Esther was an orphan adopted by her uncle Modecai. She was beautiful, obedient, radiant and exuded grace. She along with Modecai were captured by Babylonians and shipped against their will to Babylon. There Esther continued to learn and grow irrespective of her undesired circumstance. Do you see a common thread in all these stories? People chose to thrive even in unwanted situations. Let’s get back to the story. Modecai, a just and good man continued to grow in stature and favor with the King. Promotion upon promotion came his way. In short order, he was heading the King’s entourage. And Esther become the queen of the land. They both made rapid progress up the corporate ladder.
But that kind of growth and advancement as we have found does not go without opposition. It does not go without jealousy. Enter a man named Haman, a native Babylonian who was jealous of the progress of Modecai and his niece Esther had been making. He was jealous of the progress the Jews were making in Babylon. Haman decided to end this phenom of foreigners getting good opportunities in his native land by bringing allegations about Modecai that simply were not true.
Eventually, Haman, through meandering and cunning, got the King of Babylon to declare a holocaust on all the Jews. Basically, every Jewish person, who came into Babylon, kidnapped or otherwise would be murdered. A genocide of sorts. Oh I imagine the fear to which Modecai was subjected to as he tried to sleep. I imagine him watching his back closely as he walked the streets in the middle of the night for fear of being recognized and lynched. I think of him always considering that today might be the day he drew his last breath. His long term planning suffering from neglect. There was no 5 year strategic plan in his book, for all he knew, he might be dead in 5 minutes.
I imagine Mordecai hearing of the new construction down the street. A Gallow is being built, the people told him. A place where humans, Jews specifically, would be hanged. There was word on the street that the first Jew to be hanged would be Modecai himself. I imagine him struggling to be calm in that moment. The thoughts racing through his head may have been: Do I run? Do I hide? Do I kill a few Babylonians before I die? Or do I just trust in the Lord? Trust in the Lord he did, laying a solid example for you and I in times of distress. He believed God was doing something. And though his own strength was failing fast, He believed God was able to come through. Before I am hanged, he thought to himself, I will do something brave. I will go talk to Esther. Because he wanted her to see, like he had seen, that God was doing something special.
Modecai approached Esther and told her of the impending Jewish plight. He admonished her not to think that just because she lived in opulence at the palace, as queen, that she was safe from the planned genocide. It should not be said that because Esther had food to eat, water to drink, and a grand roof over her head, that all was well. But I imagine he put his arms around her and gently asked her to consider what God was doing. He told her that if she does nothing, God will still raise up a deliverance for Israel through some other means. But what if God was planning to use her for this historic work? What if she was born for a time such as this? What if her premise for living was for this moment? What if she could be remembered for all ages, as a savior for her compatriots?
Esther asked Modecai to go and pray for her. She will fast and go into the King’s presence. It was not customary for a woman to enter the King’s presence without being invited. But for the Jews sake, she would. If she perishes, well, so be it. And so Esther went to the King’s palace without an invitation, and he held out his scepter so that she was saved. She petitioned the King to consider the cause of the Jews. Her countrymen added to society, and did not take away from it. If there was anyone who took away and caused trouble, it was Haman.
The King listened and found reason in her argument. He asked if there were any gallows to which Haman could be hanged for his shenanigans. The King’s advisers told him Haman had just finished construction of an elaborate gallow, on time and on budget. The King asked that Haman instead be hanged on those gallows. And thus were the children of Israel saved. The gallow built for Mordecai was instead used on the builder Haman. This reminds me of the scripture: “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” – Matthew 21:44
Now do you see what God was doing all along? He was about to promote Mordecai. Do you see a recurring theme here? That just before your biggest promotion, God will allow you go through a test. The test may be difficult, but if you trust that God is doing something, you will come out of the test unscathed and ready for your promotion. God was doing something grand. He was saving the Jews. He was making it possible for you to read of Esther’s heroics thousands of years later. To read that there is nothing impossible for Him to do. And He was making it possible for Babylon to be evangelized. Because after the demise of Haman, the King proclaimed that Esther’s God was to be served. The persecution against Christians in Babylon seized immediately. God is so good. He is doing something now in your life as you read this. Surely, God is aware of today. He has your best interest at heart. If so, things are not going well for a good reason.
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. – Esther 4:16