Hi friends, Ann here.
First, what a crazy mess Esther and Mordecai have on their hands. We ourselves do battle with mess .. sigh. It’s mess from past choices, but also made by others. Often this 'mess' makes us think we’re losing; but we’re not.
Here’s a fun fact: Esther’s problem was King Saul. Crazy, huh? It was Saul’s crappy problem that he made some 500 years earlier by not obeying God. See, Haman was an Agagite, and centuries earlier God told Saul to destroy all Amalekites, including King Agag (1 Samuel 15:1-9).
Essentially, God said: “Saul, in your obedience don’t leave any stone unturned. Ok, son?”
Saul thought to himself, “Um… yes .. ok.” But then his troops captured King Agag alive, along with goodies: fatlings and lambs that he could breed. Oh, he just couldn’t resist: He had to keep them. Oh dear. The moral of the story? Idols lead to mess.
Saul should have known better. But through his choice Haman was spawned. Great. And now, 500 yrs on, the spawn of Satan is wreaking havoc in Shushan. Haman’s written curses are a battle to be fought. There are similar things in our lives, of course, whether it's from our ancestry or our own past.
The truth is, although Saul’s disobedience has dreadful ramifications, there’s a punchline: Esther’s faith leads to the King’s special horses being sent out.
“Mordecai wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed it with the king’s signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horseback, riding on royal horses bred from swift steeds.” Esther 8:11.
Although Haman had sent out written curses via couriers, Mordecai’s decree is bigger and better, sent on special royal horses bred for swiftness. Faster horses. More powerful. They reach their targets in perfect time so that victory can come. Whatever Haman has planned, God does better. It's the worst news for Haman, whose wife tells him:
“If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.” (Esther 6:13).
The enemy knows it, but do we? Does the church know it?
“You are Peter. On this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18.
Every time I think of this verse that last part booms in the depths of my spirit: The gates of hell will not prevail against it. They will not. They will not.
The Church, admittedly, has its problems; and it's a tough fight just like that of Shushan. Even though Mordecai’s decree went out, we are to notice that the Jews still had to physically fight. Some generals of the faith, Esther and Mordecai, also had to endure hardship. Still, victory came: Haman was hung on the gallows, along with his sons. The Jews emerged alive.
The next bit is awesome: Esther says, "Can we do it again? Can we hang those ten sons, again, on the gallows tomorrow?" Have you ever wondered why the ten sons were hung again? I believe it speaks of testimony. Lord, it's been done once; do it again.
Finally, I can't resist speaking of a hidden, praying figure: Daniel. I wondered about him so did some digging. From clues in scripture and Jewish tradition it’s likely he was there in Shushan, though elderly. If so, his story would have spread. He would have been viewed as a general of the faith, perhaps a Billy Graham figure. When Esther said, then, “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me”, was Daniel one?
If so, as a prophet of the Lord, his word might have made the difference:
Tell her I survived lions.
Tell her she will survive this.
Tell her to take a risk.
Tell her God will do it again.
And then, she herself turns into one who has faced down lions (Haman), and says it too: “God will do it again”.
What an amazing story it is, imagining ourselves there in Shushan. It seems a relevant story for us, so how about we join together in prayer:
Lord, do it again!
Give us the kind of faith that Daniel and Esther had,
and let our words of testimony catch alight in others' hearts.
In Jesus' name. Amen.