The Scepter of the King

Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.  And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre. Esther 5:1-2

The Agagite Haman was seeking to destroy the Jews who were in the provinces of the Mede/Persian empire. Haman hated the Jews probably for at least two reasons. Haman was a descendant of the king of the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15 who was Agag.

Samuel had given Saul, the king of Israel, word to destroy all the people, and all their livestock and to keep nothing. Saul had disobeyed the command from God’s servant, thus from God. Thus it came down for Samuel to kill Agag. Evidently someone of Agag’s people escaped death that day and thus we have Haman trying to destroy the Jewish people of the  Mede/Persian empire. Read the book of Esther for the second reason. It involved Mordecai.

Esther had not seen the king for a month, and Mordecai sends her a message that she needed to act in defense of her people; remember  Esther is a Jew as well. She needs to approach the king on a busy day, and she puts on the proper attire, and she has called for Mordecai, and other Jews to fast and pray. Though the name of God is never used in Esther, He can definitely be seen.

Esther breaks protocol for visiting the king. He life hangs in the balance. She comes through the door of the palace. The king sees her, has mercy on her and holds out his scepter to her, which grants her privilege to enter without further fear. She touches the top of the scepter in recognition of the favor she has been granted.

Though God may be silent, He is still Sovereign in all.

It is by the grace and mercy of our King Jesus that He gave us the scepter of His cross, and anyone coming to Him in faith believing Him and touching that cross, believing in His death for our sins, His burial, and resurrection will live eternally in His presence. That scepter of the cross is still held out to all who will come to Him.

 

 

Standing Before the Throne

“Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.” Esther 5:1-2 (KJV)

A decree had been written by Haman, approved by king Ahasuerus to kill all the Jews in the land of Persia.

The LORD God of Israel (though His name is never mentioned) had sovereignly placed Esther, a Jewish young lady as queen of Persia. Mordecai, the Jewish uncle to Esther, was a man who honored the king, but would not honor the man Haman. Esther has been given a challenge to approach the king while in the court of his throne, and risk her life for the attention of the king in the matter of the decree.

Esther stood in the court, was seen by the king; he held out his scepter. She had found favor in his sight. She approached the king, and touched the top of the sceptre. It was the law of Persia; no one came into the court of the king, approaching his throne without an invitation from the king; on punishment of death, unless the king held out his sceptre.

Due to this bold, and courageous stand by Esther the plot of Haman is exposed, he is hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai, and his ten sons are hanged on it too (Esther 9:10, 13). The Jewish people receive a decree which allows them to protect themselves against any Persian who would attack, and kill them.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our king. We have immediate access to the very throne of God. The sceptre of His throne is always held out for one of His princes, and princesses – those who are born again through the blood of Jesus Christ. You, by His blood shed on the cross approach the throne of God. You need no one to go for you.

To try and approach God without Christ Jesus is a death sentence. No one can see God and live; except through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son.

See Hebrews 4:16

Confusing Laws

“The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day. The posts went out, being hastened by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.” Esther 3:14-15 (KJV)

The book of Esther is partly about a Jewish girl in the captivity in Shushan during the reign of Ahasuerus. The name of God is never mentioned, but let us never think that He is not seen, nor heard, nor in control of the events of the great book.

Haman is from the Amalekites who are descendants of Esau. They have hated the Hebrew people for at least a thousand (1,000) years. The Jewish people fought them from the time of their departure from Egypt, in the wilderness (Exodus 17:8-14). Haman is a descendant of Agag from 1 Samuel 15, and due to this history has a vendetta to kill and destroy the Hebrew people. He schemes and plots; after his appointment as the chief prince of the Shushan; and convinces the king to give the writing (3:11-13), and destroy, to kill all the Jewish people throughout the land.

In looking at verse 14 above; the final part of the last sentence says, “But the city of Shushan was perplexed” ie. “confused”. This was pure and simply a plot of demonic proportions. For God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Yet we will see that God is in complete control to preserve and protect His people.

The king and Haman sat down to drink, to celebrate the writing; yet the city was confused. When kings and rulers make laws that confuse the people that is a simple sign that the laws and the rules are not to benefit the people.

