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A Frightful Turn

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If you have a bible or a copy of Gods word open up to the end of Esther 2. I have titled the message, “A Frightful Turn”
As we go through this book I am going to be summarizing where we have been each and every week. If you remember the book started introducing King Xerxes who had the largest empire the world had ever known at that time, and he hosted this party to celebrate himself, and he called his wife for the main event, and she said no I am not going to be paraded around like a trophy which angered the king so much so that his advisors thought it best that he remove her as queen, and God is in sovereignty makes Esther the queen, by winning this beauty pageant, that wasn’t your typical pageant, and as bad it was to read how these women were treated, God was using that Pageant to crown the queen he wanted, which was Esther so he could ultimately save his people from what is about to take place.
In the text today we are introduced to what I believe is the main evil character in the book and that is Haman. And you might ask this guy is more evil than the king, and the answer is probably no, but when it comes to the evil he is planning against the Jews that we will see in the text , it is defiantly a yes.
I want you to remember what I said so far God is not mentioned in this book, but he is at work. This book is full of God’s sovereignty, and you will see that again today though it may not same like it.
as your main idea this morning is this…

God is always working even when we cannot see it.

Esther 2:19–23 ESV
19 Now when the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 Esther had not made known her kindred or her people, as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him. 21 In those days, as Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 22 And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai. 23 When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows. And it was recorded in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.

God placed Mordecai in the right place at the right time to save the king.

There is much speculation about what this second gathering of virgins is many believe it is those who lost this contest, and they for one reason or another were brought out, if it truly mattered I believe we would know more, but we are introduced back to Mordecai and we learn something we didn’t know about him earlier and that is he is some sort of official in the court.
Archaeologists have actually found evidence of this gate that was built by Xerxes Father Darius, and it was 131 by 92 feet in size. One scholar said, This gate was a large building consisting of a central hall that led into the royal compound and two rectangular side rooms.2 The central hall was supported by four columns with trilingual inscriptions on the bases that read, “Xerxes the King says, ‘By the grace of A-hura-mazda, the Gate, Darius the King made it, he who was my father.’ ” The excavation of this gate and the square in front of it correspond well to the details of the palace given by the author of Esther (cf. 4:6), indicating that the author was familiar with the palace complex at Susa.’
Now going back to the story with some details on where they were as Mordecai is at the sitting at the Kings gates ( and we get some information that Esther still has not told the king that Mordecai is her family or that she is a jew an important detail as we move on in the text today ) But at the King’s gate two of the King’s eunuchs are plotting the death of Xerxes. We don’t know what they were plotting to do, only the fact that they want him dead, and they were angry at the king for some sort of reason..
And by God’s absolute sovereignty...
Mordecai becomes aware of this assassination plot, and he goes and he tells Queen Esther about it, and Esther goes on behalf of Mordecai telling the King, hey there are two people who want you dead, and this man Mordecai told me to tell you about this plan they have to kill you, and so the King goes and finds this to be true, and these men where hanged for their crime against the king, now it says in the text this was written in the book of the Chronicles in the presence of the king. And thats all that happened.
And this is where things get interesting, because it was custom during the time for acts of loyalty like this to be throughly rewarded, and we know that Xerxes had great riches, yet we do not see Mordecai rewarded for it, he doesn’t get a promotion rather are introduced to Haman the Agagite.
Follow along with me as I read 1 verse in Esther 3:1
Esther 3:1 (ESV)
1 After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Ham-medatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him.
So after we read of Mordecai saving the king we expect him, and not Haman to be second in command right, it wasn’t Haman who made sure the king was alright, it was Mordecai, and we dont know why he saved the king we just know he did, but as we read on I want you to see another thing and its this..

Pride comes before the fall.

