God Provides

The Book of Esther is one of the most up-to-date books in the Bible. The story comes to us out of the long distant past, but it finds a modern counterpart in each of our lives. Every Christian is a walking Book of Esther. The same characters are involved, the same struggle goes on, the same defeat threatens, the same victory is possible. This is the story of your life.

In case you arenít familiar with the Book of Esther or havenít read the previous messages on Esther, here is a brief summary of the events so far.

The book started with the king of Persia giving a feast at which, after a week of drinking, he ordered Queen Vashti to display herself to his friends. She refused and he, on the advice of his chamberlains, divorced her.

Sometime later he regretted this decision so his chamberlains suggested he audition virgins from his kingdom to select a new queen. Esther, a Jewess who was raised by her cousin Mordecai and whose nationality was unknown to the king, was selected queen.

The king appointed a wicked self serving man named Haman to be prime minister and, unknowingly, allowed him to devise a decree to kill all the Jews in the kingdom and the decree became an irrevocable law when it was sealed with the kingís signet ring. Haman wanted to kill all the Jews because of his hatred for Mordecai who refused to bow down to him.

In chapter 4, Mordecai appealed to Queen Esther to approach the king with a petition to free the Jews from this persecution and in chapter 5, she risked her life to approach the king on behalf of herself, her cousin Mordecai, and all the Jews in the Persian Kingdom.

She was granted audience with the king and she invited the king and Haman to two consecutive banquets but she didnít reveal her request at the first one. On the night between the banquets, the king couldnít sleep and in reading the history books he discovered Mordecai had saved his life previously and had never been rewarded.

The king asked Haman what should be done for a worthy person in his kingdom and Haman suggested several things. The king then informed Haman to personally do those things for Mordecai, much to his chagrin, since he thought the king wanted to reward him.

At the second banquet, Esther made her request to the king to rescind the order to kill all the Jews and when the king asked who is responsible, she revealed it was Haman. While the king is out of the room, Haman made a desperate plea to Queen Esther and just as the king entered the room, Haman fell on her while she was reclining on a couch. The king accused Haman of assaulting the queen and sentenced him to hang on the gallows that Haman had prepared to hang Moreacai on. This brings us to chapter 8.

All through this story, the hand of God is working. Symbolically, the king pictures our soul as king over our body which is itís kingdom. Esther pictures our soul when we find satisfaction through salvation while Mordecai, acting on our behalf of the Jews against Haman, pictures the Holy Spirit acting on our behalf against Satan (Haman) in our lives.

Chapter 8 of Esther opens with a transfer of power, putting Esther and Mordecai in much higher positions and with new authority.

This occurs in our lives when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and comes into our hearts to reign.

Esther 8:1-2. ďOn 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.Ē

Haman was considered a criminal and his property was confiscated. The king's signet ring, which had been used by Haman to authorize the edict against the Jews (Esther 3:10), was now given to Mordecai. The tables were turned further against Haman, even after his death. Mordecai now had the power that Haman previously had. Haman had hoped to confiscate the Jews' property but now his own property was given to, of all people, Esther, who in turn appointed Hamanís arch enemy Mordecai to oversee it.

Haman, the former prime minister, as a picture of man in his unsaved condition, is now gone (that is, the old man in us has been put to death on the tree), but the "house of Haman" is still around. These are the sons of Haman and his family. The king gives Esther the right to handle them and she turns them over to Mordecai.

If you are a Christian, you can recognize this in your own experience. You may come to the place where you know the truth about the flesh, and believe that Christ's death has judged it within you, nevertheless, you discover evidence of the flesh still affecting you.

Even though the old man has been hanged on the tree, he still has, through the house of Haman, the ability to influence you, to tempt you, and even defeat you. The answer doesnít lie in trying to overcome this influence by your will power. The king made no effort to overcome the house of Haman. He said, "It is your problem, Esther." And she stated to Mordecai, (the Holy Spirit), "Itís your problem. You handle this matter."

This is exactly what the New Testament tells us to do, to realize that our defense against the flesh in our thinking isnít our will power, itís in relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and to depend on Him to lead us.

Not only is the house of Haman still around, but there is still that edict of Haman that threatens the Jews. That is the problem that has to be dealt with in the rest of this chapter.

Verses 3-8. ďAnd 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."

(In chapter 3 we found that Haman was a descendant of Agag, and the Agagites are perennial enemies of God and His People, the Jews).

