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Esther 6 What Goes Round Comes Round

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What Goes Round Comes Round

Esther 6

 

Throughout the book of Esther, God’s name is never mentioned, however we discover the invisible, almighty God has been working behind the scenes on behalf of His people.

Subtly setting up situations,

incidents,

events

that work to the benefit of those who love and follow Him.

And He is still working that way today!

He’s still doing it! Right now,

Today, if you’re trusting and following Him…

He’s weaving the ‘seemingly insignificant’ details of your life into His perfect plan for you.

But He’s doing it anonymously,

many times without your awareness or knowledge.

 

Review:  People in our story

KING:  Exerses (Ahashueras)

-          king of all Persia.

-          Jews were in exile in Babylon when the Persians conquered Babylon.

                   Swayed by his self-serving pride

Banished his wife because she refused to display her beauty in front of his drunken guests.

Then declared an edict that all the women in his vast country must obey their husbands.

Beauty contest was held to choose a new Queen and Esther was chosen.

Esther was an orphaned Jewish girl who was raised by her cousin Mordecai.

Mordecai:

                   Uncovered a plot to kill king

                   Deed was recorded but not rewarded.

Haman the Agagite was a racial enemy of the Jews. 

The king elevated him to the place above all the other nobles. 

Everyone, except Mordecai, knelt down and paid honour to him. 

This so enraged Haman that he tricked the king into declaring a foolish and deadly edict.

On one specific day all the citizens of Persia are to rise up against their Jewish neighbours and kill all the men women and children and take their possessions as plunder.

Mordecai pleaded with Esther to approach the king and beg for their lives. 

“Who knows,” he said, “but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this.”

Reluctantly she agreed knowing that the king could have her killed for approaching him without being summoned. 

She asked Mordecai and all the Jews in the city to fast and pray for her for three days.

On the third day she approached the king,

he extended to her the royal sceptre

and asked her her petition. 

Her request, please come to a banquet I have prepared and bring Haman. 

After the meal, the king asked her to state her request. 

Once again she invited the king and Haman to a second banquet the next day and then she would do as the king asked, then she would state her request.

Haman went home from the banquet swollen with pride but passed Mordecai on the way and again was enraged that Mordecai did not pay him honour.

“His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him,

"Have a gallows built, seventy-five feet high, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai hanged on it.

Then go with the king to the dinner and be happy."

This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the gallows built.” (Es 5:14 NIVUS)

That’s where we paused our story last week.

The question remained hanging as it were:

-          will Mordecai be hanged?

-          Did Esther wait to long to petition the king?

-          Will God triumph?  Will He intervene on behalf of His chosen people?

Now chapter 6  “What Goes Round Comes Round.”

Notice who is honoured and exalted and who is disgraced and humiliated.

Chapter 6

Characters:

Exerses

                   What he does not know:

                             Who are the people he agreed to annihilate

                             His wife is one of those people – a Jew

                             Relationship between Mordecai and Esther

                             Haman’s true motives

Mordecai:

Mordecai is passed over as Haman, his enemy is chosen to be promoted. 

But Mordecai never becomes a man of vengeance. 

Mordecai knew how to guard his heart.

Listen to the words in book of Hebrews written several hundred years later but the principle is one by which Mordecai lived.

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”  (Heb. 6:10)

God does not forget. 

He notices. 

He will reward us for acts done in His name.

Perhaps not on this earth as happens to Mordecai, but someday.

Haman

          Love of self // hatred of Mordecai and all Jews

          His wife counsels him – (against edict of the king!)

-          1st to build gallows (5:14)

-          predicts Haman’s downfall by Mordecai (6:13)

God:

-          working behind the scenes

-          silent but powerful

-          orchestrating “circumstances”

Notice the circumstances that pile up after God’s people have prayed and now it is the 11th hour.

1)      the king is unable to sleep: 

That night the king could not sleep…”

While all of Susa slept, the king was restless. 

Of all nights to suffer from insomnia, this is the night!

That’s the way it is with God. 

At the eleventh hour, He steps in. 

He does the unexpected. 

When no one seems to notice and no one seems to care,

He notices and He cares.

In our story, God moves the heart of a godless king, who suddenly realizes that he owes his very life and throne to this obscure Jew named Mordecai. 

A man, who up to this moment in time, meant nothing to him.  Suddenly, he’s the king’s top priority.

Circumstance number:

2)      the daily court record read to him is about Mordecai – of all places in the court record to read.

3)      The king learns Mordecai has not been honoured for this act. 

He began to imagine what might be done to reward this man for his great deed.

4) the king seeks counsel as to how to honour Mordecai just as Haman enters (still night time?) the court to ask the king’s permission to murder Mordecai.

