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Lessons from the
Book of Esther

By Ken Raggio

God Can Remove Anyone Who Is In His way

God prepared the way for Esther to save Israel from genocide long before her time. Ahasuerus was king over a vast empire in the Middle East, extending from India to Ethiopia. Queen Vashti scandalously refused the kings request to appear at a state dinner at Shushan the palace. The king's wise men urged him to banish her. He did. Esther soon became the queen. God can remove anyone who hinders you from doing His will.

Esther 1:20 - "When the king's decree which he shall make shall be published, ...all the wives shall give to their husbands honour."

Esther Chosen Above All The Women

After king Ahasuerus ridded himself of queen Vashti, the search was on for a new queen. Inside the palace, a captive Jew named Mordecai heard the news and brought his uncle's daughter Hadassah (Esther) to the keeper of the women. Mordecai warned her to keep her Jewish identity secret. He knew there was a plot in the palace to exterminate all Jews. But God had already arranged to promote Esther.

Esther 2:17 - "The king loved Esther above all the women, that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti."

God Gave Mordecai Favor With King Ahasuerus

King Ahasuerus did not know that Queen Esther was a Jew. Mordecai told her to keep silent about it. One day, while sitting in the king's gate, Mordecai overheard a conspiracy to assassinate the king. He quickly informed Esther, who told the king. The would-be assassins were caught and executed. Meanwhile, powerful men in the palace plotted to kill the Jews. But God was plotting to save them. Mordecai's favor to the king was recorded. God orchestrated Mordecai's future defense.

Esther 2:23 - "It was written in the book of the chronicles before the king."

Enemies Would Destroy All God's People

King Ahasuerus promoted Haman above all the princes. Everyone bowed to Haman, except Mordecai. That infuriated Haman so he decided to kill ALL Jews. Haman persuaded the king that Jews threatened his kingdom, and must be destroyed. The king said, "do with them as it seemeth good to thee." Never underestimate your enemy's intentions.

Esther 3:13 - "Letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, ...and to take the spoil of them for a prey."

A Loud And Bitter Cry

When Mordecai saw Haman's decree announcing a date to exterminate all Jews, "he rent his clothes, put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry." He wore sackcloth into the king's gate, which was forbidden. Esther was exceedingly grieved and sent raiment to Mordecai, but he refused it. She sent a chamberlain to query Mordecai. Mordecai sent Esther a copy of the genocide decree. His loud and bitter cry arrested the queen.

Esther 4:9 - "Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai."

You Have Come To The Kingdom For Such A Time As This

By law, anyone entering the king's chamber unbidden must be put to death, unless the king holds out his golden sceptre. Esther feared, but Mordecai insisted that if she held her peace, "thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther knew she had to go. Mordecai called the Jews in Shushan to fast three days. Sometimes, the will of God is simply "Do or Die."

Esther 4:16 - "So will I go in unto the king, ...and if I perish, I perish."

A Three-Day Fast For Esther

Esther literally risked her life to appear in the inner court of the king's house. She had not seen the king in thirty days. If he did not raise his golden sceptre toward her, by law, she must die. But a multitude of Jews fasted three days in behalf of Esther, and God gave her favor in the king's sight. He held out the golden sceptre, and his offer was completely awesome.

Esther 5:3 - "What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom."

Esther's Petition

Haman negotiated with Ahasuerus, King of Persia and Media, to have all Jews in his kingdom killed on the 13th of the month. Mordecai saw the decree posted and sent word to Esther that she must intervene. All the Jews fasted and prayed for three days with great consternation. Esther and her maidens fasted likewise. Miraculously, the King totally reversed his decision, and killed Haman instead.

Esther 5:6 - "What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed."

Esther Planned To Trap Haman

Ahasuerus happily received Esther to his throne and offered her request up to half his kingdom. All Esther wanted was for the king and Haman to come to a banquet she planned to prepare. Haman's ego swelled because he was invited with the king. But Haman's delight soured when he saw Mordecai in the king's gate. His wife and friends said, "Build a gallows a hundred feet high, and ask the king to hang him tomorrow!"

Esther 5:14 - "The thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made."

God Can Force Your Enemy To Bless You

King Ahasuerus was sleepless, so called someone to read aloud from his chronicles. He heard about Mordecai foiling a plot to kill the king. "What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this?" "Nothing, sir." God was about to deliver Mordecai and all the Jews from annihilation. With shrewd irony, God used the very man who wanted most to kill Mordecai, to set him free.

