Summary: Esther comes to understand the providence of God in retrospect. God has been preparing her for such a time as this.

We ended last week on a sad note, with Mordecai and the Jews across the Persian Empire mourning. They had just received an edict for their execution.

Haman, the evil high official to the King, hatched a plot to kill, not just Mordecai (his enemy and Jewish subordinate), but also his entire Jewish race. Not just in Susa but throughout the entire empire.

• His plan was to do it in one day, and being superstitious, he casted the PUR, the lot (3:7) to find out the ‘auspicious’ day to exterminate them.

• And the date fell on the 12th month. So they drafted an edict immediately, on 13th day of the 1st month. The Jews had exactly 11 months to live!

It was unbelievable to have the King sanctioned such a move so flippantly.

• The foolish King took in Haman’s fake news - the false accusation that a certain people scattered across the empire ‘do not obey the king’s laws and that it’s not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them.’ (3:8).

• The King did nothing to query about this ‘certain people’ or verify the charge. The Jews were not new immigrants. They had been here for more than 50 years, counting from the time of King Cyrus.

• They had been living under the Persian rule for so long and Haman said they did not obey the king’s laws.

No attempt to find out the truth. The King took out his signet ring (the imprint granting his authority) and gave it to Haman, practically giving him a ‘blank cheque’ to do what he wants.

• The King did not even consider the consequences of such a move. What will a civil war, or a racial and ethnic cleansing of such kind, do to his Kingdom?

• How will the rest of the minority races see this? When will their turn comes?

Anyway Haman got his signet ring and his men to pen down his orders, to be written in the various languages to be sent to all the provinces, telling the people that on the 13th day of 12th month, they can ‘destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews – young and old, women and children – and plunder their goods.’ (3:13) Legalised looting!

• And who is going to do this killings? Not the Persian army.

• 3:14 “A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.”

• Everyone can participate in this massacre and looting. That is, all other nationalities.

This is not a small crisis but one of mammoth proportion. And the funny thing is, this is going to happen 11 months down the road!

• Paul says in 1 Cor 3:19-20 “19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; 20and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."

• Before a sovereign God whom we trust, we don’t need to be afraid of evil or what evil men can do.

• No matter how corrupt and messy the world becomes, God reigns and He rules.

• The Lord says, “28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt 10:28)

• Fear God and we will have nothing to fear. Without the fear of God, we have every reason to fear.

It’s time for Esther to take centre stage. God has positioned her for such a time like this. Let’s read Esther 4:4-11.

Being in the harem shut her off from knowing what was happening. She was not aware of the edict until she heard from Mordecai.

• Her messenger Hathach (hay tack) related everything that has happened and showed her a copy of the edict. He told her what Mordecai said.

• Mordecai wanted Esther to go into the King’s presence and beg for mercy. This was their only option, seeing that the edict has the approval of the King.

Esther’s response was given in 4:11 “All the king's officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”

• Some commentators read this as Esther’s unwillingness to help, or that she is being selfish and cares only for herself. And therefore Mordecai reprimanded her in response.

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