This week we will be looking at Chapters 5 and 6 of Esther. When we left off, Haman had set in motion his diabolical plan to destroy the Jews. Consumed with bitterness, Haman had allowed himself to become an instrument of Satan, who’s mission since the Garden of Eden has been to destroy God’s people. Not only has Haman allowed himself to become an instrument of Satan, but he has also convinced a rash and ill-informed Xerxes to become a willing participant as well. In contrast stands Esther, who has humbled herself in prayer and fasting and who in Chapter 5 will risk her very life to stand up for God’s people. In Haman and Esther, we see the living embodiment of Prov. 16:18-19, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” While the interplay between Haman and Esther in these chapters is fascinating, it is not the true focus of these chapters. If we look closely, we will see the main character in this drama is God, and the message is that we can trust in His sovereignty and faithfulness.
Consider how Chapter 5 begins. Esther, who has not seen Xerxes in 30 days, completes her 3-day fast and goes to the king without being summoned. In the eyes of the Persian court, this is an affront not unlike the refusal of Queen Vashti in Chapter 1. If Xerxes does not extend his scepter, Esther will be subject to immediate execution. Yet, Xerxes not only accepts her, he offers to grant her whatever she desires. In this act, we see God’s Word in action, for Prov. 21:1 states, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever He will.” We next see God use Haman’s pride and self-importance to distract him. Haman is so consumed by his apparent intimacy with the king and queen and his intense hatred of Mordecai that he fails to detect Esther’s plot against him. Chapter 6 begins with Xerxes being unable to sleep, and what is brought for him to read but the account of Mordecai uncovering a plot and saving the king’s life! This leads to further humiliation for Haman as he is forced to lead Mordecai throughout the capital city and proclaim that he is favored by the king. Chapter 6 concludes with Haman’s own family prophesying his impending doom. He cannot hope to stand against God’s people.
If just one or two of the events of Chapters 5 and 6 had taken place, then one might chalk that up to a miraculous coincidence. Yet, for all those events to transpire as they did, in the sequence they did, was nothing short of God’s sovereign hand of deliverance. Way back in Gen. 12, God had promised Abraham that he would make him a great nation and that the Redeemer would come from his descendants, and there was nothing Haman or Satan could do to thwart that promise. Like Esther and Mordecai, we can trust in God’s faithfulness to his promises. Even when we may struggle to find Him, even when He appears to be silent, we can rest assured that even in the silence God is active and working to fulfill His promises to us. However, that trust in God’s faithfulness must not be an excuse for our inactivity. We, too, have a part to play in God’s deliverance. God is sovereign, but we have a responsibility. Like Esther, let our trust in God’s sovereignty spur us to action. Let us be faithful to thwart Satan’s plan for destruction with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Last week we looked at how bitterness had infected Haman’s heart. How has that bitterness progressed in Chapters 5 and 6?
- Think through some of the promises of God (for example, Rom. 8:28). How has God been faithful to His promises in your life? Can you think of any circumstances that at the time seemed coincidental but later proved to be the provision of God?
- Satan is still working to thwart God’s plan of salvation. What are some practical ways we can step out in faith like Esther and participate in God’s deliverance?