Summary: When God was ready, Haman was humiliated and Mordecai was elevated. The day of your reward is coming too. Be patient.
August 31, 2003 Esther 6
“You’ll get yours!”
Take a minute if you would to think about your favorite movie – especially a movie in which the good guys are fighting the bad guys. As I performed this same exercise this week, I thought about movies like “Rocky IV”, “Star Wars” and “Independence Day”. If you have not seen these movies, then you won’t know the characters that I’m going to mention, but see if you recognize the situation that I’m going to describe. In each of these stories, the good guys are pit against some undefeatable foe. And in most of the movie, it looks like things are going to turn out very badly for the hero. But then, just when you think all hope is lost, you get to that pivotal scene when the momentum suddenly shifts, and you know that everything is going to turn out right in the end. In “Rocky IV”, it was when Rocky finally drew blood from his giant Russian boxing opponent and the crowd began to shout out “Rocky, Rocky, Rocky!” In “Star Wars”, it was when Luke Skywalker was making his bombing run on the Death Star with Darth Vader right on his tale. Darth Vader is just about to get a lock on Luke when out of the blue – or maybe it should be out of the black since it all happened in outer space – Han Solo comes in with the Millenium Falcon and blasts Darth Vader into deep space. It’s a stand up and cheer, send goose bumps up your spine, make you feel good for a week kind of moment.
We come to a moment like these in the story of Esther today. When we left the story last week, Haman [say “BOO” every time you hear his name] was being lulled to sleep to the sound of hammers and saws as his workmen built a 75-foot tall gallows on which Haman expected to hang his mortal enemy, Mordecai [say “YEAH” every time you hear his name], the next morning. Mordecai had come to Haman’s attention when he refused to honor Haman by bowing whenever he came through the gate at the edge of the king’s palace. In his desire for revenge, Haman decided that rather than just destroy Mordecai, he was going to destroy Mordecai’s people, the Jews. This was a major problem. Esther, the queen was a Jew, although no one other than Mordecai knew it. Mordecai had even been responsible for foiling an assassination attempt on the king. The Jews were the good guys, especially since Jesus the Savior would be born through the Jews one day. The good guys, Mordecai and Esther, were getting ready to be destroyed. The bad guy, Haman, was going to get away with his plan. Justice was going to lose, and evil was going to win. It just wasn’t fair! The story looked like it was going to end badly.
Maybe you can identify with a story like that. You’re the good guy – at least from your perspective – and some bad guy is making life a living hell for you. You try to live right and do things the way that they’re supposed to be done. But instead of being rewarded in a just and fair way, you get forgotten, bypassed, stepped over and sometimes stepped on. It seems like the person who sleeps with the boss, does things under the table, cheats on his taxes and is willing to do whatever it takes is the one that is always getting ahead. Just like in one of those movies, it looks like you’re never going to win in your battle against evil. You sure wish you could have one of those stand up and cheer moments where the bad guy finally gets what he deserves. If that’s you, then you’re going to like what happens in today’s chapter of the story. It is in this chapter that the momentum shifts, and we get a sense that everything is going to work out right in the end. Justice will finally be served.
Unmet expectations (vs. 1-5)
For the king – no sleep (vs. 1)
Obviously, it was part of God’s plan that Xerxes not be able to sleep that night, but I wonder if the thing that kept him from sleeping was his puzzlement over Esther’s activities that day what she was going to ask for at the banquet tomorrow.
The chronicles of the kingdom “record of his reign” would have recorded all the exploits and greatness of Xerxes. He wanted to listen tot he record of how great he was. He figured that would calm his spirit, put him in a good mood, and enable him to get some sleep. It’s the equivalent to a child saying, “Mommy, will you read to me?” He had an uneasy sense that something was wrong in the kingdom, and the reading of the chronicles he hoped would convince him that all was well. But suddenly, he heard something that was not right. “That’s it! That’s what has been gnawing at me!”