Summary: With every choice, we are either sowing to the flesh or to the Spirit!
My wife came home from the market a while back and asked me to unload the car. We have an SUV, and when I opened it, one bag fell out to the ground. Now there were maybe ten bags inside which were full of cans, vegetables, boxes, etc. And in one bag, a carton of eggs. So which was in the bag that fell out? The eggs of course. Why is that?
It’s an unchangeable law. No, not the law of the “Medes and Persians.” It’s the law of Murphy! “If anything can go wrong, it will, and usually at the most inopportune moment.”
Seriously though, there are real laws that do not change. For example:
• The law of gravity. Discovered by Newton it basically states that things tend to be pulled downward. Or simply put, “What goes up, must come down.”
• The law of thermodynamics. “All things are breaking down,” or “You will have aged more by the end of this message!”
• The biblical law of sowing and reaping. Galatians 6:7–8 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the spirit will of the spirit reap everlasting life” (NKJV). Or in the modern vernacular translation: “What goes around comes around.”
We will clearly see that principle illustrated in this story before us: the dramatic story of Esther.
A Quick Review
In Part 1 of this message, we saw that Xerxes, the king of the reigning superpower of the time (Persia), was throwing a huge feast for all of his subjects. He gave the command for his beautiful queen, Vashti, to be brought in. She was to be paraded before his drunken lords and advisors. Many commentators believe the text implies he wanted her to do so naked.
The king was cruelly treating his wife like some object. To her credit, Queen Vashti refused, and a national crisis broke out. She was removed as queen and it was decided a new queen would be selected. So it was decided a “Miss Persia” beauty contest would be held.
A young Jewish girl named Hadassah, whose parents had died, was being raised by her godly older cousin Mordecai and his family. Hadassah, also known as Esther, was summoned into the presence of the king, and much to the chagrin of all the other Persian girls, won the contest and became queen.
If this were a fairy tale, it would have ended here with the phrase “And they lived happily ever after.” But this is not a fairy tale; it’s a Bible story. And, as we will see, this story was just getting started. God was simply setting in place His people for the work He was about to do.
The villain of this story emerges: the prime minister, Haman. One day he is strutting about and one man refuses to bow: the godly Jew Mordecai. Haman is so outraged that he hatches a plot to eliminate Mordecai and the Jews. He wants the king to sign a law that would exterminate the Jewish people. The plan was that the Kingdom of Persia would seize all Jewish assets, so the king agreed. Little did he realize he was signing the death warrant for his beloved queen.
Here’s now a twist in this story: Esther had not told the king she was Jewish (at the advice of Mordecai). This could seem to be a compromise. Perhaps if the king knew she was Jewish, this foolish decree would have never happened. Then again, if he knew she was Jewish he probably would have never married her. Thus, she could not have saved her nation.
Whatever the case, we know this: Esther came through in the end. Some start well and finish horribly. Think of King Saul, Samson, and others. Some start poorly but finish with flying colors, like Nicodemus. Others start and finish well, like Caleb. That seems to be the case with Esther, who was a true heroine.
Back to our story. Signs were posted through the kingdom telling the Jews they would be exterminated. This was to happen in one year (just to torment them beforehand). Mordecai covered himself in sackcloth and ashes and mourned outside the palace. Esther seemed embarrassed by this and sent a set of fresh clothes. Talk about missing the point!
Mordecai sends a message to the queen, who is sitting in the lap of luxury in the palace: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13–14).