By Rick Elsey
Pastor, West End Baptist Church, Columbia
How many times have we found ourselves taking matters into our own hands before allowing God to meet our needs? At the heart of our decision is a lack of faith or trust in God’s response. I appreciate the testimony of a young church planter who struggled with waiting on God. He said, “God wasn’t moving fast enough, so I took the wheel and gave God some driving lessons.” In the end, he realized he should have trusted God all along.
Our lesson today challenges us to, “Be bold, but leave the results to God.” This principle is seen in Paul’s message to the Romans, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’ ” (Romans 12:19 ESV). Up to this point, Mordecai has not taken any aggressive action against Haman, but rather he prays and trusts in God’s provision. Esther is bold in her decision to speak to the king, trusting in God alone to bring deliverance. Haman’s future is ultimately in God’s hands.
The courage to be bold (Esther 7:1-6). The time has come for Esther to be bold. She has prayed and is now prepared to share her request with the king. In her request, she will reveal two specific issues that could be fatal for her. In her conversation with the king, she reveals her Jewish identity, an identity she had been instructed not to reveal (Esther 2:19). How would the king react to her confession? Esther doesn’t give the king time to respond, but instead, she immediately shares the dire situation of her people — they are slated for annihilation. With her God given boldness, she also speaks with wisdom. She does not implicate the king in this plot, even though he is the one who gave permission to Haman to carry out this genocide. In the end, Esther simply states the truth of the matter.
The king is outraged and demands to know who is responsible? At this point, Esther faces her second revelation that could be fatal. Her accusation is not only direct but emotional. She identifies the “vile” Haman as the culprit. Esther has just indicted a noble who is above all nobles. How will the king respond?
Trusting in God’s judgment (Ch. 7:7-10). The king seems overwhelmed by this new revelation from Esther. He needs time to work through his anger. Despite his previous relationship with the king, Haman realizes his fortunes have changed. He uses the time to plead with Esther because he can read the handwriting on the wall. Just as Belshazzar in the time of Daniel, Haman has been “weighed on the scales and found wanting” (Daniel 5:27). In his fear, he pleads for his life. In doing so, Haman breaks palace protocol by getting too close to the queen. When the king returns, he is outraged that Haman is on the couch with Esther. Whatever decision the king had made while he was in the garden is now a moot point. Haman must be punished.
In the end, the gallows he prepared for Mordecai, now becomes the instrument of his judgment.
Esther’s boldness teaches us a great lesson. When we are called to stand for truth, we can be no respecter of persons. With the courage God provides, we should be able to stand up to the mayor of a little community or the President of the United States.
When we resist taking matters into our own hands, we can trust in the Lord to honor our faithfulness and deliver His timely and righteous judgment.