Summary: The situation is not favorable, their enemies seems prospering, they were condemned to die and the time is running out as the clock is ticking to their end. Esther and Mordecai were about to discover the God of great reversals.
THE GOD OF GREAT REVERSALS
The situation is not favorable, their enemies seems prospering, they were condemned to die and the time is running out as the clock is ticking to their end. Esther and Mordecai were about to discover the God of great reversals. It can happen to you. It can happen to everyone.
1Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. Esther 9:1
INTRODUCTION: THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
AFTER THE EXILE IN EGYPT, THE JEWISH PEOPLE EXPERIENCE ANOTHER FOUR MAJOR EXILES
1. Under Babylonian Empire 423 BC TO 372 BC
2. Under Medo-Persian Empire: 372 BC TO 348 BC
3. Under Grecian Empire 371 BC TO 140 BC
4. Under Roman Empire : 69 AD
During their captivity in Medo-Persian Empire, the history written in the book of Esther took place. It was the story about the invisible hand of God who is able to reverse the situations in favor of God’s people.
THE JEWISH PEOPLE DURING THE TIME OF ESTHER AND MODECAI ARE FACING FOUR DISCOURAGING REALITIES. FOUR BIG PROBLEMS.
1. Under captivity of the Medo-Persian Empire; discrimination, abuse and suffering are just part of their everyday life
The Persian King during this time is King Xerxes 1, Ahasuerus in Hebrew. Xerxes was born to Darius I and Atossa (daughter of Cyrus the Great), the conqueror of Babylon.
This King Ahasuerus will later choose Esther as the Queen of Persia instead of Queen Vasti after a beauty pageant
2. Haman, the arch-enemy of the Jewish people was just promoted as second in command under the King
1Some time later King Xerxes promoted Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite over all the other nobles, making him the most powerful official in the empire. 2All the king’s officials would bow down before Haman to show him respect whenever he passed by, for so the king had commanded. But Mordecai refused to bow down or show him respect. Esther 3:1-2
3. A law has been decreed for the total destruction and annihilation of the Jewish people
13Dispatches were sent by swift messengers into all the provinces of the empire, giving the order that all Jews—young and old, including women and children—must be killed, slaughtered, and annihilated on a single day. This was scheduled to happen on March 7 of the next year. The property of the Jews would be given to those who killed them. Esther 3:13
4. A date has already been determined for the eradication of the whole Jewish people and the Medo-Persian Law cannot be voided.
7So in the month of April, during the twelfth year of King Xerxes’ reign, lots were cast in Haman’s presence (the lots were called purim) to determine the best day and month to take action. And the day selected was March 7, nearly a year later. Esther 3:7
THE BOOK OF ESTHER DESCRIBED IN DETAILS THE DIFFERENT REACTIONS DURING THESE FRIGHTENING SITUATION
1.The Reaction of the enemy
15At the king’s command, the decree went out by swift messengers, and it was also proclaimed in the fortress of Susa. Then the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa fell into confusion. Esther 3:15
2. The reaction of Mordecai
1When Mordecai learned about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail. 2He went as far as the gate of the palace, for no one was allowed to enter the palace gate while wearing clothes of mourning. Esther 4:1-2
3. The Reaction of the Jews
3And as news of the king’s decree reached all the provinces, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in burlap and ashes. ESTER 4:3
4. The instruction of Mordecai to Esther
8He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people. Esther 4:8
5. The Problem of Esther
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 they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” Esther 4: 11