Esther 7-10
(Esther to the Rescue)
May 24th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews' enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her.

- Esther 8:1 (KJV)

Summary of Chapters

These three chapters record the complete reversal of the evil plans of Haman and conclude the book and story of Esther.

In chapter 7, we read that Esther finally ended the suspense by revealing her identity and issued her request to King Xerxes at the second banquet. The king was appalled that Haman had planned to wipe out an entire race of people and ordered Haman to be hanged on the gallows that Haman had built to hang Mordecai.

King Xerxes appointed Mordecai to the position previously held by Haman and allowed Mordecai to write an edict allowing the Jews to defend themselves. The king could not reverse his own ruling but was sympathetic to the plight of the Jews. Therefore, as reported in Chapter 9, on the day that the original edict was to be carried out “the tables were turned” (9:1 - NIV) and the “Jews struck down their enemies (9:5 - NIV).” They also received permission to hang the sons of Haman.

The Jews then celebrated the first feast of Purim and Mordecai declared that it should be celebrated every year in memory of this event. Chapter 10 concludes the book and notes that Mordecai continued to serve Xerxes as his second in command.

Reflection and Application

Esther is the central character in the book named for her, but Mordecai was working behind the scenes on every major event. Mordecai cared for Esther and advised her not to reveal her national identity when she was selected for King Xerxes harem. She was eventually selected from among all the other women to serve as queen, as described back in chapter 2. It was Mordecai who advised Esther to warn the king of the impending assassination plot, and it was he who advised her to ask the king to reverse the death sentence on the Jews. Moreover, his refusal to bow to Haman was a spark that began a fire among the Jews. Further behind the scenes, God was working through Mordecai, Esther, and Xerxes.

God was not mentioned by name in this book. Nor were any statements in the book explicitly attributed to him. He did not appear in a cloud or speak directly to Mordecai or Esther, but he was in charge of the whole string of events. He was invisible and invincible (1). God may be working the same way in our lives. We may not see explicit evidence of his presence, we may not directly hear his voice, but he is at work. He may be orchestrating events, giving us spiritual nudges, or otherwise working quietly on our behalf.

We must remember that God has ultimate control. Note that King Xerxes had the power to create laws, but even as king, he could not cancel a law that he had created – hence the edict suggested by Mordecai to allow the Jews to defend themselves. By contrast, God can intervene and interrupt or overrule his natural order at any time, as we have seen throughout the books of history (For example, split a sea, have food fall from the skies, make the earth open up, make walls fall down, etc, etc, etc.).

We can observe two types of models of behavior in this book and then choose which model to follow. We can allow our emotions to control us, as Haman did, and then eventually slip down the slimy slope of anger and jealously. The end of the path is not a pretty one. We read in this book that Haman’s plan for revenge was used against him, which is often the outcome for evil people, as noted by the author of Proverbs: “If a man digs a pit he will fall into it (Proverbs 26:27 - NIV).”

The other model is to follow God with unwavering loyalty, despite the costs. Esther and Mordecai were willing to risk their lives to save their people. Their actions put them at the risk of death, but God delivered them and rewarded them in proportion. God gives us the choice of which model we want to follow. But, as the lyricist Bob Dylan points out, you can’t serve both, you have to choose one master:

We may ask why God chose to protect the Israelites in this case, but not in other cases, and why he allows widespread suffering around the world. This is part of the mystery of God. One day we will know the answers, but in the meantime, we can chose to serve him by loving our fellow man and doing what we can to lift up and protect others, or we can chose to serve ourselves and live to glorify our own pride. You're gonna have to serve somebody.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What situations can you think of where you had to go to a person of high authority and make a bold request?
    2. What are the invisible ways that God has been working in your life this year?
    3. Which master are you going to serve today?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know you are present, even when we can't see you, touch you, or hear you. Help us to trust you despite our inability to understand all of your decisions.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Nation of Israel and its neighbors


    (1) Quote from Chuck Swindoll regarding the story of Esther, from Men's Devotional Bible, New International Version Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI; 1993 p. 500

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Overview of Job and Job 1-4

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