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. The Unexpected Honor Bestowed Upon Mordecai: A Picture of God’s Providence, Guidance, and Love for His People, 6:1-14 (6:1-14) Introduction: How often has a small event changed our lives? Some seemingly insignificant circumstance, experience, problem, or joyful occasion took place, and our lives were twisted and turned completely around. What we expected did not happen. Instead, a complete reversal of our plans took place and our lives changed dramatically. In some cases our fate and destiny were completely changed. When life-changing events take place in our lives—whether good or bad—this is known as divine providence, God’s providential care and guidance in our lives. God loves us and wants to save us so that we can know the fullness of life. As we walk about day by day, God wants us to live victorious lives, conquering all the trials and temptations that confront us and living life to the fullest. He wants us to experience the fullness of love, joy, and peace. But because of the wickedness of the human heart and all the evil and violence on the earth, God has to use human events to arouse our hearts to turn to Him for salvation. God wants our hearts stirred to live for Him and to worship Him. He wants us to live righteous and just lives, treating others as we want them to treat us. He wants us to love others just as we love ourselves. Divine providence simply means that God loves and cares for this world. Through His providential care, moving and using human events, He saves, guides, protects, and sustains His people. God’s providential care is the subject of the present Scripture. The story of Esther is one that suddenly and unexpectedly twists and turns. What is expected does not happen. The unexpected does. A complete reversal of events takes place. The story changes dramatically as honor is bestowed upon Mordecai and dishonor upon Haman. Mordecai is not hung upon the gallows, but Haman is (Ch.7). Through the providence of God, Mordecai is saved from the gallows and the Jews from extermination. This is, The Unexpected Honor Bestowed Upon Mordecai: A Picture of God’s Providence, Guidance, and Love for His People, 6:1-14. 1. Mordecai unexpectedly honored: God moves, uses human events to save His people (vv.1-10). 2. Haman unexpectedly humiliated: God humbles the prideful of this world (vv.11-14). 1. (6:1-10) Providence, of God, His Guidance and Care—Guidance, of God, Example—Care, of God, Example—Protection, of God, Example—Preservation, of God, Example—Sustaining Providence, of God, Example—Overshadowing, Providence of God, Example—Sovereignty, of God, Example—Mordecai, Honored by King Xerxes—Xerxes, King of Persia, Honored Mordecai—Haman, Pride and Ambition of, Example—God, Guidance of: in a surprising and quick succession of events, Mordecai was unexpectedly honored by King Xerxes. Instead of being executed upon the gallows built by Haman, Mordecai was exalted. God moved human events to save His people from the holocaust of extermination. During the very night of Esther’s banquet, eight very simple yet incredible circumstances pointed to God’s providential care for His people, His guiding the circumstances to save the Jewish race from annihilation. 1. After enjoying Queen Esther’s presence at her banquet, King Xerxes returned to his own quarters. But he had a very sleepless night (v.1). What kept him from sleeping? Was it the pleasure of Esther’s company once again? Had he begun to long for her presence? Or was it a matter of state business that weighed heavily on his mind? Or did he perhaps eat and drink too much at the banquet? Or was the mystery of Esther’s request confounding him, wondering what her petition would be? The fact that King Xerxes could not sleep after a dinner of wine is surprising, a clear evidence that God was keeping him awake. The Lord had begun to work in the king’s heart, so He could arouse Xerxes to save the Jewish people. Because of the king’s sleepless night, a series of events were to take place that would change the course of Jewish history. The Jews would not be exterminated as a race; instead, they would be saved. And God would continue to fulfill the covenant promises He had made to Abraham, Moses, and David. 2. Unable to sleep, the king ordered the royal records to be brought in and read to him (v.1). For a man who wanted to sleep, this was a strange solution to insomnia. It would have made far more sense to have ordered music or have a simple, relaxing story read. Or, he could have easily summoned a concubine to massage and spend time with him helping him to relax. But instead, he ordered the royal records, which is clear evidence that God’s providence was moving and using even the king’s decision to save His people. 3. The third event used by God was the king’s choice of records to be read (v.2). Of all the royal records that could have been read, the one chosen by the servant recorded the uncovering of the assassination plot by Mordecai (2:21-23). No doubt there were many volumes of the royal records in the king’s library, but the one chosen happened to include the fact that Mordecai had saved the king’s life several years earlier. A sleepless night, a decision to read the royal records, choosing the very record that included Mordecai’s having saved the king’s life—three simple events, all taking place just hours before Haman was planning to execute Mordecai. God’s providence was moving and using events to save His people. Warren Wiersbe gives an excellent application of this point. Can God direct in the books that people pick up and read? Yes, He can. Late in February 1916, a British student bought a book at a used-book stall in a railway station. He had looked at that book and rejected it at least a dozen times before, but that day he purchased it. It was Phantastes by George MacDonald, and the reading of that book eventually led to that young man’s conversion. Who was he? C.S. Lewis, perhaps the greatest and most popular apologist for the Christian faith of the middle-twentieth century. He wrote to a friend that he had picked up the book “by hazard” but I believe God had directed his choice. God can even direct what we read in a book. A young man in North Africa sought peace, first in sensual pleasures and then in philosophy, but only became more miserable. One day he heard a neighbor child playing a game and saying, “Take it and read! Take it and read!” The young man immediately picked up the Scriptures and “happened” to open to ; and those verses brought him to faith in Christ. We know that young man today as Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, and author of numerous Christian classics. The king’s servant picked out the very book that told about Mordecai’s good deed and read that section to Ahasuerus. How marvelous is the providence of God! 4. Fourth, God’s providence moved and used the king’s delay in rewarding Mordecai to save His people. It had been five years since Mordecai had uncovered the plot and saved the king’s life. If Mordecai had been immediately rewarded, the event now about to take place would have never happened. Most likely Mordecai