Esther 2:19-3:15: Sermon Notes

Big Idea: God is in charge of the timing of events. He is in charge of our location in and around those events. He is in charge of what gets remembered, and God causes it all to work for our good. Some of God’s providences are hard providences, yet God establishes his kingdom through them in us, through us, for us, and in the world. 

Here is a Mitchell Jolly definition of God’s providence: 

God’s providence is the mysterious way in which God sovereignly and powerfully establishes his kingdom by his own hand, through the willful acts of people and nations and a multitude of other means, while working for his people’s good and his own glory. Our good and his glory are never at odds.  

William Cowper – God Moves in a Mysterious Way

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform

He plants His footsteps in the sea

And rides upon the storm

Deep in unsearchable mines

Of never-failing skill

He treasures up His bright designs

And works His sovereign will

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take

The clouds you so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break

In blessings on your head

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense

But trust Him for His grace

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face

His purposes will ripen fast

Unfolding every hour

The bud may have a bitter taste

But sweet will be the flower.

Let’s look at some of this glorious work of God’s providence in Esther 2:19-3:15 and see if there are some worthy observations for us. 

Esther 2:19-23 Offer Right Sacrifices and Trust in the Lord.

Psalms 4:5 (ESV) Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.

  1. We can’t speculate as to “why” Mordecai did what he did, all we know for sure is that he made the king aware of the plot to take his life. 
    1. Some might argue that he would be well within his ethical obligation to let it slide, and get Esther back from this womanizing king.
  2. We don’t know why Mordecai did what he did, but we know he knew facts, honored the king God had set over him for the time, and in doing so he showed trust in the Lord. 
    1. Here is what I believe is an indicator of a kingdom of God value put on display in one of his people even before the full invasion of the kingdom in Jesus. 
    2. Mordecai does Galatians 6:10 (CSB) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.

Esther 3:1 Mordecai saves the king and the king promotes Mordecai’s enemy. Therefore, we must take a long view of God working for our good.

Proverbs 21:1 (CSB) A king’s heart is like channeled water in the LORD’s hand:
He directs it wherever he chooses.

  1. God plays the long game of our good and his glory. 
  2. Why does God allow Haman to get promoted and Mordecai to be forgotten? We simply don’t know. 
  3. What we know is that Haman is an enemy. 
    1. The title “Agagite” implies one of two possible realities: 
      1. Agag, a king of the Amalekites, was supposed to be killed by Saul. He did not comply. Samuel kills Agag. 
      2. Amalek were sworn enemies of God’s people. 
      3. So, there were descendants from Agag who survived and have long memories and intend on doing God’s people harm. 
      4. Or, Agagite is a linguistic tool used by the author to denote an enemy of God’s people. 
      5. Either way, we have Haman, who will be an enemy of the Jews, and God intends to save his people and exalt his glory through the avenue of Haman. 

Esther 3:1-6 God determines who is lifted up and who is not, and he will always do right even if we can’t see how at the moment. 

Psalms 75:6-7 (ESV) For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, 7 but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.

  1. Why does Haman hate the Jews? Is it because of family history and long memories? Is it because Mordecai won’t bow down? Did Mordecai bring this on himself by not showing honor to the one Ahasuerus exalted? Was Mordecai bitter about it? 
  2. We don’t know!
  3. What we know is that God exalted Haman and did not allow Mordecai to be honored. 
  4. What we know is that we are to be faithful, do right, and trust that God works out every detail. 

Gospel of the Kingdom Truth: Esther 3:7-15 God makes the dice land and he will rescue his people and do only good to them even if that good is a hard providence.

Psalm 84:11 The Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from them who walk uprightly. 

If we are upright in Christ, then we can rest assured that no good thing will ever be withheld from us. If it is good for us, God will bring it or allow it to be brought. Whether we experience it as pleasant or unpleasant. 

Why? 

God saves through hardship, not around hardship. 

God could have simply spoken our salvation/transformation and sanctification into existence without any whiff of a hardship, but sin’s curse, which causes death, does not get broken that way. 

The wages of sin is death. The world is beset with hardship. 

The promise in Genesis 3:15 is that The Descendant of Eve would crush the head of the serpent, but the serpent would indeed strike his heel. 

Indeed, Satan struck the heel of Jesus, the promised Descendant of Eve, but Jesus crushed the head of that old Serpent when he rose and ascended into heaven. 

The curse of sin and the agent of that curse, Satan, strikes at our heels (as we are Jesus’ people) and causes much pain, but he is not able to go beyond his set parameters because he has been crushed. So, we don’t have to despair even when we are hurt, wounded, and struggling.

Satan was only allowed to do to Job what God allowed him to do. 

The hardship about to be suffered by Mordecai, Esther, and their people, enacted through evil hands who are Satan’s instruments and yet under the sovereign rule of God, will not be allowed to do more than God has ordained for their good and salvation. 

God has ordained this suffering for Esther and Mordecai and the people, not because he likes suffering, but because suffering is how he saves and transforms. 

God is not isolated from suffering. God himself will take on flesh, and he will come and suffer in our place for our sin so that we can be transformed into new creations in Christ Jesus. 

Isaiah 53 reminds us that Jesus took on himself all curses of sin and by his stripes, his death, his wounding, we are healed. 

Therefore, when we come to Jesus by faith, we sign on to a life that gets to know Jesus in the power of his resurrection and fellowship with him in suffering. 

Philippians 3:8-11 (ESV) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

We only get to taste resurrected transformation and the power of that transformation through sharing in his sufferings. 

Only the dead get resurrected. And the dead have to die. 

We only know relief from suffering because we suffer. 

Comfort is only truly known when it is contrasted with suffering, and we will only know Jesus well when we have suffered and discovered that even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we have no evil to fear because he is with us!

What the suffering Mordecai, Esther, and their people are about to walk through will be the means by which the Lord will ultimately bring their rescue and transformation. 

So, when we have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, know that it is through that gospel work of grace that God works out our salvation and matures our faith, and transforms us. 

Application: How are we to live in light of what we discovered today?

  1. Do right, trust the Lord, and know that God sees and will support you for his glory and your good. 
    1. 2 Chronicles 16:9 (ESV) For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.
  2. Know that there is reward for walking in obedient trust based on what you know not what you don’t know.
    1. THERE IS NO INDICATION MORDECAI AND ESTHER ARE DOING WHAT THEY ARE DOING BECAUSE OF A ROBUST THEOLOGICAL CONVICTION. 
      1. THEY ARE OPERATING ON WHAT THEY KNOW. AND WHAT THEY KNOW IS THAT THEY ARE A PEOPLE AND WHAT IS BEING PROPAGATED AGAINST THEM IS WRONG, AND THERE MUST BE SOME SORT OF ACTION.
    2. Colossians 3:23-25 (ESV) Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
  3. Trust in the Lord and taking the long view of God’s work does not mean that providence isn’t sometimes dark and hard to bear, and it’s ok to hurt, grieve losses, and walk the hard process of healing. 
    1. Trust in the Lord does not mean fake smiles and hiding wounds. 
    2. Trust in the Lord often looks like sitting in hurt and weakness in order to know the healing and strength of the Lord. 
    3. Trust in the Lord often looks like letting others carry us when we can’t carry ourselves. 
      1. So we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand.
        1. 1 Peter 5:6-11 (ESV) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
  4. Know that the suffering servant Jesus has provided salvation for anyone who will come to him by faith, and the same suffering servant Jesus is a merciful and faithful high priest who sympathizes with us in our weakness.
    1. Hebrews 4:14-16 [14] Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. [15] For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. [16] Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s