By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Readings: Esther 6-10
Key Scripture Verses: Esther 8:5-6, 8 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“ ‘If it pleases the king,’ she said, ‘and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and it he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces. For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?’ ”
“ ‘Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.’ ”
Even when things seem quite harried and the circumstances seem impossible to overcome, God is in control. Nothing is impossible with God.
There are always people with devious plans who would want to control others in our world and sometimes they are effective in carrying out their plans; however, when it’s God’s plan they are trying to change and alter, he takes control or changes the situation to his own favor. Haman, the second in command to King Xerxes, learned a lesson about the God of Israel the hard way.
It was commonplace for those of lower rank in the king’s court to bow to those in authority and to show honor and respect, but Mordecai had refused to bow down to Haman because of his being a descendant of the Amalekites who were ancient enemies of the Israelites whom God had told them to have nothing to do with. Haman could not stand it that Mordecai would not bow down to him and held a huge grudge; he was so bothered by this that he decided to plot to kill Mordecai and all of his people—his plan was to destroy all of the Jews by having the seal of the king’s signet ring put on a decree to kill all of the Jews within the king’s provinces. Because the king trusted him and he had his favor, Haman was effective in having the decree sealed, saying that a person in his kingdom had disavowed him and was disrespectful, but did not indicate the person or the nationality, so the king had given the command to do as necessary to destroy that person and his people.
Esther had hidden her nationality, but she was now the queen, and was also the niece of Mordecai whom Haman was seeking to murder. By initiating contact with the king, the queen put herself in danger—if the king was irritated by being summoned by anyone, it was a death sentence. She did it anyway. God was on her side and the king found favor with her, instead of harming her. And he was so pleased with her that he offered her as much as half of his kingdom to please her in response to whatever she asked. She asked to have the king come to a banquet in his honor and to bring Haman.
Esther’s plan was to expose Haman and to ask the king to save her, Mordecai, and all of the Jews. But, before she could do so, the king decided to review his chronicles—the records of his court and its activities. In doing so, he noticed that Mordecai had thwarted an assassination on his own life and wondered if Mordecai had been honored for his loyalty. King Xerxes was restless and unable to sleep, and felt so compelled to read the chronicles of his court activities the evening before his second banquet with Esther that he stayed up to read them.
So when Xerxes and Haman met Esther, he asked Haman, his second in command, how a person should be honored who had done a great deed. Haman himself suggested parading the person throughout the kingdom while riding a horse and wearing the king’s robe. Xerxes decided that was a great idea and had Haman honor Mordecai in that very way—the way that Haman believed he was going to be honored. What a humiliation Haman had to endure for that. And this was before the king knew what he had done.
At the second banquet, Esther revealed her request that Mordecai and all of the Jews be protected by a new decree sealed by the king’s signet ring to override the document that had been devised to kill them all. Not only was Haman’s plan thwarted, Esther revealed Haman as the one who had devised the plan. The king was furious and ready to have him killed, leaving in a rage.
Haman stayed behind to beg the queen for his life, but it was too late as he was leaning forward on the couch where she reclined when the king came in and said, “ ‘Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?’ ” Shortly afterwards, Haman was impaled on the very pole he had set for impaling Mordecai.
It’s a great story with a twist, but it is so much more than that. God changed the circumstances to see that his plans for the coming of Jesus were not kept from taking place. Had Haman’s plan taken place, the Jews would not have survived. It was always God’s plan that there be a remnant of the Jews to survive—the Messiah was to come from the lineage of David! God could not allow his people to be blotted out. God Almighty was in control.
Nothing is impossible with God! If God wants something to happen, it will happen as he wishes it to happen. Unusual events or seemingly coincidental occurrences may happen for his will to be accomplished, but we should always remember that he is in control.
We may not always know the will of God, but he knows what he’s doing. May we be with him and not against him.
It’s God’s will that we follow his commandments—to love him and to love each other. If we are with him in our worship and praise, we can trust that he has our best interests in mind. Glory be to God!