There is peace, there is stability, there is knowledge, and there is wisdom for the people of God; for those who follow God’s way to life.

Wake up today, and walk in the law of God. Do not trust in the edicts of men; they only lead to confusion. The way of God is through the cross of Jesus Christ. He died, was buried, and rose again. One day He is returning to take His people to His place; then returning to this earth to rid the earth of all sin and evil. Join Him by trusting in His Son and His finished work.

Day 32 – Providence

My reading today consisted of the last five chapters of Esther, and the first nine of Job.  The commentary this morning will deal solely with Esther.

Esther is a book of the Bible that never names the name of God.  God is not even mentioned in person; however the work, power and presence of God is clearly seen by those who have the eyes to see it.  There are many times in Christian life where it feels as though God is nowhere to be found; and all we have to go on is faith.

I have heard the term “Providence”, and usually speaking of the work of God in the events of mankind.  Well, if there is a Biblical case for providence, then, it can certainly be seen throughout the book of Esther.

Let me give you a list of the characters in Esther.  First there is the king, Ahasuerus, “Xerxes” in newer translations; there is the queen who is not in the story very long, but plays a prominent part in the development of the story; there is Mordecai – a Jewish captive from Jerusalem; there is Haman – an Agagite; and then there is Esther – who will be queen.

One thing that can be seen by this event in the story of Israel, its captivity, and return is that even though we may mess up, sin, and seemingly ruin our lives through disobedience we do not thwart the plan and will of God.  That can be seen in the story of Esther as well.

Let us first find out about Haman – the Agagite.  Haman was a descendant of Agag whom king Saul of Israel was disobedient to God in letting him live.  Samuel eventually kills Agag (1 Samuel 15).  For many centuries this hatred for the Jewish people had been stewing in the hearts of the family of Agag; and in this story it came to fruition.  Haman had it in his heart to rid the Persian Empire and the world of the Jewish people.

Though God is not mentioned; He had another plan.  God’s plan was to bring the children of Israel back to their Promised land; so that the Messiah and Savior of the world would one day come, and die for our sins.

Haman sets a course of action after his appointment as prominent leader in Persia.  All others were to bow to him; however Mordecai would not bow to him.  Mordecai knew who Haman was, and saw his heart.  Mordecai had also overheard a plot to assassinate the king, revealed it and the perpetrators were hanged (2:21-23).

One verse that stands out in the book of Esther is one that is well known to many of us –

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (KJV)

This occurs following the murderous plot of Haman to exterminate the Jewish people.  It is not yet known that Esther is Jewish, and Mordecai, as the uncle of Esther, is telling her that it is time to reveal the truth of her identity, for the salvation of her people.  Mordecai is asking Esther to enter the throne area of the royal house without invitation, and that in the Persian courts could be deadly, meaning immediate and sudden death, if the king did not recognize the one entering by holding out his scepter (4:11); and after three days of fasting she enters the throne room, and the king holds out the scepter (5:1-2).

The night before the banquet of Esther the king cannot sleep remembering what Mordecai had done saving his life from the plot of the two who were hanged for their assassination attempt.  Haman’s plot is known by the king, he has even given him the authority to send the message with the kings signet ring seal on the documents authorizing its execution.  The following day, however, Haman is put to humility by walking Mordecai around the streets of Jerusalem, exalting him for the great deed he has done in exposing the plat of assassination.  Haman probably realizes by now that “his goose is cooked”.

It becomes even more apparent when Esther reveals it to the king at the banquet.  Haman has built a gallows on which to have Mordecai hanged; and finds himself hanging on the device of his own imagination.

God, though not named, is also a prominent presence in the book.  His hand of Providence is seen, in the elevation of Esther, a Jew, to the seat of the queen of Persia; the man despised by the Agagite is exalted to the Agagites position after his plot is foiled.  God’s people do return to Jerusalem; and the Messiah is born, dies on the cross for the sins of the world, is buried, and rises bodily from the grave conquering sin, hell and death.

Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God ever lives; that those who trust in Him might live too.

Christian take note of the Providence of God; even when you do not think He is present and working; take another look.

-Tim A. Blankenship