REVEALED

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HORRORS FOR HAMAN

The banquet of Esther came as the queen prepared to make a brave request.  The king had offered her half of his kingdom, but she waited until now to make her request.  Women in Persia were not treated better than they are today in modern Iran.  The previous queen had been banished for being rebellious.  As with any court of judgment one could not be sure of the outcome.  When men make decisions, they are not always righteous ones. 

So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.  And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.  Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:  For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage.  Esther 7:1-7

Esther doesn’t ask for favor, except that her life be spared.  Until now neither the king nor Haman knew that the queen was one of the condemned Jews.  She would have been quiet if only destined for slavery, but she made a petition only when her people were marked for extermination.  The king is about to learn that Esther was condemned with her people by Haman.

Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?  And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.  And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.  Esther 7:5-7

The king knows that Haman has used him and he is trapped by his own royal decree.  He is angered by the lie of omission and goes outside to vent a bit.  Haman makes another mistake that is misinterpreted by the king.

Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.  And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.  So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.  Esther 7:8-10

The king mistakenly believes that Haman is about to rape the queen at this point.  While Haman is not guilty, others cover his face as if he should be ashamed to show his face.  And when you are down, everyone steps up to point out all of your other sins.  Harbonah volunteers information about the gallows intended for the king’s friend Mordecai.  He included the detail that the gallows was 150 feet high, seemingly to show off Mordecai’s dead body in a public display.  That provided the convenient sentence for this extremely short trial and guilty verdict. 

Esther began with prayer, and only sought the lives of her people.  She entered a dangerous mission but did not set all of these events in motion herself.  God roused the king from his sleep to remember the good deed of Mordecai earlier.  Prayer moved other events so Mordecai would be honored to Haman’s horror.  And Haman’s own wife was moved to suggest building the gallows.  Mordecai had requested that Esther keep her nationality secret, to provide this last surprise.  God was working behind the scenes like a master chess player…CHECKMATE!

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UNSEEN

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HONORS

Haman had a good night’s sleep, dreaming about seeing Mordecai hung on the gallows built in Haman’s yard.  But the king did not have a good night’s sleep.  He had developed a passion to review ancient history, to read the old newspapers.

On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king.  And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.  And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him.  And the king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.  And the king’s servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in.  Esther 6:1-5

The king still doesn’t know that Mordecai is the cousin of queen Esther.  But he knows that Mordecai is the friend who revealed an assassination plot against the king.  So now he thought to honor the man for his loyal service.  Seeking some good advice, he calls Haman into the room to advise him.  Haman’s mind is not prepared for the question he will have to answer now.

So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?  And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour,  Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head:  And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.  Esther 6:6-9

Well, Haman seems to understand to “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”.  He just didn’t understand that he really was doing unto another…who he hated.  How swiftly a dream of vanity vanishes like a soap bubble in the wind!

Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken.  Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour.  And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered.  And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.  And while they were yet talking with him, came the king’s chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.  Esther 6:10-14

So Haman had a bad day at the office.  His loving wife had advised him to build a gallows for Mordecai earlier.  Now she and their advisors went all negative on him with a forecast of doom and gloom.  What are friends for? 

A man of faith would know that evil comes from Baal and not from God.  And a woman of faith would offer encouragement to resist that evil, to wait on God for deliverance.  But then these two had no clue about what God was doing.  God knew what he was doing, and the winds of change were beginning to blow for Haman.

ILL ADVISED

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RISK

The fate of all Israel is in the hands of Esther.  She must risk a death sentence to make a petition for her people against the death penalty advised by Haman.  She had obtained the prayer and fasting of the nation for her deliverance.  Now she prepared to present herself favorably before the king in his private court.

Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.  And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.  Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.  And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him.  Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.  Esther 5:1-5

Esther went all out with her best royal garments, and won favor from the king.  She observed the ritual of submission in touching the royal scepter.  The king was in love with a beautiful and supportive wife, and he was ready to give her wealth and power.  He recognized that a good wife is his better half, and that half of his kingdom really was hers by right.  But Esther was not going to push for power and wealth, presenting only a modest request.  She knew that she could wait on the Lord for the right time to make a greater request.

