Today: [Esther Six] Trusting in God’s Sovereign Deliverance. In this chapter we find a sleepless king up in the night reading through the archives of his kingdom. He discovers Mordecai has acted in his defense but has gone unrewarded. It so happens that Haman cannot sleep either and is in the court to counsel the king on how to favor the man in whom the king has pleasure. In all of this we see that in our lives God works in ways to deliver and promote us that cannot be attributed to human manipulation.
[Est 6:1-14 KJV] 1 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. 2 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. 3 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.
Thus far in our story of Esther and Mordecai we have seen the following:
1. A Queen deposed because she would no present herself before the king in a lewd manner.
2. A beauty contest held in which Esther was favored and selected by the king to replace his estranged wife Vashti.
3. Esther’s cousin Mordecai incurs the wrath of a favored prince by the name of Haman. Haman is descended from the Agagites that Saul disobediently refused to exterminate centuries before.
4. Haman plans genocide against the Jews and obtains Ahasuerus permission to carry it out.
5. Mordecai learns of Haman’s plans to destroy the Jews and calls on Esther to intercede before the king.
6. Esther daringly comes before the king without being called. Instead of accusing Haman she invites the king to a private dinner in Haman’s honor.
7. Haman is absolutely elated that Esther would so honor him before the king but he doesn’t realize she is a Jewess.
8. Haman returns home to prepare for the dinner and spies Mordecai who obstinately refuses to bow before him.
9. Haman is angry beyond words and plans to ask the king’s permission to hang Mordecai on a gallows specially constructed for that purpose.
Following this the king is planning to attend a banquet with his queen accompanied by Haman, presumable to honor Haman as a prince of Persia. That night he cannot sleep. What is going on? His human spirit is troubled. He knows something is afoot but doesn’t know what. Notice however that his wife Esther knows EVERYTHING that is going on but she uses great wisdom in disclosing these things to the king. In reality the king is part of the problem. He has promoted Haman in the kingdom. He has given Haman permission to exterminate the Jews after receiving a bribe from Haman for carrying the thing out. Esther knows if she accuses Haman before the king that she will by inference accuse the king of a wrong and sinful decision. Instead she presents herself to the king and invites him to a meal with Haman to come along likewise. Esther has asked that Mordecai and all the Jews in Persia fast and pray while she works to bring about the circumstances whereby she may successfully intercede with the king to deliver the Jews.
In the midst of these events the king, unable to sleep goes to the royal archives and has a scribe read him a review of recent events in the capital. There is reference to an assassination plot that Esther’s cousin Mordecai informed the king’s guard of consequently saving the king’s life. Ahasuerus does not realize that Mordecai is Esther’s cousin. He likewise was unaware of the plot against him or of Mordecai’s involvement in exposing the plot and thereby saving his life. He inquires whether or not this man was rewarded for his loyalty to the crown. In fact Mordecai was not rewarded. Notice as well that apparently when the plot was foiled that Mordecai did not speak up when he was not acknowledged as the savior of the king’s life. He could have demanded a reward of the king’s guard but he did not. He simply went on his way. He did the right thing because it was the right thing and didn’t expect a reward. Now the king realizes the error and wants to reward Mordecai for his faithfulness.
4 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. 5 And the king’s servants said unto him, Behold, Haman standeth in the court. And the king said, Let him come in. 6 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? 7 And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, 8 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: 9 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.
The king desires to honor Mordecai for exposing an assassination plot and inquires if there is a counselor in the court to help him in the matter. Haman by coincidence (perhaps he couldn’t sleep either) is in the court and the king asks him to suggest a manner in which he might honor a particular servant in his kingdom. Haman ASSUMES that he is the object of the king’s favor and gives his suggestion of the great honor to be bestowed upon the man in whom the king delights. Little does he realize that God is working in the midst of the situation to bring about his demise.
10 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. 11 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. 12 And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. 13 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. 14 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.
Haman is no doubt seething with anger and frustration but he makes haste to the king’s command and confers all the honor upon Mordecai by the very suggestion that he had made thinking he was the recipient. He delivered Mordecai back to the king’s gate and rushes home in mourning and frustration. Haman’s wife and his wise men warn him that whatever Haman’s plans are he will not prevail before Mordecai. They see plainly that God is working against their master Haman but before Haman can respond to their dire predictions he is required to repair to the queen’s banquet with the king.
What can we learn from all of this? The significant aspect of this chapter is the discretion of Mordecai in the matter of the plot against the king. Without a doubt Mordecai would have known that a reward would have been fitting and just for he kind deed in exposing the assassins and their plan. Yet he refrained. We need to learn to exercise discretion in our lives even at times when we are tempted to be self promoting. Haman on the other hand looks for every opportunity to promote himself before the king and in so doing winds up pouring honor and promotion upon his enemy Mordecai.
It is of note as well to see that God stirred both the king and Haman to sleeplessness in order to bring to light the fact that Mordecai had gone unrewarded for his act of faithfulness to the king. When people are sleeping they are very susceptible to spiritual influences both good and evil. In this case God was working in the night seasons to speak to the king and move events along toward the eventual deliverance of the Jews and destruction of Haman. What we see in the midst of the situation is that God is working behind the scenes in our lives as well to deliver us and bring us to promotion if we will trust Him and rely on Him rather than trying to solve problems in our own human frailty.
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