I BEG YOUR PARDON, I DID PROMISE YOU A ROSE GARDEN

*Yesterday we discovered the vicious plan to annihilate the Jews all because Mordecai angered Haman by not bowing to him. Mordecai finds out about the plan and is horrified. He warns Esther that she is not safe either. Esther is determined to go to the king. Remember, this is the same king who has given his okay for this plan to be carried out.

"On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand...Then the king asked, 'What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you." (Esther 5:1-2b,3)

Wow! Esther has a way of getting the king to give in, just by him looking at her. She must have been "a looker." Keep in mind how this story all began. The king was upset that his wife (the former queen) would not entertain him and his drunk guests. He literally asked what he should do about it. He then issued a decree that all women should obey their husbands. The king is portrayed as a wimp, and a push over. Haman took advantage of this and now, so is Esther.

Esther proposes that the king, along with Haman attend a banquet that she has put together. You may notice in this book that there are many banquets. The king has promised Esther half of his kingdom is she asks for it. The king's and Haman's attendance at the banquet is only part of Esther's plea. She will announce the other later at the banquet.

Before the banquet is given the king is found to be having a sleepless night. What does he do to try to find sleep? He ordered that the chronicles of his reign be read to him. I guess even he thought he had a boring life. As the chronicles were being read the reader came across an entry noting the foiled assassination attempt on the king. If you remember Mordecai was the one who foiled the plot. The king discovers that nothing was ever done to honor Mordecai. Just about that time Haman is brought in and asked the question: 'What shall be done for the man the king delights to honor? (Esther 6:6b) Of course Haman thinks that the king is wishing to honor who? Yep, Haman. So, Haman suggests an elaborate ceremonial parade. Oh the irony! Haman has just ordered the building of a gallows for Mordecai. Haman suggest an elaborate parade that he thinks is for him. Can you imagine his face as the king says: "Wonderful idea! Now go get the man who is to be honored and do as you have suggested. That man is Mordecai!"

Well, at the banquet Esther lets the king know that her people (the Jews) have been threatened with annihilation. The king wants to know who came up with such an idea. She tells him "The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman." (Esther 7:6a) Again, the irony! Haman is condemned to be hanged on the very gallows he has built for Mordecai.

Now, for more irony. Mordecai was a descendant of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. Mordecai was therefore, a descendant of King Saul. Haman, on the other hand, was from the Amalekites. What was King Saul's demise? He failed to eliminate the Amalekites. In this story the Amalekites are finally eliminated.

The Book of Esther explains the origin of the Jewish celebration of Purim. But, what about this book that does not mention God at all. I believe that God is present all throughout the book in the form of Esther. Yes, God is at work even though we don't read about God. In life it may not always seem that God is with us, or at work, but God is perhaps more involved in the story than we think.

I hope you enjoyed the Book of Esther. Tomorrow we will begin the very important book of Job. Yes, I'm sure you have heard the expression, "The Patience of Job." We will discover what that statement is all about, as well as look at the theology (both good and bad) found in the book, and how we still use much of it today. Take care and God Bless! -Pastor Rick


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