Chapter 8: 1-17
“On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. 2 So the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai; and Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman. 3 Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews.
4 And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king, 5 and said, ‘If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. 6 For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?’
7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, ‘Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews. 8 You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke.’
9 So the king’s scribes were called at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and it was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews, the satraps, the governors, and the princes of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred and twenty-seven provinces in all, to every province in its own script, to every people in their own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language.
10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed it with the king’s signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horseback, riding on royal horses bred from swift steeds. 11 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, 12 on one day in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 13 A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province and published for all people, so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 The couriers who rode on royal horses went out, hastened and pressed on by the king’s command. And the decree was issued in Shushan the citadel.
15 So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. 16 The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor. 17 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.“
I considered doing a lesson about Easter as this is such an important time in the lives of many Christians. But I did not feel led to do so. I felt led to continue in the book of Esther. When we ended last time, the evil plot from Haman was unraveling, Haman was dead or at least dying, and Esther and Mordecai had brought the plight of the Jews to the attention of the king. In chapter 8, we are going to pick up the story right away on the same day. While I did not feel led to do an Easter lesson, the idea of hope is alive and well in this eighth chapter of Esther. The whole story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is about hope. Hope, not only for the life to come but for this life here on earth as well. The story of the nation of Israel is that of resurrection. The enemies of Israel have tried and tried to kill her off; they have plotted and schemed, and time after time, the nation returns.
Less than a century ago, the Nazi party of Germany tried their hardest to destroy the Jews, and yet here they are front and center on the world stage and even with Jerusalem as their capital city. In much the same way, Christianity has been hunted in many places. From the Roman Empire in the first century to the Inquisitions that killed millions, there have been quotes from Cardinals and priests that make it clear that had they not hunted and killed the Christians, they would outnumber Catholicism. If you ever get the chance to read a short book called The Trail of Blood, it will enlighten you to the plight of the New Testament church over many centuries of persecution.
We in North America are not being hunted and killed yet, but the governments are restricting our freedoms in the name of COVID, and in particular, they have singled out church meetings and assemblies to curtail. Here in Ontario, we were just warned by our Prime Minister and the Premier that if we should attempt gatherings for Easter, they will shut things down. France has already done so for the next four weeks. It is amazing that all seemed to be going well until we got to Easter, and then another lockdown or another threat. BUT God is still in control, and there is always Hope – the hope that we can see the hand of God and see His glory in all of this, and as we see at the end of the story here in Esther 8, see people converted.
- Mordecai give the house of Haman, verses 1-2
Wow! What a turn of events. Now Mordecai is in control of all that Haman had. He owned his wife, kids and lands. The king gave it to him and Esther. Haman would still have been on the gallows for all to see, and he may have been alive to see all this happen. Not only was his pain physical, but the psychological and mental anguish he must have been going through.
God knows how to hurt you if you cross Him and attack His people. God, thankfully for us sinners, is patient and slow to anger. But when He arises to deal with stuff, He is not one to do it halfway; just go back and read the account of the flood in Genesis 6-9, or read of Ahab and Jezebel in the book of the Kings. God is thorough with His enemies, and Haman sadly put himself and his family in God’s crosshairs by attempting to hurt the people of Israel; now his whole family was paying the price. They went from being highly esteemed in the kingdom of Persia to having nothing; Mordecai was given them, their property, and apparently, according to verse 15, Haman’s place before the king.
We are told here in that verse that the city of Shushan rejoiced when Mordecai was promoted to the position. In Proverbs 29:2, we see this eye-opening verse that is still true today, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”
The people of a nation rejoice when they have good leaders, and Mordecai was a good leader. The city immediately rejoiced. Haman would most likely be alive to hear this rejoicing and this jubilation. He would have heard the cries of joy for Mordecai that he never heard for himself, and now know he would never experience. We long for good leadership, and for the most part, most if not all of the modern political leaders are weak and more concerned with being re-elected than doing what is right. The push for the perversions of sex education in public schools, the push to deny God the creative power of gender, and the push to erase absolute truth from our conversations is killing us financially, killing our nations, and ripping at the social fabric and foundations of our very life.
- Esther the Queen, verses 3-8
One of the coolest lessons to learn from the book of Esther is to never forget your place in the face of authority. If you will recall, Esther is where she is because Vashti forgot her place; she defied the king and lost her place. But we can see that Mordecai had prepared Esther well for the position that he did not know she would have. In verse 3, Esther is obviously in a position of favor with the king. She knows that he loves her; he is not shy about it. She and Mordecai have control over Haman’s possessions, and Mordecai has been promoted to a very high position. Yet, Esther does not take this all for granted. She comes and falls at the king’s feet and petitions him on behalf of her people, the Jews.
