What a storyline of reversals! Vashti was divorced for not coming to the King when he called. Esther was rewarded for coming to the King when he didn’t call. Esther was orphaned, but God used her to save the parents and children of all the Jewish people. Haman built the gallows to hang Mordecai, but Mordecai lived and Haman was killed on the gallows. Over and over in the book of Esther what the enemy meant for bad, God turned for good. What will it take to turn things around in your life and in our world today?
As we begin in chapter 9, we see that though “…the Jews’ enemies had hoped to overpower them, just the opposite happened” (v. 1). The Jews had a duty, an assignment, a responsibility. The Jews, King, officials, satraps, governors, civil administrators and Mordecai did was right and they were rewarded for it. Verse 2 says, “Not a single person could withstand them…” and verse 4 says that Mordecai “became more and more powerful.” There was a healthy fear of God in the land. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7). We need a healthy fear of God. When we are responsible, trustworthy, and dependable, God will give us more responsibility. Mordecai used his position, authority, and power to do right. In our democratic, pluralistic society we need people in positions of authority who will exercise their responsibilities and do right. Don’t reject powerful opportunities and positions. Someone must be in these positions. The book of Esther doesn’t start out with Mordecai and Esther being strong in their faith, but there came a time when they had faith and they went public. They did not dwell on the past but on the present. We need Godly men like Mordecai and Godly women like Esther.
Know Your Rights
In verses 5-17 we see a declaration of war. The Jews had the right to defend themselves. Regardless of how you feel about our 2nd Amendment, they had the same right in Esther 9. The Jews were not the aggressors. They only defended their families. We also read that Haman’s sons are all killed. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Like father like son.” They picked up the hatred, behavior, and racism of their father and were killed because of it, and their bodies were hung for all to see. The King gave the Jews a second day to finish what they’d started. Esther knew there were still enemies who needed to be found. They needed more time. They needed another chance. In Joshua 10 the Lord caused the sun to stand still “till the nation avenged itself on its enemies” (v. 13). In Isaiah 38 He gave Hezekiah 15 extra years to live. God can give you additional time to live for Him! Know your rights and do right!
Verses 10, 15, and 16 all state that the Jews did not seize any plunder. Remember, they were given the right back in 8:11 – “The king’s edict gave the Jews in each and every city the right to assemble and defend themselves, to destroy, kill, and annihilate every ethnic and provincial army hostile to them, including women and children, and to take their possessions as spoils of war.” They had every right to avenge themselves. In chapter 9, did they kill any woman and children? No. Did they take their possessions as spoils of war? No. Did they have the right to? Yes. Did they exercise that right? No. Though they had the legal right, they exercised restraint. Just because something is legal does not mean it is ethical or Biblical. In 1 Corinthians 6:12, Paul says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” We need to learn to exercise restraint, self-control. Are you eating, spending, texting, tweeting, speaking too much? Are you losing the battle with alcohol, drugs, materialism, anger, or envy? If we aren’t careful, we go too far.
When we take responsibility, know our rights, and exercise restraint, we can watch God bring a sudden reversal! Regardless of what is in your past, God can change your future. God can turn your situation around. Our part is repentance. God’s part is reversal.