Morning Light – February 29th, 2016

MLx250Today: [Esther Nine and Ten] Esther – Guidebook to Victory. Here we have the conclusion of the book of Esther. It is a story of great upheaval and threats against the people of God. It is a record of what Esther and Mordecai did and did not do in order to come through the trial at hand safely and in victory. In Esther we find the restrained hand of discretion, wisdom and a spirit of humility that we can follow as an example and overcome in our own situations.
[Est 9:1-32 KJV] 1 Now in the twelfth month, that [is], the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;) 2 The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people. 3 And all the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. 4 For Mordecai [was] great in the king’s house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater. 5 Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them. 6 And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men. 7 And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha, 8 And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha, 9 And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha, 10 The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand. 11 On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king.
In this chapter we see that the earlier decrees of the king are still in force even though Haman is dead and his estates forfeited. The reason for this is because when the king issued a decree it could not be changed or taken back. When it is revealed that Haman had deceived the king and influenced him for evil then the plan was to leave the command in place but give the Jews permission and resources to defend themselves.
It is interesting that though the ring leader Haman is dead there are still 100’s in fact 1000’s who have it in their hearts to do violence to the Jews. Throughout the chapter when you read the tally of the number of enemies against the Hebrews in Persia they number just over 100,000 that were prepared to rise up and commit genocide against the people of God. However now that queen Esther has intervened and Mordecai now sits second only to the king in Persia there will be a completely different outcome.
12 And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? now what [is] thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what [is] thy request further? and it shall be done. 13 Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which [are] in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows. 14 And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman’s ten sons. 15 For the Jews that [were] in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand. 16 But the other Jews that [were] in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey, 17 On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. 18 But the Jews that [were] at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth [day] thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth [day] of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar [a day of] gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another. 20 And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that [were] in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, [both] nigh and far, 21 To stablish [this] among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly, 22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.
When the fateful day arrives the Jews rise up against their enemies throughout Persia. They dispatch those who planned against them but were careful not to take any spoil from them. Why would they do this? Because all of Persia was watching, including the king. Had they taken spoil of their now dead enemies it would have diminished them in the eyes of the people and the king. When you win a great victory there will always be opportunity to gloat or to go one step too far in your victory. It is important to maintain a posture of humility and restraint even when you are given the upper hand by the Father over your adversaries.
Among the dead there are 500 that are killed in the palace itself. That tells us that the palace of the king must have been vast indeed. What a dread sight when the Jews entered the palace and there is great noise of combat and battle – ending with 500 bodies laid out for the king to take inventory of. Here the queen was ruling in the house and there were 100’s who would have gladly taken her life. In spiritual things and church culture we can look outward to see our enemies and those who desire to do us harm but those inside the church in our own houses of worship have done more harm than any anti-Christ spirit operating without.
23 And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them; 24 Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur, that [is], the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them; 25 But when [Esther] came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. 26 Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and [of that] which they had seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them, 27 The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their [appointed] time every year; 28 And [that] these days [should be] remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and [that] these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. 29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim. 30 And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, [with] words of peace and truth, 31 To confirm these days of Purim in their times [appointed], according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them, and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry. 32 And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
[Est 10:1-3 KJV] 1 And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and [upon] the isles of the sea. 2 And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 For Mordecai the Jew [was] next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.
So the enemies of the Jews are removed, Esther is safe and Mordecai now sits in the seat of Haman as the prince of Persia. Haman’s ten sons were killed in battle at their bodies hung along with their father on the gallows that were originally prepared for Mordecai. What can we learn from all of this?
It is important to remember how Mordecai and Esther conducted themselves in the midst of the crisis that unfolded during these days of unrest in Persia:
1. Remember they were a captive people yet they maintained their trust in God and were influential and to be feared in the city because of their integrity and honesty before God and the people.
2. Remember that Mordecai saved the king’s life by exposing an assassination plot. The king was the one holding Mordecai and the people in captivity therefore was Mordecai’s enemy – but Mordecai spared the king’s life anyway. Mordecai did good to his enemy and was ultimately rewarded for doing so.
3. Esther was brought into the palace along with 100’s of other girls but in preparing herself did not seek to seduce the king but to simply trust in the gifts and talents God had given her to give her favor in the eyes of the king.
4. Mordecai urged Esther to intercede with the king regarding the threats of Haman. Esther did so willingly putting her life at risk. She was willing to risk for others when in fact she could have remained safe and hidden from the trials at hand because it was not known she was a Jew.
5. When Esther approached the king she did not rail at him or accuse him of being foolish in allowing Haman authority to purge the Jews. Instead she spoke to the king in him and invited Haman to a banquet with her and her royal husband. She would not do anything to disparage her husband.
6. When Esther exposed Haman’s plot she artfully provoked Haman to move the hand of the king in her defense. She did not try to manipulate or make demands on the king but rather exposed Haman’s evil plan and trusted the king to do what was necessary.
7. When the day of judgment came the people of God prevailed but they did not take the spoil. They knew the eyes of the king and the eyes of the nation were upon them and therefore conducted themselves wisely so as not to contaminate their testimony before God.
There are many lessons we can learn from Esther about how to respond when you are under attack from the enemy of your soul. Most importantly is the need to stay humble. Refuse to react but rather pray and ask God how to proceed. Decline to accuse or to rail on others even when they are guilty. Trust in God to lead you through the situation and at the end of the day you will come forth with your testimony intact and your victory assured.

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