Esther 6:4 - "The king said, Who is in the court? Now Haman was come speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows. ...the king said, Let him come in."

Blindness To God's Will Is Fatal

Haman wanted permission from the king to execute Mordecai. But God had other plans. Mordecai, Esther and a multitude of Jews had been fasting, because they knew Haman planned to kill them all. Haman was totally ignorant of the plan and purpose of Almighty God. He expected to be honored, and Mordecai to die. Instead, Mordecai would be exalted, and Haman would die. It is dangerous not to know God's prophetic will.

Esther 6:6 - "Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour?"

God Turns The Table On Haman

King Ahasuerus asked Haman what he thought should be done for "the man whom the king delighteth to honour." Haman vainly expected the king wanted to honor him, and spelled out a lavish public ceremony. Ahasuerus then shocked Haman. "Do even so to Mordecai the Jew."

Esther 6:11,12 - "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. ...But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered."

Esther Intercedes For The Jews

Haman despised Mordecai, and was mortified as he escorted him through the city streets on the king's horse. His wife and friends warned him that if Mordecai was a Jew, he would never prevail - he would surely fall before him. Haman attended a banquet with the king and queen. Esther bravely announced, "We are to be destroyed, to be slain," and begged the king for the lives of her and her people. "Who presumes to do this to you?" the king asked. Esther indicted Haman.

Esther 7:6 - "And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman."

You Will Pay Dearly If You Persecute God's People

When Esther revealed Haman's plot to exterminate the Jews to her husband, King Ahasuerus, Haman was terrified. Ahasuerus was so angry, he stood up and walked outside. While he was out, Haman fell on a bed where Esther was, and pleaded with her for his life. Then the king accused him of attempting to force his wife. One of the chamberlains informed the king that Haman had built gallows 100 feet high to hang Mordecai on.

Esther 7:10 - "So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified."

The Enemies of God's People Are God's Enemies

God promised "I will be an enemy unto thine enemies," (Exodus 23:22). God put down Haman. Ahasuerus removed Haman's ring and gave it, and his entire estate, to Mordecai. Then Esther asked the king to reverse Haman's decree to exterminate the Jews. The king gave the task to Mordecai.

Esther 8:8 - "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."

Great Rejoicing After Haman's Demise

Haman planned to hang Mordecai on the gallows, but God helped Esther expose his plot to exterminate the Jews, so the king ordered Haman hanged on the gallows instead of Mordecai. The king ordered Mordecai to publish an order through all provinces for Jews to resist every assault or attempt to spoil them, post-haste.

Esther 8:16,17 - "The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour. 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."

The King Of Persia Defends God's People

Persian law fordade Ahasuerus from reversing his own law. Haman's genocide order could not be nullified. To countermand it, Ahasuerus ordered Mordecai to command the Jews to defend themselves. When the Jews mustered, everyone feared them. "The day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, ...the Jews had rule over them."

Esther 9:2 - "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."

Great Tragedies Can Be Averted By One Intercessor

Mordecai became great in the King's house, and the rulers throughout Persia favored him and showed favor to the Jews. Ahasuerus' ordered the Jews to fight against anyone who tried to harm them. Their casualties included ten of Haman's sons, 500 in Shushan the palace, and 75,000 others nationwide. The Jews faced extermination in Persia until Mordecai intervened. Will YOU stand up for God's people?

Esther 9:5 - "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."

The Feast Of Purim Celebrates "Hidden Miracle"

After Mordecai and Esther intervened to prevent genocide of the Jews, and 75,000 enemies died, the Jews made two days of feasting and gladness. Since Haman cast lots (or "Pur") for the date of their execution, the Jews called the holiday the Feast of Purim. God is never mentioned by name in the book of Esther, but He is called the "hidden miracle" in their victory.

Esther 9:28 - "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."

Esther And Mordecai Rule In Persia

In the end of the story of Esther, the queen issued a decree that all Jews should celebrate the Feast of Purim throughout every generation. Her decree was written into Persian law. Mordecai became the second most powerful man in the Persian empire - the largest empire in antiquity. You never know how far God might promote you if you do your best.

Esther 10:3 - "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."

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