I have always been fascinated by the story of Queen Esther. In part because my maternal grandmother’s name was Queen Esther Hubbard Staton. Esther was a young woman, who was orphaned and raised by her cousin, Mordecai, and he claimed her as his daughter. She never wanted for anything and wasn’t bad on the eyes. There was also a king named Xerxes. In some biblical translations, his name is spelled, “Ahasuerus.” Xerxes was the King of Persia. He was married to Vashti. One day Xerxes held a large a banquet, a feast, if you will, and had a little too much to drink. He sent for her so he could parade her in front of the people and the officials. Vashti knew they were intoxicated and refused to go to him. I think Xerxes was too drunk to care. However, when his “homies” started saying, “Whaaaaaaat? You gonna let her dis you like that? Man, if she did it, what will other women in the kingdom think they can do.” He knew he had to do something. He divorced Vashti for her disobedience to the king. Not only was her refusal a slap in the face to the king, but also to the in the provinces of King Xerxes. After that incident, Xerxes decreed that Vashti would never again come before the king.
Some time had passed and Xerxes remembered his former companion. It was decided that he should look for a new queen. Word went out to all the provinces under his rule. The eligible women were brought to the palace, prepared and trained for twelve months. Esther’s destiny was chosen by God, even then, as He orchestrated who would help her and how. Esther was the chosen contender, it was determined that King Xerxes favored her about all others, and she became his queen.
Mordecai stayed close to Esther, always keeping an eye on her. One day he uncovered a a plot by two of Xerxes eunuchs to kill the king. He went to Esther and told her. She informed the king in Mordecai’s name. The eunuchs were hanged on a gallows, and recorded in the book of chronicles in the presence of the king, but the king did not read it. After all this, Xerxes had a right-hand man, Haman, whom he promoted and sat him above all the princes. Haman was arrogant to the nth degree. For some reason he hated the Jews. He especially hated Mordecai, who refused to bow down to him. Why should he? He wasn’t the king and even still, Mordecai wouldn’t even bow down to Xerxes. Haman was infuriated by Mordecai’s lack of regard, and began to conspire against all Jews. He convinced Xerxes that the Jews did not keep the king’s laws. Without any investigation, Xerxes ordered a decree be written to destroy the Jews. The decree was proclaimed throughout the land. When Mordecai learned of this, he was deeply grieved and cried out to God. He wore sackcloth, fasted, wept, and wailed. In hearing this, Esther became distressed and wanted to know what had brought this on. Her maids relayed her message, and Mordecai responded by sending her a copy of the decree for the destruction of the Jews. He implored her to go to the king and request that he reverse the order. In those times, the king’s decree was bond. It could not be undone. Esther worried what might become of her if she saw the king without him asking for her. It could mean death for her.
Sometimes it’s not easy to take a stand for injustice. Why? Fear. We have all experienced that same fear at some time or other. Mordecai reminded her that she was Jewish and that, queen or no queen, that decree included her annihilation, also. She didn’t have a choice. She fasted and prayed, seeking an answer from the Lord. Her response, was this in Esther 4:16-17, “Go gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
Queen Esther approaches and is granted an audience with the king. She wisely invites him and Haman to a banquet, at which she reveal Haman’s plans. In the meantime, Haman continues to fume about Mordecai’s indignation and receives unwise counsel from his wife and friends. They goad him on and say in Esther 5:14, “Let a gallows be made, fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.” In his arrogance, this pleased Haman, and he had the gallows built.
Remember when Mordecai saved Xerxes life and he had it recorded in the book of chronicles? Well, Xerxes never read it until one night, he could not sleep and ask the book be brought to him. This is when he discovered that it was actually Mordecai who revealed the plot to assassinate the king. Xerxes wanted to know what had been done for this man who saved his life. The attended answered, “Nothing.” Xerxes reveals his intentions to honor the man he delighted in. Arrogant Haman, thought the king meant him, and vainly made self-serving suggestion: “…let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn…a horse on which the king has ridden…parade the man on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him….Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!” Haman was gushing arrogance and pride. The king then commanded him to take the robe and horse to Mordecai! Hit me with a brick! Haman was stunned beyond belief. He did as he was commanded. What else could he do?
At the banquet, Esther attends and serves he king. He is so enamored with Esther that he begs to know what her petition is and declares he will give it to her. Esther proceeds to make a petition on behalf of her people and unfolds the plan of Haman. Haman pleads for his life! He falls across where Esther was sitting. Begging for dear life! Xerxes is enraged and he can’t believe the audacity of Haman. The eunuchs say to the king, “Look! The gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai, who spoke good on the king’s behalf, is standing at the house of Haman.” The king said, “Hang him on it!” There hung Haman until dead.
All this to say, your enemies may be preparing a gallows for your right now, but you can rest assured that God is still in control of your very situation and that He will have the last word. He is the author and finisher of our faith, not man. You may not know every detail of the plan, but He’s working it out for you. Haman prepared the gallows for Mordecai and God turned that thing around and hanged Haman from the very gallows he built for Mordecai. Who is man that we should ever be afraid? Regardless of your status or station in life, God is will work it out for you, for this United States of America, for the leadership of this country. We have nothing to fear and certainly not a gallows built by man for us. God’s got it! To my enemies, be careful. The very gallows you’re preparing for me may be used by God in your demise.