From ‘Jesus, The Favored One’: ‘At this point Pastor Joedy sort of rushed through the aftermath, and the resultant feast of Purim. He simply ran out of time. But I think I’d like to keep writing about it tomorrow.’
So, before idleness has the upper hand and drains the best of me, I’m going to go through these final chapters of Esther – Recommended reading by Pastor Joedy, and I have a feeling that I will be finding more than I expect tonight. Also, before I go any further, and if it hasn’t been made clear already, this is by no means going to refer to Dungeon Siege.
On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her. And the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
Then Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet and wept and pleaded with him to avert the evil plan of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. When the king held out the golden scepter to Esther, Esther rose and stood before the king. And she said, “If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.” Esther 8:1-8
A King’s Reply
I imagine Haman intended to watch with glee as Mordecai hung from the gallows he had built for him. Instead, it was Haman’s accursed carcass that hung, and from a height of 50 cubits. Of course, I went ahead and Googled this and to my surprise, Noah’s Ark was said to be 50 cubits wide as well. So even before I look up any conversion into contemporary measurements, I just have to say, man, that’s wide… and sure, that gallows is pretty high. Google says a cubit is 1.5 feet, which means Haman’s body hung from a gallows 75 feet high. So greatly has the enemy of the Jews been disgraced.
But all was not well, for the decree Haman authored – the one that now distinguished every Jew in Persia as free game to be hunted and killed, the one that allowed anyone to seize whatever they wanted from them – this was still in effect.
Esther pleaded to King Ahasuerus (also Xerxes) to write an order to revoke t- he said decree. I want to focus on the King’s response.
First, he mentioned that Haman’s house had already been given to Esther – which, to me, implies that even if he had escaped for any sort of crazy circumstance, he would not have any rest – no place to retreat to; Sure, there may be people in the nation who also hated the Jews – they could take him in, but their dwellings, lavish as they may be, would never compare to his own home. Haman was not only humiliated by way of his hanging from such a height so his carcass was seen even from afar. He was also shamed by way of his personal dwelling being seized from him – he was denied rest.
Second – Haman was executed, ‘because he intended to lay hands on the Jews’; The King made it clear that Haman was punished not only for assaulting and/or trying to kill his wife, but also her people. While we may be able to understand how the King – or, really, any man, any husband – is more than willing to avenge even the smallest of discomforts done to his queen, Ahasuerus’ choice of words gives us a picture as to how strong of a resolve he has to protect Esther: She may not be under any sort of danger, but if her people are threatened, count on the King to protect them, and to strike those who would dare threaten them.
Anyway, Third – and this is most important – ‘an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.’ The earthly King cannot relent – for what reasons? Well, there are many, but here’s my perspective on the matter.
Considering the time and date and the means and methods of communication, I suppose that it couldn’t be so easy to tell everyone in Persia that the King held back on his word – and who would want to spread that word, anyway? For with the notification of the cancellation comes an encouragement for whoever hears it to think that the King isn’t as mighty and resolute after all. The only optimal way to resolve this is to write with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king. Better to broadcast a new updated edict, instead of taking extra time to revoke the former.
A Savior’s Response
First: Our enemy was dealt such a severe blow that not only was he rendered powerless, but for the rest of his days, he was also denied respite, denied rest, denied peace of mind. Perhaps this is one reason why he goes through so many lengths to assault our minds – We know that he cannot snatch us from the Hand of our Savior, so his strategy is as old as time – to lie to us, to not only steal our joy, but our peace, our rest, our respite, just as he is without peace, rest, and respite.
Second: God loves us as a Father. You know how I love to keep on quoting 2 Peter 5:7, where we are encouraged to cast all our anxieties on Him… ‘because He cares for us’. Other translations say ‘because He is always thinking about us’ – and man, this just hits me. I’ve said once or twice before that God not only knows what is best for us, but He is just that good and that great that He is willing to stoop down our level – like an Uncle who sits down with his nephew to play with his toys the way the child wants to play, so God is not only able, but is most interested to see what we personally think are important things in our lives. Ahasuerus’ response tells me that not only does He have our entire being in mind, but He also has our people – our families, and I dare say everyone within our own spheres of influence – they are also in His mind, for the reason that we believe in the One He has sent. Side note, it’s in thinking about this great thoughtfulness that I’m led to recall Paul’s reply to the jailer in the book of Acts, where he said – ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved – you, and your entire household.‘
The King protected Esther and her people – The King of Kings is able to save us, and our entire household. I believe in this.