Verse 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.Ē

Esther appeared before the king a second time without an invitation. This time she begged him to put an end to the Hamanís plan to exterminate the Jews. It was still in effect and something had to be done. Esther requested that a second decree be written and sent out that would override the first decree. She openly identified herself as a Jewess when she called them her people and her relatives.

The king told her that she and Mordecai now had the power that previously belonged to Haman and they could do whatever was needed to counteract Hamanís decree.

We have power over the sinful nature because the Holy Spirit resides in our hearts.

Hamanís decree couldnít be revoked, but a second one could over-ride it. The king gave Mordecai authority to write the decree any way he wished and to stamp it with the king's signet ring which would make it an irrevocable law. Here is the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be altered, mentioned earlier in the book.

God also has a law that canít be altered nor revoked, itís the law of sin and death. This is what we find in Romans 7:18-21. ďI know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. [19] For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. [20] Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. [21] So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.Ē (NIV)

Apply this in terms of your experience and mine.
God gave the Law and the ten commandments and no one could keep them. The penalty for breaking the law was death.
So, God gave another law, the law of grace.
He sent His Son to die on the cross and pay the penalty
prescribed by the first law on behalf of all mankind.
John 3:16-18. ďFor God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
17: For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through Him might be saved.
18: He that believeth on Him is not condemned:
but he that believeth not is condemned already,
because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.Ē

Esther had to go before the king the second time because she wanted to know ďWho can deliver me and my people from this law of sin and death once itís been uttered in the king's name and canít be revoked?Ē

The king doesnít have the power to help her. He turned the matter over to Mordecai. What has been written and sealed by the king's seal canít be revoked. We find the solution in the following verses. A new law had to be written and sealed.

Godís dealing with mankind under the Law of Moses was also a law of death for sin, so He wrote a new law of grace and sealed in the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Verses 9-14. ďThen 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: 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.Ē

Mordecai had come up with the answer to this problem. The old law canít possibly be canceled but he can issue a new law which, with the king's consent, would reach the farthest bounds of the kingdom and would turn the threatened defeat into victory.

And this is exactly what our Mordecai, the Holy Spirit, has done for us! Paul says, in the opening words of the eighth chapter of Romans, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death," Romans 8:2.

A new law, a new edict, has gone into effect through the atoning death of Christ. Galatians 2:20. ďI am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.Ē

The decree Mordecai wrote was sent out in the third month of the year so the Jews had about six months to arm themselves and plan their battle strategy for the upcoming conflict on the 13th day of the 12th month, the date Haman had chosen by lot to kill all the Jews.

Just like the previous decree, this one was sent throughout the whole Persian Empire from India to Africa, written in the language of each province. It gave the Jews the right to protect themselves and to annihilate anyone that fought against them.

They were given the right to take the property of their enemies just as Mordecai had "taken away" Hamanís property.

Verses 15-17. ďAnd 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."

Mordecai wore a purple linen robe and a large crown that indicated his royal position. He now held the position and status Haman had held previously.

Before the battles ever started there was tremendous joy in knowing that victory was possible.

Compare Chapter 8 with Chapter 3 of this book. In Chapter 3, Haman was setting in the prime minister's seat. He was the one who signed the edict to kill all the Jews and it had caused much confusion and grief throughout the kingdom.

By the same token, Satan would be happy to destroy all believers and he continues to try to tempt and destroy us. But now, in chapter 8, Mordecai is in control, a decree that will rescue the Jews has been sent out, and there is joy and gladness throughout the kingdom.

We get a great feeling when we realize in our hearts that God through the Holy Spirit has made a way out for us. It's not necessarily a way out of the circumstances, but a way out of defeat by the circumstances. God has promised the believer this: "Sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace." (Romans 6:14)

Verse 17b. ďAnd many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.Ē

When Mordecai and Esther came to power, many Gentiles became Jewish proselytes, giving up paganism and turning to the only true God, the God of the Jews.

The hand of God was being demonstrated to the whole world. It became obvious to these people that the God of the Jews was protecting His People.

We are living in the day of grace
when the believer can rely on the Holy Spirit
to help in our daily battle against Satan and the temptations he puts before us.
Satan specializes in spiritual warfare against the believer
and again our defense is through the aid of the Holy Spirit.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in Thee." Isaiah 26:3.

This day of grace that weíre living in is a wonderful thing.
Each day that God gives us is another day
in which we can tell our loved ones about the saving grace of His Son
and it gives them another day to accept His forgiveness
and the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven.
Christ died for you.
Just believe it!