the king. Coincidentally, the king was sleepless shortly before Haman planned to have Mordecai killed. Coincidentally, the account read to the king was the record of Mordecai saving his life. Taken together, these comprise a conspicuous providence. God was clearly at work to save his people.

Esther 10:3 Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.

Mordecai was faithful to God, faithful to God’s people, and faithful to the king. As a result, he was promoted to the highest position under King Xerxes. It may have seemed like a dream, but it was real life.

Likewise, those who are faithful to Jesus Christ will also be promoted. Imagine Jesus saying to you, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness! (Matthew 25:21). Perhaps it will seem like a dream to us, but it will never end. Now is the time to be faithful.

Reflection and Review
What is a conspicuous providence?
Is every coincidence significant?
Why is faithfulness important?