What a moment!. 

The sun is barely over the horizon,

and here comes Haman,

rushing to the palace as early as he can so he will be the first to have an audience with the king

and finish off his enemy.

Suddenly, out of the inner court, comes the voice of the king,

“Call him in.  Call Haman in.” 

The king is calling for him.

This will be even easier than he anticipated.

 

Now is my chance, he thinks. 

He glances out the window with a sinister sneer,

Just a minute, gallows, somebody will be on you. 

And with the stride of a peacock he struts into the court of the king.

Before he can get a line out of his mouth, however, the king fills his ears with unexpected words:

“What should be done for the man the king delights to honour?”

Circumstance number:

5) the king asks what should be done to honour Mordecai but does not reveal the identity of who he wants to honour.

When the king asks the question, whom does Haman think immediately of? 

Himself, of course.  Who else?

This is my moment, he gloats.  So let’s see, what could be done for me?  He quickly begins to list every glory he can imagine for himself.

Haman heard the phrase “What should be done for the man the king delights to honour?”(6:6)

He repeats it 3x’s in his reply having jumped to the conclusion that the man the king delights to honour must be none other than himself. 

(6:7,9a,9b)  He is entranced by the idea.

Honour is Haman’s lifeblood, and the thought of honour even diverts him from his plan against Mordecai!

“Do for Mordecai the Jew, all you have said.”

One sentence from the king transforms Haman in an instant from proud and arrogant into abject and utter humiliation.

Haman must cry out this same phrase

“This is what is done for the man the king delights to honour”

The entire city will hear the order to honour Mordecai,

the very one who refused to honour Haman

and whose refusal caused Haman to be so angry that it became his downfall.

Haman’s own swollen pride becomes his entrapment

The bitter irony of the complete reversal of Haman’s fortunes is indicated by the way that the narrator now has the king designate Mordecai as “Mordecai the Jew

The pre-eminent enemy of the Jews must now give to the Jew the honour he envisaged for himself.

As we see the parade,

we hear only grim silence

punctuated by the intoning phrase

The phrase that

Haman so relished when he thought it was meant for him,

but which now must fill his mouth with bitter gall as he proclaims it before Mordecai: 

“This is what is done for the man whom the king desires to honour!”

Talk about irony!

For a whole day Haman was the servant of Mordecai,

commanding the people to bow down and honor him! The very thing Mordecai wouldn’t do for Haman… Haman had to tell others to do for Mordecai!

All day long instead of gloating over him, Haman is shouting Mordacai’s praises!

I can just imagine people were calling out from crowd…”Haman, we thought you were going to hang him, not honor him!”

How humiliating!

(God really knows how to rub it in when He wants to!

That’s why we don’t have to worry about getting revenge!

God can do a pretty good job all by Himself!)

What goes around comes around.  Things have gone around for Haman – yet they finally come around for Mordecai. 

Sitting on that horse in regal attire,

he was the most surprised man in the kingdom. 

Not proud,

not vengeful,

not uttering a word,

Mordecai rides in silence. 

Then he returns to the king’s gate.

In 1880, Alexander Raleigh wrote a book on Esther.  About this moment, he wrote that

“A proud ambitious man would have said to himself, ‘No more of the king’s gate for me! 

I shall direct my steps now to the king’s palace, and hold myself ready for honour…

which surely must now be at hand.’ 

Mordecai seems to have said to himself,

‘If these things are designed for me in God’s good providence, they will find me. 

But they must seek me, for I shall not seek them. 

those who confer them know my address:

‘Mordecai, at the king’s gate,’ (they) will find me. 

Let the crowd wonder and disperse. 

          I have had enough of their incense. 

Let Haman go whither he will,

he is in the hands of the Lord. 

Let my friends at home wait,

they will hear all in time …

I can wait best at the old place and in the accustomed way –

at the king’s gate.

What a lesson to learn form the character of Mordecai. 

Do not let promotion go to your head. 

Do not be swayed by the applause of men. 

Wait for God’s timing and give Him the glory.

In God’s timing: WHAT GOES ROUND COMES ROUND

Haman is seeking the demise of his enemy, Mordecai.

He has been able to persuade the king to annihilate all the Jews,

He is confident this will be an easy task. 

His agenda brings him to the king just when the king wants to honour Mordecai. 

Mordecai gets the honour, Haman gets the humiliation of declaring that honour to all the city of Susa.

Now watch Haman return home. 

Only 24 hours earlier, Haman has come home crowing and bragging about how great he was.

Now he slides under the door, snivelling and whining about what happened to him.

The Haman types always blame other people for their misfortune. 

Have you noticed that?