would have been executed and the Jews exterminated. Thus the hand of God’s providential guidance and care for His people can be clearly seen in the king’s delay in rewarding Mordecai. Again, Warren W. Wiersbe gives an excellent practical application to this point that is well worth quoting: Is God in charge of schedules? He certainly is! After befriending Pharaoh’s butler, Joseph thought it would lead to his being released from prison; but Joseph had to wait two more years until the time God had chosen for him to become second ruler in Egypt (). God had a specific day selected for the Jews to leave Egypt (); see ), and even the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem occurred “when the fullness of the time was come” (, KJV). In the midst of a confused and troubled world, the dedicated believer is able to say, “My times are in Thy hand” (, KJV) and find peace in God’s will. 5. Fifth, God moved and used the early, timely arrival of Haman to the palace in order to save Mordecai and His people (vv.4-5). Remember, the previous evening Haman had made the decision to approach the king to suggest the immediate execution of Mordecai (5:14). Anxious to secure the warrant of execution from the king as soon as day broke, Haman rushed to the palace. Not having slept all night, the king apparently heard Haman when he entered the outer court. Not knowing who it was, the king asked his attendants for the identity of the person. When they mentioned that it was Haman standing in the court, the king ordered them to bring him in. Evidently the king was still in his bedchamber. Whatever the case, the king was most anxious to honor Mordecai who had saved his life. Even in the early arrival of Haman to the palace, we can see the hand of God’s providence. He used Haman’s bitter hatred against Mordecai to arouse him to be the first royal official to arrive at the palace on this particular morning. 6. Sixth, when Haman entered the king’s presence, the Lord moved and used the wording of the king’s question to Haman (v.6). Note that the king’s question did not identify the man whom the king wished to reward. Addressing Haman, the king asked what should be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor? The question stirred Haman’s prideful, evil heart, for he believed the king was planning to honor him. Within his mind, he was asking himself: Just who is the king going to honor? It must be me, for no one deserves it as much as I do. After all, I am the closest advisor and counselor to the king. The king’s vague question is clear evidence of God’s sovereign power, for He used the exact words of the king’s question to help His people. 7. Seventh, God moved and used the selfish, ambitious answer of Haman to save Mordecai and the Jews (vv.7-9). Thinking that he was the one to be honored by the king, Haman suggested the highest honor that could be given to a person. The man would be second only to the king. a. The man should be given a royal robe, one of the same robes the king himself had worn (v.8). He should also be given one of the royal stallions the king had ridden, and the stallion should have the royal crest placed on its head. b. The man should be presented to the people as a member of royalty with royal authority, second only to the king (v.9). In all the pomp and ceremony of the king himself, he should be led through the city streets by one of the king’s most noble officials, proclaiming that this man was honored by the king and was to be honored as second only to the king. Even in Haman’s self-centered and determined answer, God was moving to save Mordecai and His people from Haman’s evil plot. The prime minister had just spelled out the honor that was soon to be bestowed upon Mordecai. 8. Finally, God used the king to give the shocking order that reversed the fate, the destiny of Haman and Mordecai (v.10). Pleased with the suggestion of Haman, the king ordered the prime minister to immediately secure the king’s robe and horse and then to do exactly as he had prepared—for Mordecai the Jew. Utterly shocked and horrified, Haman’s spirit no doubt crumpled. Above all others throughout the empire, Haman never would have expected Mordecai to be the man the king wished to honor. Continuing his command, the king warned Haman: he must not neglect anything he had recommended. Every honor suggested by the prime minister was to be bestowed upon Mordecai the Jew. Thought 1. Divine providence simply means God’s guidance and care. He sustains and guides human destiny. He moves and uses human events to save people, to arouse people to awaken out of their sins and turn to Him. He longs for people to worship and serve Him and to live righteous lives while on earth. Through His providential care, God guides, provides, protects, sustains, and preserves His people, all who turn to him through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (). Listen to what God’s Holy Word says about His providence. 1) God’s providential care provides for His people. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (). “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (). “And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee” (). “That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil” (). “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over” (). Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” (). “Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it” (). “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah” (). It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep” (). 2) God’s providential care protects his people. “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (). “But there shall not an hair of your head perish” (). “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (). “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (). “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (). “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (). “And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of” (). “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars” (). “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (). “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast” (). “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (). “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (). “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever” (). “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall” (). 3) God’s providential care sustains His people. “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (). “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself” (). “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them” (). “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great” (). “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him” (). “But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God” (). “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (). “I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (). “And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar [gray] hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (). “Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up” (). 