Morning Light – February 26th, 2016

MLx250Today: [Esther Eight] The Name of Jesus is Our Defense. In this chapter we see Haman is destroyed but his plan to destroy the Jews survives his execution. The king had commanded by law that the Jews be destroyed and the king’s word was unchangeable law in Persia. Therefore the king gives Mordecai authority to act in his name to give the Jews defense against his own law. This is a perfect analogy for the name of Jesus that is given to us to defend us by God’s design against the law of sin and death handed down to Moses.
[Est 8:1-17 KJV] 1 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. 2 And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
After the execution of Haman the king confers Haman’s estate to Esther and gave his title to Mordecai. This is the outcome for those who follow in the pattern of wisdom and discretion that Esther and Mordecai demonstrated in the matter of Haman the Agagite. Haman hated the Jews and had gain permission to commit genocide against all that would be found throughout Persia. That edict actually still stood even though Haman was dead. When the king approved Haman’s plans there was an apparatus set up to initiate and fund the extermination of the Jews that would be carried out even though Haman was out of the picture. In this chapter we will see how that gets dealt with. The first matter however is to see how that the enemies of God’s people when dealt with in prudence and wisdom will be brought to heel and promotion and blessing will come in it’s place from the very lives of those who seek to do you hurt.
Can you imagine Mordecai and Esther’s response when the king not only removed Haman but confers his lands and titles to them – Haman’s intended victims. Esther and Mordecai trusted in the Lord and didn’t take matters into their own hands and ultimately with much needed patience they prevailed. The writer of Proverbs affirms to us:
[Pro 3:5-6 KJV] 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.
Yet in all of this the matter of the planned destruction of the Jews is still moving forward. In Persia when the king gave a command he could not simply change his mind. The king’s wisdom was considered infallible. Every word out of his mouth was divine law and could not be altered. Therefore a strategy must now be implemented to undo the plans of Haman and spare the people that still stand in jeopardy even though Haman no longer lives.
3 And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews. 4 Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king, 5 And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing [seem] right before the king, and I [be] pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which [are] in all the king’s provinces: 6 For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred? 7 Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. 8 Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal [it] with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse. 9 Then were the king’s scribes called at that time in the third month, that [is], the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth [day] thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which [are] from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language. 10 And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus’ name, and sealed [it] with the king’s ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, [and] riders on mules, camels, [and] young dromedaries:
Esther falls before the king and begs him to solve the matter of the pogrom against the Jews. The king lowers his scepter once again indicating that of course he will grant to Esther that which she has petitioned for now once again. It is interesting to note the manner in which the king proceeds. He doesn’t just turn the matter over to one of his functionaries to craft the means by which his previous command would be altered. In fact he leaves the matter to Esther and Mordecai telling them “write what ye will…” In other words they were to be intimately involved in the implementation of his own will to set the people free from the danger they were facing. How this gets worked out is the basis of the remainder of the narrative of the book of Esther. The king’s words “write what you will are reminiscent of the words of Jesus Himself:
[Jhn 15:7 KJV] 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
We are so much more involved in our own deliverance than we realize. God doesn’t want us to come to him and hand him our list of grievances for him to go and act on. He wants us to be a part of the process that is activated to deliver us when we pray.
When the scribes and officials come the king commands them to heed the instruction of Mordecai concerning the Jews. Notice that Mordecai does not write in his own authority. Mordecai is no one but there is the matter of the king’s signet on his hand. When Mordecai speaks he speaks in the king’s name just as when we pray we pray in the name of Jesus and not on the basis of our own piety or human authority. Jesus likewise encourages us to speak in His name:
[Jhn 14:12-14 KJV] 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].
Just as the king’s officials payed close attention to Mordecai because he spake in the name of the king even so the angels in heaven pay close heed to what we say and petition and declare in the name of Jesus.
11 Wherein the king granted the Jews which [were] in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, [both] little ones and women, and [to take] the spoil of them for a prey, 12 Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, [namely], upon the thirteenth [day] of the twelfth month, which [is] the month Adar. 13 The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province [was] published unto all people, and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. 14 [So] the posts that rode upon mules [and] camels went out, being hastened and pressed on by the king’s commandment. And the decree was given at Shushan the palace. 15 And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. 16 The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour. 17 And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
The decrees are set in place and now the Jews will be spared – not by changing the king’s command that they be destroyed but by providing them all the necessary means to defend themselves. This too is an analogy of our own relationship to the law of God. When Jesus came He did not change the law. The law still stands as Paul declared in Romans 6:23 “the wages of sin is death…” The wages of sin is still death. Jesus said the following about the law:
[Mat 5:17-19 KJV] 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
This is why I have made the statement that there are no third options in life regarding the things of God. You are either in Christ or under the law. To God the law is not some ancient, obscure code that applied to a vagabond people in the middle east 1000’s of years ago. The law is still the bar that men are judged by who reject Christ. Martin Luther – the founder of the modern understanding of salvation by faith alone understood this implicitly. The law still stands but as Mordecai wrote laws to defend against the king’s law so God in sending His son to us gave us a defense against His own implacable, unchanging law. Yes we all stand guilty when judged by the law – but the price has been paid in the person of Jesus through His death, burial and resurrection.

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