It can be scary when God calls on us to do something for Him. Whether it is to simply reach out to a neighbor in need, or to study Scripture with somebody new, or to take the ethical high road, doing His will – as the Holy Spirit leads – can be gut wrenching at times.
Purim is the celebration of good triumphing over evil – and the survival of the Jews – radiating out of the Book of Esther. Esther’s cousin Mordecai does not bow before Haman. Haman seeks retribution not just against Mordecai, but against all Jews. Haman plots to slaughter all of the Jews and, thankfully, Esther is Jewish.
She’s been obeying Mordecai’s command and hidden her identity as a Jew from King Ahasuerus. But when Mordecai angers Haman and Haman decides to kill of the Jews, Mordecai asks Esther to intercede with the King on the behalf of the Jews. Well, Esther knows that she’ll be in a lot of trouble if she goes to the king without being invited.
Mordecai, however, sent this message to Esther (4:14, ESV): “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther prepares to enter the king’s inner court uninvited by fasting. We learn that after fasting, she enters the inner court and “won favor” in the sight of the king (5:2).
Waiting on God’s Timing
Next, we see Esther invites the king and Haman to a feast, which the king and Haman both enjoy. The king wants to grant Esther’s wish, but Esther delays telling the king about Haman’s plot by inviting them back the next day for another feast.
God’s Ways Are Always Best
When Haman left the first day’s feast, he saw Mordecai by the king’s gate. Once again, Mordecai did not honor Haman by rising up and bowing to him. Haman order that gallows be built for Mordecai. In the meantime, the king could not sleep that night and ordered the book of remembrances be read to him. And the king heard something that he had forgotten – that Mordecai had earlier exposed a plot to kill the king and reported it to him.
The kings discovers he has not yet honored Mordecai. Haman is asked by the king what should be done to a man the king wants to honor. Figuring it was in reference to him, Haman says such a man should be covered in the king’s purple robe and paraded through the city square on the king’s horse. The king tells Haman to do as he has said to Mordecai – whom Haman wants to hang.
In the end, at the second feast, Esther tells the king (in the presence of Haman) of Haman’s plot against the Jews. The angry king goes out to the garden and comes back inside to find Haman falling all over Esther as he begs for his life. The king reads Haman’s pleading as an assault on the queen and orders Haman to be hung on the gallows Haman built for Mordecai.
That’s the quick and dirty plot of the Book of Esther. Exactly how were the Jews saved from the plot to annihilate them? Oh, you have to read the entire book!
You may be in the right place at the right time to honor God. The situation may be extremely difficult (Esther assumed she was as good as dead if she went to the king uninvited!). God always provides a way for those who are righteous.
It may be a harrowing experience, but in the end, God provides a way and He is always glorified through it.