As long as man has been on earth Satan has sought to derail the plan of redemption. Cain kills Abel. God has to exterminate the contaminated race except for Noah and kin. Babel unites the world against God. Abram is chosen. The Jews are persecuted first by Egypt then by Amalek.
Nowhere is the drama of God’s plan and Satan’s attack more clearly seen than in the backdrop of Esther.
- Haman [mentioned 45x in the Scriptures; literally “magnificent”, chief minister of Ahasuerus, enemy of Mordecai and the Jews, who plotted to kill the Jews but, being foiled by Esther, was executed, with his family, on the post he had made for Mordecai]. Haman was the last descendent of the Jew killing Amalekites [3:1] poised to at last exterminate the people of the Covenant.
- Mordecai [mentioned 60x in the Scriptures; literally “little man” cousin and adoptive father of queen Esther; son of Jair of the tribe of Benjamin; deliverer under Divine providence of the children of Israel from the destruction plotted by Haman the chief minister of Ahasuerus; institutor of the feast of Purim; a Jew who returned from exile with Zerubbabel] a faithful and obedient descendent of Saul [2:5] is the tool God uses to complete His plan for the Amalekites.
Theme: The God who is in control
I. The Selection of Esther as Queen 1:1-2:21
II. The Elimination of the Jews planned by Haman 2:22-5:1
III. The Exultation of Mordecai over Haman 5:2-8:4
IV. The Emancipation of the Jews from their death threat 8:5-10:3
The book of Esther is a skillfully crafted book demonstrating the unfailing control of God. Our Lord is seen in the seemingly insignificant coincidences of life that together form the tapestry of His providential directing all things together for good. Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to [His] purpose. (NASB)
God’s sovereign rule is assumed though never stated throughout the book. This makes His power even more vivid because it is seen but never mentioned. Esther 4:12-16 And they related Esther’s words to Mordecai. Then Mordecai told [them] to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Then Esther told [them] to reply to Mordecai, “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” (NASB)
I. The Major themes of the Book of Esther
GOD HAS PROMISED DELIVERANCE FOR HIS PEOPLE !
1. ISRAEL IS SPECIAL. God always has considered Israel as His special possession. Exodus 19:4-5 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 ‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth [is] Mine. (NKJV)
2. ISRAEL IS PROTECTED. God has always guarded Israel as being protected as we guard the delicate pupils of our eyes.
a) Deuteronomy 32:10 “He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. (NKJV)
b) Lamentations 2:18 Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease. (KJV)
c) Zechariah 2:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. (KJV)
3. ESTHER PORTRAYS DELIVERANCE. Purim is the feast of remembrance for the deliverance under Esther. It is described in its start and purpose.
a) Esther was called upon to be the tool of deliverance.Esther 2:19-23 And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 Esther had not yet made known her kindred or her people, even as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther did what Mordecai told her as she had done when under his care. 21 In those days, while Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s officials from those who guarded the door, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 22 But the plot became known to Mordecai, and he told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 Now when the plot was investigated and found [to be so,] they were both hanged on a gallows; and it was written in the Book of the Chronicles in the king’s presence. (NASB)
b) All the Jews were at risk. Esther 3:6 But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him[ who] the people of Mordecai [were;] therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who
throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. (NASB)
GOD HAS PROMISED CONFLICT FOR HIS PEOPLE.
1. Satan is our mortal enemy. He works through the nations of the world. The Amalekites represent the world arrayed against the people of God. They were first to attack the people of God. The chronology of the Agagites, Amalekites and Israel:
a) Amalekites were Israel’s first foes Exodus 17:8 Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. (NKJV) through v. 16 THIS IS 1445 BC.
b) Israel was to blot out even their memoryDeuteronomy 25:17-19 Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, 18 “how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you [were] tired and weary; and he did not fear God. “Therefore it shall be, when the LORD your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess [as] an inheritance,
you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget. (NKJV) THIS IS 1406 BC.
c) Saul attacks Agag King of the Amalekites 1 Samuel 15:20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. (NKJV) But is not faithful. THIS IS 1050-1010 BC, 400 YEARS LATER!
d) Now Haman the Agagite serving under Xerxes [486-465 BC] attacks Israel again 500 years later !
2. God is our Victory. Jehovah-nissi, our Banner as He fights the enemies of His Kingdom for us. Exodus 17:8-10, 14-16 Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us, and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 And Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial, and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar, and named it The LORD is My Banner; 16 and he said, “The LORD has sworn; the LORD will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.” (NASB)
3. We need to seek His intervention in the battles of life. Exodus 17:11 So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. 13 So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
4. God commands them to destroy their enemies completely. As we are to also through Christ.
a) Amalek was their foe. Deuteronomy 25:17-19 “Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt, 18 how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God. 19 “Therefore it shall come about when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget. (NASB)
b) The flesh is our foe. Colossians 3:5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. (NASB)
c) The Holy Spirit is jealous for our whole hearted devotion. James 4:5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? (NASB)
d) The reward for complete devotion to the Lord is fabulous. Isaiah 33:14-16 Sinners in Zion are terrified; Trembling has seized the godless. “Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?” 15 He who walks righteously, and speaks with sincerity, He who rejects unjust gain, And shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; He who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from looking upon evil; 16 He will dwell on the heights; His refuge will be the impregnable rock; His bread will be given
His water will be sure. (NASB)
5. God has promised the Victory. In the Old Testament Balaam prophesied the coming doom of the Amalekites. Numbers 24:20And he looked at Amalek and took up his discourse and said, “Amalek was the first of the nations, But his end
6. God wanted to use Saul for the task but Saul failed the test. He did not finish the work of God.
a) THE COMMAND WAS CLEAR. 1 Samuel 15:1-3 Then Samuel said to Saul, “The LORD sent me to anoint you as king over His people, over Israel; now therefore, listen to the words of the LORD. 2 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will punish Amalek [for] what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt. 3 ‘Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ” (NASB)
b) THE DISOBEDIENCE WAS TRAGIC. 1 Samuel 28:18 “As you did not obey the LORD and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so the LORD has done this thing to you this day. (NASB)
GOD HAS PROMISED REST FOR HIS PEOPLE!
1. IT IS SURE: The Lord will bring it to pass. Deuteronomy 25:19 “Therefore it shall come about when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget. (NASB)
2. IT IS SIMPLE. Isaiah 30:15 For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you shall be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing, (NASB)
3. IT IS SANCTIFICATION. Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. (NASB)
4. IT IS SALVATION. Hebrews 4:1-16 Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” 9 There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through [following] the same example of disobedience. 16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (NASB)
A. God is at work Guiding His Plan from start to finish. Philippians 1:6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ: (KJV)
B. God will defeat His enemies whoever they may be!
1. Amalekites 1500 BC
2. Canaanites 1400-1300 BC
3. Philistines 1200-1000 BC
4. Syrians 1000-800 BC
5. Assyrians 800-700 BC
6. Babylonians 700-600 BC
7. Persians 600-300 BC
8. Greeks 300 BC – 100 BC
9. Romans 100 BC – 400 AD
10. Europeans, Moslems, etc. 400 AD onward
C. God always wins
1. His Sovereign plans are never frustrated . . .
2. Human hatred and bitterness always lead to personal destruction as in Haman.
3. God uses regular people like us who will obey Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart
perfect toward him. (KJV)