And the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed.  Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is;  If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to morrow as the king hath said.  Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.  Esther 5:6-9

Again the king expects Esther to seek the things that he treasures of the material world.  Haman is a witness with a full stomach and Esther only asks for him to attend another banquet.  After a great meal, he is willing to come back for more, and he leaves with joy at the good times coming to him.  Then he sees that Jew who has rejected the laws of Persia.  Mordecai cannot bow to man if he is to please God, so he is breaking a law of Persia.  Haman changes instantly from joy to hatred. 

Now this still happens today.  Don’t we see drivers who fail to signal turns or block the traffic lanes?  No matter that they are old and feeble; we want to have our perfect traffic world.  And young drivers racing over the speed limit earn wrath from the very people who did the exact same behavior in their youth.  Why do we let the “Accuser of the Brethren” take us on an instant trip from joy to hatred?  Should I lose the joy of walking my dog because one old goat screams about the dog taking a few steps on his lawn?  Or is the joy of the Lord unconditional?  Well, Haman had no such source of lasting joy.

Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife.  And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king.  Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king.  Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.  Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made. Esther 5:10-14

Haman is cooling off by telling his friends and family how good he has it.  It sounds like Facebook, grand dad is telling us all about his wonderful grandchildren and the joy of retirement life.  To top the good life off, he has favor with the king and queen…but

it all pales at the insult of one uppity Jew.   His whole life is soured by one thorn in his flesh, one obnoxious religious freak! 

I remember a children’s teacher who saw one of our young men serving as the youth pastor.  He was unable to forgive the young man’s past misbehavior in classes even now that he had turned to serve the Lord.  He was so angry about the past that he missed the joy of today.

Haman gets some advice to build a gallows and to ask the king to hang Mordecai on it.  His wife and friends seem ready to guide him as Jezebel guided Ahab…straight to Hell. 

SHATTERED

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THINGS THAT GO CRASH IN THE NIGHT

The message reached Mordecai, and he understood that this was the death warrant of his nation.  The evil of Haman was aimed at everyone, Mordecai, Esther, men, women, and the children of Israel were all included. 

When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;  And came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth.  And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.  So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.  Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king’s chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was.  Esther 4:1-5

Mordecai acknowledged the ritual of a petition of distress to God with sackcloth and ashes.  Humility and the cry of the oppressed are recognized by God.  But the king’s court expected more elegant attire, and he could not enter the gates.  The same distress and cry spread throughout the Jewish community, and word of it came to Esther.  She thought she could offer fresh clothing to Mordecai, but he was obliged to dress for spiritual warfare.  With her clothing rejected, Esther had to learn what the emergency was about.  She sent her messenger.

So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king’s gate.  And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them.  Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people.  And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.  Esther 4:6-9

The bad news delivered here was not unlike the purges of Jews in more modern times.  However in Persia, all the Jews were in areas occupied by their enemies.  The danger was extinction of the whole Jewish race.  Esther got the picture.

Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai;  All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or women, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.  And they told to Mordecai Esther’s words.  Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.  For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:10-14

Esther had to tell Mordecai about the law that could have a death penalty for entering the king’s chambers uninvited.  Not even the queen could be confident to do that without a chance of being executed.  We have already seen what happened to a queen who displeased her king.  Esther is challenged by Mordecai to have courage to act for their people of Israel.  He reminds her that God may have had this very purpose in placing her as queen from the beginning.  Now we know that God does that because we were called into new life in Yeshua.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  Romans 8:29

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,  Ephesians 1:11

Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,  Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.  So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him. Esther 4:15-17

Esther accepts the challenge on the condition that all Israel will be in one accord in prayer and fasting.  She will face the danger and approach the king with all possible preparation.  With the assurance that spiritual warfare has been engaged we should have the courage to live for truth in this life.  This life is only the entrance exam for the real life.  Mordecai understood and delivered the army of prayer as Esther had asked.

