House of Death, part three

If you’re just joining us this week we’re going through a story in the book of Esther. You’re probably best off starting from the beginning, but here’s a brief recap of where we’re at. All the Jews of the kingdom are set to be murdered on an appointed day, and Esther, the queen who is secretly a Jew, is working on a plan to do something about it. She’s had the first of two feasts with the king and with Haman, the bad guy who hates the Jews and set up the massacre, and we’re now between those feasts. Haman went home, got all puffed up about how great he is and how much he can’t stand the Jews, and the faithful Jew Mordecai, in particular, and at the urging of his friends and family, Haman had a gallows built at his home so he can hang Mordecai in the morning.

That night, God does some work. Haman’s got people working on building a mechanism of murder, but God’s doing some work too. King Ahasuerus can’t sleep. He just randomly happens to have insomnia on this night. And I’m gonna be using the word randomly very sarcastically here, so just be aware. He randomly can’t sleep. So he wants someone to read to him, because apparently kings are just big babies at heart.

Esther 6:1 On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king.

He has them bring in the recording of all the great stuff people are doing in his kingdom. And so they bring it in, and randomly (sarcasm), here’s what part of the book they end up in.

Esther 6:2 And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.

Remember that foiled assassination we talked about earlier this week? Well, timeline wise, about five years have passed, and now the king is being reminded of it. So he asks his servants “What did we ever do for Mordecai for stopping these assassins?” When he finds out that they never did anything for him, the king decides that just can’t stand. So the king calls out, wanting to know what official is in the court, because somebody needs to honor Mordecai and they need to do it now.

Guess who’s randomly (sarcasm) there? Haman. Enemy of the Jews, despiser of Mordecai in particular, builder of his own personal gallows. Haman just happens to be there. And so we get treated to this great moment. Just read this whole exchange, because I can’t do it justice.

Esther 6:6-9 So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” 7 And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, 8 let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set. 9 And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’”

Sounds like a great plan, Haman. And the king likes the sound of it, and now we get to experience this next moment.

Esther 6:10 Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” 

If I had a time machine, I’d probably go to this moment, because I want to see the look on Haman’s face. What a reversal of fortune! The very man that Haman planned to hang in the morning is the man that he now has to go honor and parade around town.

When you look at God, and the way He works, it’s impossible not to be amazed, isn’t it? The God of coincidence, the God of randomness, the God of every situation. Nothing’s just happening here, the king wasn’t up at night by accident and it wasn’t some accident that this part of the book got read. God honors those who honor Him. God hears the cries of His people, and God always has a plan to save.

Remember earlier in the week when I wrote about letting others honor you? Mordecai is such a great example of this. He saved the life of the king, and for five years he sat around and got nothing out of it. As a matter of fact, he sat around and learned that he and all the other Jews were going to be slaughtered. Some reward! Some praise! But he didn’t cause a stink about it. Mordecai didn’t tell people “I’m the one that saved the king’s life”, he just waited. Mordecai is the perfect example. If you’re doing work for the Lord, the honor and recognition is going to come. You might go your whole earthly life without receiving it, but you just wait until you walk into the gates of heaven. There’s the honor that means everything. Don’t seek special recognition and praise, let it come naturally. Be humble, and trust that when the time is right, God’s going to bring upon me that reward which is mine.

Okay so, let’s finish the story and then after talking for a whole week straight I’ll finally get to the point of these blogs. It’s the next day, and after having to suffer the indignity of parading Mordecai around and treating him like a hero, Haman gets called in to come to the second feast with Esther. I’d imagine he wasn’t really feeling up to another feast after what happened with Mordecai, but it’s the king calling so he goes. And once there, Esther finally makes her move. The king is still ready to give her whatever she wants. She reveals that she’s a Jew and tells the king all about Haman’s plan to kill all the Jews. All of a sudden, the king realizes that Haman’s set into a motion not only a plan to kill the queen, but to kill her people, which includes her cousin Mordecai, who is now a celebrated hero.

The king’s mad and he leaves the room in a rage. So Haman, realizing that he’s in some very real trouble, starts pleading with Esther to spare his life. In doing so, The Bible says that he falls onto the couch where Esther is sitting. The king returns to see this, and assuming that Haman was trying to assault his wife, the King’s had enough. Time to die for Haman. But how to kill him and where to kill him?

We’ll find out tomorrow, as I wrap up this series and talk about what it means to live in a house of death.  I hope you’ll join me!

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, thank you for the honor and recognition that you bestow on us.  When we go seeking honor and recognition things never turn out correctly, but when we let go and just focus on you and doing your work and your will, that honor always seems to come.  You honor those who honor you.  So God, today I ask that you pull our eyes off of those around us, get our focus off of wanting to be celebrated and praised, and let us just celebrate and praise you.  Give us that peaceful understanding that in your special way, with the unfathomable love that only you possess, we will be blessed and rewarded and recognized by you.  Help us endure the dry times, the times when we feel unappreciated, because we know that when the rewards come they’re going to blow our minds.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Alright, I love you guys.  I gotta get back to work, so let me just encourage you to come back tomorrow for the finale of this series.  I hope your week’s are going wonderfully so far.  Get to a Bible believing, Bible teaching church tonight if you can, God’s so alive and it’s so invigorating to spend time in His house.

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