Listen to the words of scripture.
Esther 3:2–6 ESV
2 And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. 3 Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king’s command?” 4 And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand, for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury. 6 But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.
As Haman is elevated to this new position we see others begin to bow down to him, per the kings request, but one man didn’t and that man is Mordecai. For one reason or another Mordecai didn’t bow down it could have been for several reasons, maybe Haman was a coworker and Mordecai was like this guy is above me? We have all been there I bet, or maybe its rooted in a scriptural hatred between the Jews and the Agagite’s.
One commentary I was looking at said this guy is not from Texas A&M he is not an Aggy, he is an Agagite.
And there is a long rooted hatred between the two, but why is this?
Well from the time Isreal left Egypt all the way until King Saul these people constantly attacked the Jews over and over again. So when God made Saul the king he was told this…
1 Samuel 15:1–3 ESV
1 And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”
God actually called for the destruction of Haman’s decedents. And something I want you to know is Agag is the king of the Amalekites during the time Saul who also was of the tribe of Benjamin just like Mordecai. ( File that in your brain or write that down, because this will be important later )
But what you need to know about this calling of Saul is he did not do everything the Lord had commanded. He took Agag alive, and spared his life, along with the sheep and the cattle, and didn’t listen to the Lord.
One Scholar said this, and its helpful understanding what is going on here. The original readers would have understood this one clue as introducing yet another episode of the age-old conflict between Israel and the powers that sought to destroy her. God’s promise to protect Israel and to be at war with Amalek in every generation was given within the context of the Sinai covenant (Ex. 17:8–16). But would that promise still stand for the Jews living in exile precisely because they had violated that covenant? Could they expect God to be faithful to his covenant promises when they had failed to keep theirs? In other words, was the covenant between God and his people still in effect? This is the underlying question that would have generated plot tension in the minds of the original readers.
And the crazy thing about all of this to me is it seemed to be started by two prideful men one not honoring a person in position and another expected to be treated in a certain way.
This is tough for me, because if I am honest I have been on both ends of something like this.. Not honoring people when I should and not being honored when I should, all this is rooted in Pride.
I was reading that it was quite common for Jews to bow, but this time it was different, and I mentioned why this could be the case, and the result of it was not just let me take out Mordecai, but let me take out all this people for not bowing down to me.
Now in the Hebrew Haman’s name is strangely close to the word wrath, and he wanted to unleash his wrath, and he wanted to do, what Saul was commanded to do many years before and that was to destroy a specific people and the people he wanted to destroy was the Jews...
Lets keep reading…
Esther 3:7–15 ESV
7 In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, they cast lots) before Haman day after day; and they cast it month after month till the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not to the king’s profit to tolerate them. 9 If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king’s business, that they may put it into the king’s treasuries.” 10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, “The money is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you.” 12 Then the king’s scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king’s satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 13 Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province by proclamation to all the peoples to be ready for that day. 15 The couriers went out hurriedly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in Susa the citadel. And the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion.
Third thing I want you to write down this morning is this…

God is sovereign over the plans of men.