OF THE FLIES

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FLY IN THE OINTMENT

Life in Persia was going well for Esther and Mordecai.  Isn’t that some kind of a signal for trouble?  If the devil is the “Lord of the Flies” then Haman is definitely one of his flies.  He’s on the job for his boss.

After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.  And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.  Then the king’s servants, which were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king’s commandment?  Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.  And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.  Esther 3:1-5

Why do those who prosper have to lord over others?  Are they so insecure on the top that they feel compelled to weigh down every potential climber around them?  I am provoked by this in my travels too.  People who live in Arizona’s retirement communities may have a house in the north and another in the Sun Belt.  Some travel back and forth in a third house on wheels.  I do that too, but it is only a 16 foot version.  When they have their secure retirement, a house, medical insurance and warm weather they should be care free, right?

So why would they come running out the front door screaming about a dog that leaves a few footprints on their gravel yard?  If the owner was guilty of leaving a pile, perhaps a complaint is justified.  But one went on to suggest that I get rid of my dog.  I had lost my career, my wife, and my home at the time.  If she were willing to give up all that herself, perhaps she would then understand why I wanted to keep my last friend.  Well Haman saw a little man who revered God more than man.  He could not let someone else threaten his big fat pride.

And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.  In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.  And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them.  If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.  Esther 3:6-9

Haman was not satisfied to punish one man once he learned that his entire nation was available for slaughter.  Someone had made Haman aware that Mordecai was a Jew.  Why should Haman punish one offender when he could exterminate his entire race? 

Casting Pur or lots seems to be a game of fortune like dice that was used to get a spiritual date for destroying the Jews.  These spirits are not the Holy Spirit of course, but their demonic influence pointed to the month of Adar.  This is roughly February or March on our calendar. 

So Haman went to the king to have the Jews executed just because their customs were different, claiming they were all disobedient.  Being a high prince and advisor, he found no questions from the king.

And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy.  And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee.  Then were the king’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king’s ring.  And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.  The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day.  The posts went out, being hastened by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.  Esther 3:10-15

So the king approved Haman’s plan to kill the Jews, and provided the funds and the authorization needed.  The notices were published in every language for the gentiles to kill every man women and child of Israel on the appointed day.  Their homes and goods were all to go to the other people of the land.  Haman was satisfied, but the cities of Persia were a bit troubled.

This was distressing for the Jews.  I believe it was so also for many of the gentiles of their communities.  Even during the darkest hours of Nazi Germany there were people of conscience who resisted Hitler’s evil empire.  The White Rose Movement was a student protest group that published pamphlets against the Nazi atrocities.  Their leaders were later beheaded by the Nazis.  In every period of history there have been a few people of conscience.  I believe many Persians were appalled by this, even as some Iranians resist the religious fanaticism of their government today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rose

AFFAIRS OF STATE

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FILLING THE VOID

The king of Persia has divorced his uppity woman.  Now he lacks companionship, and the nation has no queen.  The king’s advisors know how to keep the boss happy though.  They suggest the original bachelor reality show contest. 

After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her.  Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king:  And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them:  And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.  Esther 2:1-4

As this news goes you we can imagine the excitement among the girls and their families around the empire.  This could be profitable for anyone who gets this trophy husband!  God is aware of these events, and probably put them in motion.  He knows the hearts and thoughts of the king and his advisors.  He also knows the destiny of those he has chosen to be his servants.  He knows the hearts of men and women who are faithful and ready to serve.  He has his own ideas about who will be the queen of Persia.  The lowly and humble may have a date with promotion.

Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;  Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.  And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.  So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.  And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.  Esther 2:5-9

The Babylonians had been the enemies of Persia, so the Jews had this in common with the Persians.  As former captives of Babylon they were not entirely in bad favor among the Persians.  One orphaned Jewish girl has been adopted by her cousin Mordecai.  She has grown into a beautiful young woman in Persia.  She was quickly noticed by the king’s talent scouts.

Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it.  And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.  Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)  Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house.  In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.  Esther 2:10-14

Esther had not revealed that she was Jewish because Mordecai warned her not to do so.  The contest would require months of preparations before her presentation to the king.  If she was not favored, her visit would be over.  Imagine the intrigue and excitement among these girls.  Was there gossip and plotting to win favor?  Not everyone chose to use cunning devices to attract attention.

Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.  So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.  And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.  Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.  And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king’s gate.  Esther 2:15-19

Cousin Mordecai was Esther’s family, so he could be near the royal household.  One insignificant Jew witnessed the joy of the kingdom over the new queen.  And Esther remembered the godly ways he taught her.

Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.  In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus.  And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai’s name.  And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree: and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king. 2:20-23

An assassination attempt against the king was discovered by Mordecai.  Because he relayed the message through queen Esther, the king never knew who had saved his life.  He had this one disclosure of the name of Mordecai.  The investigation ended the threat and it faded into the record books like old news.

Today we live in a world dominated by news of the rich and famous.  Powerful politicians and wealthy actors vie for the center of attention.  Rocket scientists and athletes have cult followings and a host of challengers with new ideas and abilities.  People of faith do greater things in reality, but earn little respect.  Indeed they often earn pure hatred and persecution was the life of our Lord himself. 

When surrounded by so much self-importance it is possible to feel a bit insignificant.  It was so in the time of Mordecai, but he was predestined to serve God.  There are events slowly gathering to change world history here.  Watch the path of an honest man and his courageous cousin in the swirl of life in Persia, a preview of the turmoil of our modern world.

OUT OF DARKNESS

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COMMAND DECISIONS

Are you weary of hearing about the failure of Israel?  Even after being returned from their captivity they return to marriage to foreigners, and embrace the sins of the world.  They will have four hundred years of backsliding before they are visited by the arm of the Lord.  But there are lights in the darkness.  After the Persians conquered the Babylonians, they inherited the Jews in their captivity.  Events in Persia reveal the hand of God working for his people.

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)  That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,  In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him:  When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days.  Esther 1:1-4

Ancient nations are discovering the power of military and political unity.  They are testing their strength, and glory in their accomplishments.  Arts and sciences are taking a place in the celebration of national prestige.  It’s a time to party hearty in Persia.

And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace;  Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble.  And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king.  And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man’s pleasure. Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus. Esther 1:5-9

Archeologists found the marble paving exactly as described in this scripture.  These were real historical people and how they lived.  These events are a revelation of God working among the living, as he still does today.  The events of this secular kingdom were different from life today, but the forces operating behind the scenes, in the spiritual realm are the same.

On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king,  To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on.  But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.  Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, (for so was the king’s manner toward all that knew law and judgment:  And the next unto him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, which saw the king’s face, and which sat the first in the kingdom;)  What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains?  Esther 1:10-15 

The women of Persia were not liberated, as some in Iran today are also oppressed.  To shame the king invited similar rebellion in the homes of all men of Persia.  The king asked his advisors what the law required for this offense.  Persia was a kingdom under law, even as modern Iran is under a form of shahira law.  Man made laws tend to favor men, so the men made a decision.

And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus.  For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not.  Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king’s princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath.  If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.  And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small. Esther 1:16-20 

So; frightened men removed a willful queen to protect their own little kingdoms at home.  The king must have liked what he heard, and it may have been what he expected of his ministers.  He issued the orders to make it so.

And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan:  For he sent letters into all the king’s provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people. Esther 1:21-22

How did this affect the lives of a captive nation in the service of this king?  Israel had no ongoing parties, and they were barely aware of their own God given law.  They may have been consumed with their own hard lives to dwell on the affairs of the royal household.  But God knows the hearts of men, and where their lives will take them long in advance. 

He knows that Israel will have needs, and he knows how to turn the king of Persia into a servant of God.  Like a great ocean liner, the ship of state must turn slowly, and the Captain of the host has already signaled the engine room and the helm for course corrections. 

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