Today we finish up Esther’s story. After fasting for three days, Esther approaches the king and is received. She invites the king and Haman to a banquet the following day, and at this banquet, she asks him to come to a second banquet the next day, when she will reveal what she really wants. I’ve always wondered why she didn’t just ask him the first day. Why drag it out over two days? I can only conclude that she was being led by the Spirit of God because some very important things happen in the time between the two banquets. First, Haman can’t get past his hatred of Mordecai, that stubborn Jewish man who would not show him special respect, so he plots to have him hanged. He orders the pole to be built, on which he plans to ask the king to impale Mordecai. Instead, God wakes up the king in the middle of the night. Since he can’t sleep, he starts reading old court records and discovers that Mordecai once saved his life by reporting a conspiracy but had never been rewarded.
The next morning Haman comes in ready to ask to kill Mordecai. The king interrupts him and asks his opinion on what should be done to a man the king wished to honor. Haman has such an ego, he thinks the king is going to honor him, so he describes an elaborate, showy event. Imagine his humiliation when he has to lead Mordecai through the city streets on the king’s horse, declaring the king’s honor of the man he hates! This is his frame of mind as he attends Esther’s second banquet with the king.
You know what happens. Esther points out Haman’s treachery and the king has him impaled on the very pole he set up for Mordecai. Mordecai is given Haman’s estate and royal position, and a decree goes out that the Jewish people are free to defend themselves against their enemies. They win. The enemy loses. The celebration of Purim is established so that generations to follow will remember how God defended and protected His people as He worked out His sovereign plans behind the scenes, through a young woman named Esther.
What’s our takeaway today? There are many we could mention, but one stands out to me. God did make a way for the Jewish people to be protected. He thwarted Haman’s plan; good won out over evil. BUT THE PEOPLE STILL HAD TO FIGHT. The king’s original decree to destroy the Jews could not be rescinded by Persian law, so the solution was that they were given freedom and permission to fight back against those enemies, without fear of intervention by the Persian authorities.
As Christ-followers, we have an enemy, Satan. Has he been interfering in your life as he goes about seeking to devour, to kill, steal and destroy? Fight back. His power was defeated at the cross when the decrees against you were nailed there by the Savior. Take up the armor of God. Pray without ceasing. Pick up the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, and fight.
1 Peter 5:8, John 10:10, Colossians 2:14, Ephesians 6:10-18