Lots happening here in the text. So some five years later after Esther is crowned Queen, and Haman doesn’t get his rightful respect he is ready to give this plan over to the King.
And if you noticed while I was reading it he is careful to leave himself out of it, rather he tells the King these people don’t obey the laws of the kingdom, they are not like us, they don’t do what we do, and these people are scattered all across your empire, he says really in fact these people do not even profit the kingdom at all.
So if these people are against you, and your laws, why don’t you if it please you get rid of them, and why don’t you decree is just like you did when you got rid of the queen.
Notice how careful he is he knows that Xerxes is a ruthless Narcissist. That he is about himself and his own good, and he uses that without even mentioned who these people are.
And he does so not only by manipulating the king, but adding to the King’s own pocketbook.
So not only should you put to death these people, but also I want you to give you a gift of 10000 talents of silver.
Herodotus who is a famous historian during the time said, the annual revenue of the Persian empire under Xerxes’ father, Darius, was 14,560 thousand talents. This revenue was generated by receiving tribute (i.e., taxes) from the satrapies.
One Scholar said...Haman’s offer to provide ten thousand talents of silver (about 300 tons) represents a substantial contribution to the royal coffers. Haman may have thrown out an exaggerated figure of ten thousand talents to sell his idea.
So Haman’s plan is this.. King get rid of these people who are against you, and ill make you rich from doing it..
All I need you to do is just give me that signet ring so we can make it official. Its like for us signing on the dotted line.
The Signet ring was distint to the king and the people would know if his seal was present it had authority.
The plan is in place and the king agreed, the Jews have met their fate because one man refused to bow down.
So the King’s scribes were summoned to make this decree notice this is going to take place 12 months from now, every providence is going to receive the same instruction.. On the 13 day of the 12 month which is the month of Adar You are to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jews, and take all they have..
And as they hurry to make the decree the King and Haman set down for a drink..
Now there are a few key things I want you to know about today which ties into the point of God is sovereign over the plans of men.
All the way in verse 5 you see they were casting lots, and these are like modern dice, and during that time these were used specifically for divination, this is how they determined the will of their Gods, and it just so happened that this Evil plan landed nearly a year later and not sooner, and its because these gods were not in charge God is..
Proverbs 16:33 ESV
33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
Despite this evil plan coming from Haman it would not be set in motion for many months later, but the date it fell on is even more striking.
This date fell on the eve of the passover, now many already know what the passover is, but the passover was a celebration each and every year celebrating the fact that Israel was brought out of Egypt ultimately looking forward to Jesus Christ . And during the night of the passover God commanded all the Israelites to put blood on the door posts, passing over those homes, and causing all the Egyptian first born kids to die, ultimately leading the Israelites to be set free. So falling on this date was no coincidence it happened by the power of God.
And Jews were to celebrate this every year until Jesus became the fulfillment of it.
One scholar said… To the Jewish reader, Haman’s casting of the pur and the resulting edict of death on Passover eve would be profoundly ironic, suggesting the critical question: “Would God still deliver his people, now in exile in Persia, even though they had violated the very covenant in which he promised protection?” In other words, the knowledgeable reader would be asking whether the covenant with Yahweh, celebrated by Passover, was still in effect for the Jews of Persia. Because the remnant of Jews who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple were nevertheless still under Persian rule, their fate, too, was being cast in faraway Susa.
The Text says though that this through people into confusion, and we will see next week what the people where actually going through. But you really need to take heart the point I am saying though and that is God is sovereign over the plans of men. In fact he is sovereign over all plans.
The book of Esther is not the only time in history where the Jews have been threatened to extinction, it happened multiple times in the scriptures, it happened during the reign of Hitler, and in this fallen world it could happen again, for Christians this is also the case.
Listen to what one man said.. A situation similar to this story from Susa occurred in the life of the early church when first-century Christians felt the full force of Roman might. The Roman emperors demanded “respect” by issuing a decree that an offering of incense must be burnt in their honor. All good citizens of the empire would in this way express their appreciation for the benefits and well-being the Roman emperor provided. When Christians saw that demand to be in conflict with their allegiance to Jesus Christ and refused to pay such honor, the charge brought against them was treason, a political crime punishable by death. It was not in the emperor’s best interest to let such “traitors” live, though their only offense was a refusal to offer the “respect” demanded.
Alot like what is going on in the book of Esther.
Today this seems relevant as well nothing truly ever changes under the sun. Political groups, activists want Christians to bow down to their ideas just like they did thousands of years ago, and when we don’t we may face persecution in some sort of way. Our country doesn’t have the Christian backbone it used to, but yet we are not as bad off as many other believers who face the possibility of death for not honoring and bowing down to cultural and religious ideas in their own contexts, in fact life-way put out an article stating that 1 in 7 global Christians faced persecution in 2021 with an average of 16 deaths per day just for being a Christian. Most likely because their beliefs do not aline with the places they live. And though man may scheme against you at any moment, and death may come knowing down your door if you belong to Jesus you may lose your life, but you wont lose your soul.
Remember introduction I quoted Mark Dever who said this book is really just one long illustration of Romans 8:28, I feel like a broken record quoting this verse and the following in Romans all the time, but you need to take them to heart when it seems God’s is not truly in control, and that the plans of men may overcome even the mighty God But always know this God is in control....
Romans 8:28–39 (ESV)
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
At the end of the day we may face a situation where death is our sentence, where God seems to be nowhere to be found… But ill tell you this… God is working… Not only is he working if you are a believer he is making you more like Christ preparing you into his likeness for such a day so that you will know, Jesus died for me, and I dont have to face the wrath of man, or of Satan because I belong to God, and he says nothing can be a charge against me, and nothing can separate me from God… Nothing, and Paul as we see in the text shows us that is truly nothing.
Now these Jews did not know if the promise of God still wrung true to them, and it did, and we will see that. And while God preserves his people in this life, he does so for all of eternity, which is even greater than the days we have on earth.
But that promise only comes for those who are his… God’s chosen people during that time where the Jews, and God’s chosen people today are Christians, and if you are not a Christian I could defiantly see why something like this situation we are reading today or any other major event could cause you great trouble, because uncertainly is never comfortable is it..
Now I know what is certain we have a sin problem just like Mordecai, just like Jews did, just like Haman, just like Xerxes, and even Esther, and those who don’t know God get the wrath that Haman is ready to bring down on all the Jews..
But as Christians who believe that Jesus covers that wrath we can be certain that if we are his…Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Do you know the one who covers the wrath of God today?
Two verses I want to read you then we can pray..
Revelation 13:9–10 ESV
9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear: 10 If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

When life takes a frightful turn, know God is always working even when we cannot see it.

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