It’s never,

“God has taught me a valuable lesson” or,

“I have been humbled through this” or,

“Through this loss I have gained” or,

“God has crushed my spirit, but thankfully, I’ve learned to rely on Him.”

Instead, invariably it is,

“If it hadn’t been for him…,” 

“If she hadn’t said…,” 

“If that person hadn’t done…,” 

“If the company hadn’t…,” 

and on and on and on. 

Haman’s like that.  He rehearses all that has happened to him, not a word about what he has brought on himself.

Then the storyteller puts into the mouth of Haman’s own wife, the words we had been hoping for throughout the entire plot. 

“Haman, Mordecai, who has already humiliated you, will yet bring you to complete ruin.”

(The one who the king earlier had attempted to silence before their husbands, is the one who predicts Haman’s demise.)

I remember hearing about a missionary…who had suffered and sacrificed for years bringing the gospel to primitive people.

As his health began to fail, he was forced to retire, and so he boarded a plane and flew back to the states.

On that plane was a group of professional football players who had just won a big game.

When they arrived at the airport, huge crowds were there to cheer and greet… (not the missionary) but the football players.

In fact, no one was there to welcome the missionary home.

Over time he began to think about this and become    resentful.

He complained to the Lord…

“Lord, here I am… I’ve struggled and sacrificed, scrimped and given my life to you, and after years      of faithful service I come back to the states and nobody could care less.

While, all these football players do is win a silly game. I come back and get nothing,

while they come back home and get cheering crowds… what’s the deal?

After a long silence, the Lord answered him in a quiet, gentle voice…

“Son, you’re not home yet!”

We leave our story with some hope for a resolution. 

Realizing that with God, there was always reason to be confident.

We leave our story as Haman and the king arrive at Esther’s second banquet. 

She has promised the king to reveal her petition at this banquet. 

The king has already agreed to grant her petition no matter what it is. 

We, the listener, know that it is now Haman’s life that is imminent danger.

But Haman’s only clue is his own wife’s prophecy given to him as he is being escorted to the banquet: 

“Mordecai will be your ruin.”

Conclude:

Do you identify with aspects of our story?

If you are honest you probably find yourself only wishing you had some of Mordecai’s humility.

Perhaps, in cutting honesty you saw some of the pride of Haman ruling your life.

You can change.  God is in the business of changing hearts.  You no longer need to be ruled by a proud heart. 

The fruit of the Spirit can begin today as you place the rest of your life into the hands of a transforming, loving and merciful God.

-          PRAY > ‘CIRCUMSTANCES’ happen!

Esther called all the Jews to a three day fast and prayer.

Then she put into place a plan

and put her life in danger to carry out the plan,

trusting God to take care of her.

It seemed the situation only got worse. 

But at the 11th hour, God moved through a chain of circumstances to reverse Haman’s scheme.

When God seems absent,

He’s present. 

Even when you think you have lost all,

God uses it as an opportunity to:

- awaken you to the realization that He is still in charge,

- as well as to bring you to your knees.

Never once in all of Haman’s peacock strutting and evil plotting had God ignored him or his plan to murder Mordecai and the Jews. 

God had not missed his statements,

the pride of his heart,

the violent and prejudicial motives behind his decisions.

God was invisible,

but He was not out of touch or passive. 

He had not forgotten His people or His promises to them

– or to their enemies!

Do you feel that God has been absent

Or God is  on hold in your life,

Or God is distant? 

The lesson from our story of Esther: 

He may have seemed absent from you, but He has been present all along. 

Furthermore,

He knows your heart. 

He knows the true condition of your soul. 

He knows the hidden impurities of your motives. 

He knows the deep depravity of your sin. 

But He’s heard your cry for help and He will not turn you away.

In the final analysis, God will have His way. 

He’s not impressed with earthly kingdoms and personal towers,

with pride and prestige and wealth and fame. 

He’s impressed with a humble heart that comes to Him on His terms.

Mordecai and Esther knew this.

Haman never learned it.

How about you this morning? 

Are you willing to fall on your knees before God and submit to His sovereign will? 

He’s never turned His back on anyone who truly comes to Him by way of the cross.

Don’t put it off. 

You can only strut around like Haman, trying to build your own personal world on your own terms, for so long. 

You can wait too long.

Remember, what goes around comes around.

This morning will you relinquish everything to God?

-          your plans for the future,

-          the possessions you are surrounded with,

-          all your fears and anxieties?

God is active, and desires to hear the broken and humble prayer of your heart.

“Years I spent in vanity and pride

Carry not my Lord was crucified

Knowing not it was for me He died On Calvary

Mercy there was great and grace was free

Pardon there was multiplied to me.

There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.”

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