By Rick Elsey
Pastor, West End Baptist Church, Columbia
Focal Passage: Esther 8:1-8; 9:20-22
The apostle Peter reminds us in his first epistle (I Peter 5:8) that we are to be sober and vigilant in our Christian walk. Our adversary is continually on the prowl seeking to devour anyone in his path. As believers, we must resist the temptation to live on past blessings which can lead to spiritual complacency. In our lesson today, Esther and Mordecai are the recipients of an overwhelming blessing, but they have no time to bask in that honor. The Jews are still in danger of annihilation; therefore, Esther and Mordecai must continue to stand for the lives of God’s people.
The blessing of honor (Esther 8:1-2). What a difference a day can make. Haman started the day filled with pride. Just the night before, he bragged to family and friends about his wealth, his position before the king and his plan to have Mordecai hanged from the gallows that were seventy-five feet tall. By the end of this day, he was hanged from those same gallows. His estate was awarded to Esther and his signet ring, which represented his high authority, was given to Mordecai.
God richly blesses those who are faithful. We must avoid the trap that we only equate material wealth and riches with God’s blessings. His blessings also involve suffering for His namesake. As with Esther and Mordecai, God provides us with the blessings necessary to carry out His purpose and plan.
The responsibility of blessings (vv. 3-8). While Mordecai and Esther are safe, the edict of Haman to destroy the Jews remains in effect. Esther must once again approach the king and intercede on behalf of her people. She pleads with the king to revoke the edict given by Haman. While the law states that an edict from the king cannot be revoked, he counsels Esther to write another edict. She is allowed to write whatever she wishes. The edict can then be sealed by the signet ring given to Mordecai. With that seal the edict carries the full authority of the king.
This passage highlights two great responsibilities of every believer. First is the necessity of ongoing intercession. Esther boldly comes before the king in faith to intercede on behalf of her people. We have that same responsibility as we keep standing for what is right and for the people that we know need God’s deliverance. Our intercession must come from a burdened heart that will drive us to our knees before our King.
Our second responsibility deals with our relationship to the king. Mordecai remained on the outside of the palace until welcomed by the king. In the end, the king promotes him to a high rank, second only to himself. Paul reminds us in II Corinthians 5:20 that we are ambassadors for Christ. Just as Mordecai officially represented the king, we do so for Christ. We speak with His authority, proclaiming the good news of the King. He gives us His message through His Word and provides us with the blessings we need to remain strong and vigilant in our task.
Celebrating our blessings (Ch. 9:20-22). The new edict given by Esther and Mordecai allowed the Jews to fight against those who would harm them which resulted in an overwhelming victory. As a result, a time of celebration was ordered among the Jews. The celebration would be observed every year to commemorate the great victory given by God. Celebration and worship is always the right response to God’s blessings.
People often say that God works in mysterious ways. That may seem true to some. Ultimately, God has a perfect plan and He calls us to join Him. B&R