Third: I’m making the assumption with my limited mind that instead of going back against His word, God introduced what Paul was sharing to the Corinthians in his first epistle to them – ‘A still more excellent way’. I understand that the context of 1 Corinthians 12 involved more of spiritual gifts, but here’s the thing – to my understanding Paul was addressing how these folks in Corinth probably had a picture of salvation by faith and not by works… But, apparently, they were lording over each other about how they had ‘gifts’. Paul wanted to address the way they were boasting of their gifts of healing, tongues and interpretation, simply by saying what was said in the very first chapter of the same epistle: “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord’.
We who are of the inclination of God’s grace give so much attention to Romans 10:4. We are well aware that Christ is the end of the Law, but we do not stop there, because it mentions that Christ is the end of the Law FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS – what does this mean? It means that we no longer need to focus on following the Law for us to be righteous, and, I dare say, it also means that we shouldn’t be focusing on our works or our fruits in order to be righteous!
What does all this mean? We can spend our efforts by focusing on ‘Christ is the end of the Law’, but know that a NEW edict was proclaimed in its place, written with the blood of Jesus, proclaiming that we have a more excellent way for righteousness – that is, to believe in God, and more importantly, to believe in the One whom He has sent!
The old edict places the focus on you and your works, while the new edict proclaims to both Jew and Gentile, look to the cross, and look to the empty tomb – Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness unto all who believe! Let us, therefore, glory in the Lord!
We can view ourselves represented by Esther; We can cry out to the King in prayer. Note what Esther said – “If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes” – quite the mouthful, but doesn’t that give us a picture of what Christ meant when His disciples were told to pray not only in His name, but according to His will?
We could go down the route of listing what Esther said and call them guidelines to prayer. We jury-rig our choice of words to sort of flatter the Creator of the universe so our petitions sound pleasing and right before the king, and we work and hide behind our works to project how we have seemingly found favor with God and Man.
Here’s how I see it: Through Christ’s finished work we have found favor in God’s sight, and through Christ’s finished work – not by our work – we could be so bold to say that we are pleasing in God’s eyes. God is a King with absolute power and infinite authority, but by the Holy Spirit we may run to the throne of Grace, calling Him much more than our King, but our Father.
We’ve been made so close to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, much so that what pleases Him is what pleases us, and what seems right before the King is what seems right to us. As we are aligned to the Creator of the Universe, and as we continue to be transformed by the renewing of our finite mind in this finite reality, our trust in the Lord is only made stronger – and while this does not mean that we get all we ask for, we have a special peace to be had – one that assures us that the prayers that we utter are certainly heard by the Creator, who knows the best way to respond, far beyond what we think is best.
As we recount these perspectives of the salvation we have in Jesus Christ, let us remember that the enemy of our souls has been so utterly defeated, suffering a fate far worse than oblivion – one of restlessness, seething as he sees God’s children resting even in this turbulent reality.
Let us also remember that we rest because we know that the Lord is not only able to hear us, but is absolutely willing to know all that there is to know – not only about us, but I believe He has our families and our friends at least as close to His heart as they are to ours.
Finally, let us remember that Christ paid such a huge price to ensure that we are no longer righteous by the Law, not by our works and our fruits and our observances – We believe in the finished work of Christ, which has absolutely guaranteed, without fail, that we have been made righteous unto eternal life. Let us remember that it is not about us scorning the old edicts, but living real Life and finding real Freedom in Christ. He is the New and Excellent Way.
What a wonderful set of revelations, from just the eighth chapter of the book of Esther. There are two more chapters to go, and I’d be more than willing to jump in and write about them, but let me work on other priorities for the moment. I’m sorry this was a long time coming, and I’m really sorry, especially if there are folks who insist on me keeping my commitment to strictly adhering to a thousand words a day. Rest assured, I will try to be better with each and every post.
Before I gear myself for my next self-imposed writing assignment, let me end by simply saying – Let him who glories, glory in the Lord. Amen.
Till the next post. God bless us all.