God loves you. He sees every tear and every moment you hurt. He sees our efforts to be closer to Him and to be more like Him. He knows you and loves you. When satan comes against a child of God, he thinks he has much to gain but with God’s providence he actually has a whole lot more to lose. The tables have turned and the Jews have the advantage. Their day seemed to be successful. Why then did Esther request another day? Was she afraid? Did she need to be sure their future was secure? Did she abuse the power that was given her? Was she out for revenge? We don’t really know but it should tell us that when God has put us in a position of power, no matter what level that power might be, we need to cover our actions in prayer and examine our motives. Luke 12:48 tells us if we are given much then much will be required of us. We must handle whatever we have been given with diligence.
Again, we are not sure of Esther’s motives but to hang the sons on the gallows seemed to be about revenge since they were already dead. Do we ever witness those that not only want to stab someone but also want to twist the sword? Although Haman was not king, Esther’s request was most likely based on the custom that the sons of an assassinated ruler were also to be killed. Once again if Xerxes would put some thought into the advice he receives, he may have realized Esther may have perceived Haman as such thus taking a blow to his own ego. His lack of awareness had worked to Esther’s advantage.
Seems as if the Jews acted humbly. Even though the edict listed women and children, and even of the men, they seemed to focus on killing the real enemies and also did not take advantage of taking the plunder. They realized this war was not about possession. They knew their circumstance was a result of their disobedience to God back when God instructed them to destroy the Amalekites. They also knew that God did not want them to have their plunder. Check out the battle with the Amalekites in 1Samuel 15:13-23 when God says “No”, He means “No”. Saul tried justifying his actions but when God gives us specific instructions, He does not settle for partial obedience. The Jews at this point were determined to follow God’s instructions in order to be successful.
We don’t know if Esther’s second day of vengeance was to complete a task or not. We do see in the Old Testament, many wars where God used people to carry out His wrath. At the coming of Christ, we are taught to love our enemies. It is the Lord’s right to avenge. (Romans 12:19) It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to do this and any vengeance that is due us or others can be satisfied by Christ’s blood shed for us on the cross.
In these verses we realize that Esther had another reason for wanting another day since 800 were killed in Susa. It seems many of the enemies were being killed in the other provinces making it possible that a second day was needed to complete the task. When we get victory, we need to rest, reflect, celebrate. The Jews are celebrating because their day of death has come and gone and they are still standing. They are alive!
People are turning to so many worldly things to fill the emptiness in their heart. Those that are deceived by drugs live everyday with the possibility of dying of an overdose. Relieve can come when they are willing to go to rehab. It seems a shame that relief can also come when they end up in jail because that has a possibility of getting them to participate in some form of rehab. Either way peace comes to their loved ones because the threat of death is no longer there. Continued prayer is definitely still needed and a good outcome is not guaranteed but hope is revived.
The enemy is out to slaughter in any way he sees possible. It is a victory when you see where you are compared to where you would be had you allowed his schemes to come to fruition. A celebration is due when the schemes crumble. Walking in God’s way will prove to bring victory. Because Christ overcame sin and the grave, we have reason to have joy everyday and should be intentional about celebrating. The word “presents” is translated from portion and is also used in Psalm 16:5-6 where it is related to destiny. God’s providence marks our pilgrimage through our problem filled life and in the end instead of falling apart, God’s involvement has kept us in one piece. The psalmist says his lot is secure. In Esther 3:7, the lot fell as God wanted. No matter what life or satan hands us, God’s favor causes that lot and our portion to bring us to our destiny as we trust in our God instead of to destruction. God’s way is right and full of purpose. When you realize the portion God has assigned you, you will have to share it with others.
We can be confident in who God made us to be and not hindered by how we see our circumstance. At times we can feel we don’t have what it takes or that someone else can do a better job. We see in Esther how God’s providence can unfold in our ordinary lives. Look for turn arounds in your own life and give God the praise He deserves. He is a faithful God. Psalm 37: 3 tells us to “Trust in the Lord and do good” so keep doing that and turnarounds will become a reality, sometimes when we least expect it. Purim to us is celebrating any deliverance that God has brought about in our life. We have reason to celebrate even when we can’t recall those because Jesus provided the ultimate deliverance when He went to the cross that we can receive eternal life. A part of their celebration involved giving to the poor. We can give out of our riches but at times we can experience overwhelming humility when we receive out of someone else’s poverty because of their willingness to show gratitude.
This is a summary of the events in Esther and why Purim is celebrated. Esther is not remembered for her beauty or her way with people but because God remembered a people who had forgotten Him. God is faithful and good. If we are not remembered for what we do, may we be remembered for what God does through us and who we have become because of Him. Notice Esther was not given credit in these verses in the NIV. Doing the right thing is right whether we get any credit or not.
Beth explains that one of her Jewish commentaries translates the phrase “establish the custom” to “undertook and irrevocably obligated themselves.” We saw in Esther 1:19 that the Persian law is irrevocable. Persians made laws that were irrevocable and the Jews took it upon themselves to do the same. The Jews obligated themselves to “never stop observing the date of this deliverance”. As Beth put it, “You want irrevocable?, I’ll give you irrevocable!” This was a holiday that the Jews created not only to remind themselves of what God had done for them but to bless God.
God had a plan for man’s redemption and He also has laws that are irrevocable. The Jews will be delivered. God has many witnesses to the truth of the Bible. The Jew is an obvious witness who always keeps standing up and living. If people would examine and listen to the evidence, they may be drawn to realize there is a God that loves them and wants to be a purposeful part of their life. We are only sustained by God whether we acknowledge Him or not. It is to our benefit to acknowledge Him as God.
God works out everything (Ephesians 1:11) according to His good purpose (Philippians 2:13) for our good. (Romans 8:28) God’s providence is able to accomplish good for the big picture because only God sees the big picture. No matter what Haman’s of life come against us, God will work it out and work it well. Ask God to help you hear from Him.
We all have a long way to go in our pursuit of God, but by studying His word and living life in that pursuit, we will be better today than where we were yesterday. The story ends with tables turned. Esther lived by decree and now writes hers. Mordecai the overlooked is now the overseer. No matter what we go through, if we allow God to finish the story, it will end well. God always has the last word. If we look around many things don’t go well in life but with God there is a crown.
God is zealous for His house, His people. In John 2:13-17 He overturns tables because of a people looking for profit instead of inviting God’s presence. We need a fresh work of God on a regular basis to keep from being led astray to legalism, our own fleshly desires, and deception. In Luke 24:14-16, 19-20, Jesus set up a new covenant. He said, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you…” He said this with no exception to Judas. He desires to sit and dine with you no matter who you are. He was fully aware that Judas was going to deceive Him but He still desired to be in the presence of all of them.
During the time of King Xerxes, you recall there were people that became Jews because the fear of the Jews came upon them. They desired to be a Jew. God met them in Susa and then drew them to Jerusalem. God wants to meet you where you are and draw you to Himself through faith in Jesus Christ His Son. We all have a story. Our story is an important scene in the large story that takes place under God’s heaven for God’s purpose.
We must believe in a God even when we don’t see Him or feel Him. We need a Deliverer and He will deliver. Sometimes it is a little later than we expect but just as the Jews in Esther and the Jews in the Holocaust would have ceased to exist if it were not for God’s providence. Deliverance always comes for God’s people. Just as Esther was in a “royal position for such a time as this”, you are also in a position at any given time to fulfill God’s purpose. When that time is the roughest is when the most will be accomplished.