4) God’s providential care preserves His people. “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (). “And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day” (). “For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed” (). “And the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went” (). “O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer” (). “For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off” (). “The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous. The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord” (). “He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints” (). “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee” (). 2. (6:11-14) Humiliation, Example of—Embarrassment, Example of—Abased - Abasement, Example of—Disgrace, Example of—Dishonor, Example of—Shame, Example of—Degraded, Example of—Haman, Humiliation of: quickly, unexpectedly, Haman was humiliated before the public while Mordecai was honored. The honorable prime minister was to suffer the most embarrassing, disgraceful act of his life. His experience clearly shows how God humbles the prideful of the world and exalts the humble. 1. Haman’s pride was crushed by the command of the king, for he was forced to exalt the man he had personally despised and plotted to execute, the Jew Mordecai. In a state of shock and shameful humiliation, Haman went out to the city gate to get Mordecai to bring him into the palace. Cringing at the very thought of what he was being forced to do, Haman placed the king’s royal robe on Mordecai and led him through the city streets on the king’s royal horse shouting out that the people were to honor Mordecai. What irony! Bowing down before the prime minister was the very thing Mordecai had refused to do. Now Haman was being forced to demand that the public bow before Mordecai. 2. Imagine Haman’s utter disgrace in view of the fact many of his friends and royal officials knew of his bitter hatred toward Mordecai. Everyone also knew of his extreme prejudice and malice toward the Jews. Naturally—and deservedly—his spirit was crushed. Therefore when Haman and Mordecai returned to the palace gate, the disgraced prime minister covered his head in shame and rushed home. He just could not bear the embarrassment. 3. When Haman arrived home, he found that all his friends, not knowing what had just transpired, had gathered to encourage him. But after he related the disgrace he had suffered, he again received a shock. His wife and friends did not give him comforting advice but, rather, a prediction of his downfall. They warned that he could not stand against Mordecai since he was a Jew. And because the king had so highly honored Mordecai, Haman was running a dangerous risk in continuing with his plot to exterminate the Jews. His Decree of Extermination was doomed to fail, for the king would now be sympathetic to the Jews. There is far more meaning than meets the eye in this prediction by Haman’s wife and friends. God stands behind his people, guaranteeing their survival. No person or nation will ever stand who opposes God’s dear people. Just as the Lord protected the Jewish nation down through the years, so the Lord will protect all who truly put their trust in Him. 4. While Haman’s wife and friends were still talking with him, several of the king’s attendants arrived and rushed him to the queen’s second banquet (v.14). Earlier in the day Haman’s plans were to enjoy the banquet with a free and joyful spirit. If the events had happened as he planned, by this time he would have already executed his archenemy Mordecai. But now he was forced to go to the banquet with a crushed spirit and with fear flooding his heart, for his wife had predicted the start of his downfall. With these thoughts in mind as well as the utter disgrace he had suffered, he no doubt cringed at the thought of having to attend the banquet. But because it was a banquet prepared by Queen Esther herself, Haman had no choice. Thought 1. God humbles the prideful of this world, those who exalt themselves above others. A prideful person feels more important than others and lifts himself up above others. He loves himself, regards himself, and respects himself more than he does others. A prideful person esteems himself more highly than others and is often smug, cocky, bigheaded, conceited, and condescending toward others. Self-centered pride is a terrible evil upon this earth. It puts other people down, often degrading belittling, shaming, humiliating, and weakening them. God commands us to love one another, not to walk around in a spirit of haughtiness or arrogance toward others. For this reason God declares that He will humble the prideful of this world. Listen to what God’s Holy Word says: “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (). Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits” (). “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know” (). Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (). “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (). “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (). “They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn” (). “He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud” (). “The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined” (). “An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin” (). “Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment” (). “Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments” (). “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (). When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom” (). “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (). “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (). “He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction” (). “For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks” (). “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him” (). “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat” (). “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit” (). “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (). “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee” (). “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (). “The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth” (). “For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust” (). “And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten” (). “Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord” (). “They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas” (). “And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him for all this” (). “Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down” (). “Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord” (). “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith” (). , The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, (Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 2004), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "C. The Unexpected Honor Bestowed Upon Mordecai: A Picture of God’s Providence, Guidance, and Love for His People, 6:1-14".
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