Updated: Oct 4
Do you like stories? This very cool story goes back to an ancient Persian court. Thousands of years ago, an impulsive and possibly very drunk king commanded his beautiful wife to appear before his gathering of nobles and princes. Vashti refused, which infuriated the king. She was immediately removed from her royal position. Now the king had a problem. There was no beautiful queen to show off to all his nobles. Someone had a brilliant idea. All the fair young virgins of the kingdom were invited to be part of a beauty pageant. The winner would become the next queen. Losers became the king's concubines. A beautiful young woman named Esther was crowned Miss Iran, and became the favorite wife of King Ahasureus. So far there's not much intrigue to the story. But wait...
The king's advisor, Haman, was enraged that Mordecai, a Jew, refused to bow to him. So, he came up with a diabolical plan. He asked the king to allow him to remove all the undesirables from the kingdom. He didn't mention he meant all the Jews. What Haman didn't know was Mordecai was the queen's uncle. Esther had been an orphan so Mordecai raised her as his own child. Another thing Haman didn't know was Esther was a Jew. God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, but His fingerprints are all over the story.
Mordecai overheard two men plotting to murder the king (yes, they may have worn sunglasses in ancient Persia), informed Esther, and the matter was recorded in a book of chronicles before the king that Mordecai saved his life. That part of the story gets dropped here, but will be picked up again shortly. Back to Haman. His desire to kill the Jews came from an ancient hatred, one that went back to King Agag. Haman was an Agagite, a relative of this Amalekite king. The Amalekites were enemies of the Jews. Haman was enraged that someone revered God more than man, and refused to bow to him.
Haman cast lots, called purim, to see what day the Jews were to be annihilated. Mordecai learned of the plot and warned Esther not to think she was safe in the king's house. He said, "If you keep quiet now, deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, and your family will be destroyed." Esther asked the Jews in the palace to fast and pray with her for three days.
Esther chose not to just sit idly by. She seized the moment and said she would go into the throne room to see the king. If he was in a nasty mood, and didn't hold out his golden sceptre, the queen would be killed. Esther said, "If I perish, I perish." Dressed in her royal robes, Esther must have been so relieved when the king held out the golden sceptre. Esther invited the king and his chief advisor Haman to a banquet. Schwarzriesling may have been popular then.
Meanwhile, Haman told his family how great he was, and that he was the only one besides the king invited to the queen's banquet. After his bragging ceased, Haman was so insanely mad at Mordecai he had a high gallows built to hang him on. That very night, the king couldn't sleep. He had a royal servant bring him the chronicles of his kingdom. I wonder if he thought the boredom would put him to sleep. The part about Mordecai saving the king's life was the chosen entry. The king asked how Mordecai had been rewarded. He hadn't. Now the king couldn't sleep as he pondered how to reward Mordecai.
The next morning Haman arrived at the palace, ready to ask the king's permission to hang Mordecai. The king asked him how someone the king delights to honor should be rewarded. Haman assumed the king wanted to reward him. He suggested the person being honored should be robed in the king's royal robes, led through the streets on the king's horse by one of the king's most noble princes. The noble was to cry out, "This is what happens to someone the king delights to honour." The king liked that idea, and commanded Haman to do all of that for Mordecai. Can you imagine the shock he felt? After leading Mordecai through the city on the king's horse, Haman ran to his house in shame. His wife and advisors told him, "If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom you have begun to fall, you shall not prevail against him, but shall surely fall." Did God put that prophetic word in their mouths? While they spoke, the king's chamberlains arrived to bring Haman to Esther's second banquet.
The king asked Esther why she was having these banquets. Esther pleaded, "If I have found favour in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request: For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish..." The king must have been astonished at this news. Haman was probably choking on his food. The king asked who would dare to presume in his heart to do such a thing. Imagine Esther turning to look at Haman as she said, "The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman." Can you imagine his horror? The king rose up in a rage, went out into /the garden, Haman fell on the queen's bed to beg for mercy, the king returned and saw Haman fallen over his wife, and demanded, "Will he force the queen also before me in the house?" Servants immediately covered Haman's face, and mentioned to the king there was a huge gallows prepared for Mordecai. Esther must have been horrified to hear that. The king ordered the servants to hang Haman on it.
Sometimes, God moves things very quickly. Mordecai took Haman's place of honour and his house, the massacre of the Jews was averted as they were allowed to fight against all who hated them, and the Feast of Purim was established. The moral of the story? Well, there are several. One courageous life can make all the difference in stopping evil plans. No schemes of man or power of hell will ever thwart God's plans. Messiah was to come from the lineage of the Jews. God would not allow them to be destroyed. God was behind the details of this ancient story. He is behind the details of your story. Just as Esther became queen and was brought into a kingdom to save her people, you have been brought to this earth for such a time as this. God will give you wisdom, strength and moral courage if you choose to make a stand for righteousness. I pray you, I, and all God's people will be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Blessings, Beloved of God.