“3 Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews. 4 And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king.”
In many so-called churches today, we see people attempting to command God to do certain things. They bind Satan, they demand the Holy Spirit do this or that, and they call down heaven to do this or that. Yet, in His awesome power as the Son of God, Jesus prayed, “not mine, but Thy will be done.” How arrogant and prideful are we that this should even be. We have forgotten our place, and as such, we have no power with God. God is deaf to those that are filled with pride, and He ignores the haughty.
In contrast, humble Esther had power over the king. She showed regard and respect. The Bible calls this ‘fear,’ not being afraid, but ‘fear’ in the idea of respect. In Proverbs 9:10, we are told that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The contrast then is also true; the lack of fear for the Lord is the beginning of stupidity. The Bible is quite blunt about this; “The fool hath said there is no God.” God is not very PC; He calls it as He sees it.
Esther was not a fool, and as such, she not only had a reverent fear of God, she had the right humble fear for the position her husband held as king. Ahasuerus honored her humility by transferring his power to her for the protection of the Jews; he extended his scepter as a sign of his acceptance of her petition, and then he transferred his power to her to help save the Jews; he gave her his signet ring. When we are in the right place with God, we have power with God, and we can ask God to do miracles – yes, even in 2021, on our behalf – and He will.
- The Jews can defend themselves, verses 9-14
The decree was written and sent out to allow the Jews on this one particular day to mount a defense, take the good of their attackers, and save the lives of their families. I am sure that on that day, God allowed the Jews to fight like Navy Seals and destroy their enemies, which they did. There was still going to be a fight, they still had to defend themselves, but God was going to give them the chance to win.
God does not always take away the fight, but He does provide a way to fight and protect yourself. Too many of us want God to take away the fight, but more often, He gives us the ability and opportunity to stand and fight. This scares a lot of us because we don’t want to fight; we want an easy way out. We want God to do all the fighting for us and not with us. But this is not the way of the Bible; God required His people to don arms and head to the fight many times. Many times, in the Bible, we are required to behave like men. We are called to stand and fight. Just look at the book of Jude; we are called to contend for the faith. The phrase “quit you like men” is found two times in the Bible: in 1 Samuel 4:9 and 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.
This is a call for us to stand up and behave like men. Be ready to defend the truth and, if necessary, to die for the truth. Sadly, I am not sure that there are many of these kinds of men in the modern church. As we see more and more, the modern ‘woke’ church has gone further and further away from the truth and the faith once delivered by the apostles. But we should be ready to stand and make a stand for the truth. I pray that the Lord will give me the strength to stand for Him and, if need be, die for the truth if the need arises. The last few verses of Esther 8 tell us why we should be ready to stand.
- The conversion of the People, verse 17
The ultimate goal of our lives is to be messengers of God’s grace and to show people that God’s way is the way. From India to Ethiopia, many people from all parts of the Persian kingdom (get a map out and see how big this kingdom was and how many people it included) turned to the Lord God and became Jews. Yes, Gentiles submitted to the covenant of Abraham and became Jews. They, like Abraham, acknowledged the God of heaven and Creation, they would have been circumcised, and they would have begun to observe the feasts and times the Jews celebrated. This also explains the crowd in Acts 2, where men from all over the known world came to celebrate the Day of Pentecost and heard the Gospel as well.
Haman’s intent was to kill off the Jews, BUT GOD simply expanded His kingdom and added more to the family. What the enemy intended for evil, God meant for good (Genesis 50:20).
Often, the persecution of God’s people ends up with the kingdom expanding, much to the chagrin of our enemies. God will not and cannot lose to mere men. Haman lost, and so will the modern-day enemies of God’s people. This is the message of hope that I wish to offer you today from Esther. Hope is the message of Easter, the hope that Jesus has conquered the grave, and death is no longer our real enemy. But more than that, there is hope for this life, hope to see the salvation of the Lord and the destruction of our enemies. But more important than even that, in the hope that if we stand for the Lord and fight, we will see the salvation of our friends and countrymen.
We are the light of the world; lights shine brightest when it is darkest. Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
STOP HIDING! STAND UP AND STAND OUT FOR JESUS.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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