Well Worth The Risk.

Then Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet and wept and pleaded with him to avert the evil plan of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. When the king held out the golden scepter to Esther, Esther rose and stood before the king. And she said, “If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.” – Esther 8:3-8 ESV

Haman was dead, but Esther’s work was not yet done. The enemy had been defeated, but the king’s edict was still in effect. There was still a date set on the calendar when all the Jews in the kingdom would be wiped out. That had been the real motivation behind Esther’s fast and the two feasts she had prepared for the king and Haman. And now she makes her intentions clearly known to the king.

If it please the king, and if I have found favor with him, and if he thinks it is right, and if I am pleasing to him, let there be a decree that reverses the orders of Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, who ordered that Jews throughout all the king’s provinces should be destroyed. For how can I endure to see my people and my family slaughtered and destroyed? – Esther 8:5-6 NLT

Esther prefaces her request with four conditional statements.

If I please the king…

If I have found favor with him…

If he thinks it is right…

If I am pleasing to him…

She is an astute student of her husband. She knows that she is going to have to make every effort to appeal to his pride and feed his obsession for power and control. What she is asking cannot come across as a demand. She may not have fully understood Persian law, as will shortly be revealed, but she did understand her somewhat temperamental husband. Anything that came across as a criticism of his rule or a question of his integrity would backfire. But Esther didn’t pull any punches. She boldly stated what she wanted: The rescinding of Haman’s former edict. But that was going to prove impossible. According to Persian law, an edict of the king was irrevocable. Not even the king could overturn one of his own decrees once it had been issued. But the king did the next best thing. He offered Esther the opportunity to write another edict that could counteract the first decree.

Now go ahead and send a message to the Jews in the king’s name, telling them whatever you want, and seal it with the king’s signet ring. But remember that whatever has already been written in the king’s name and sealed with his signet ring can never be revoked. – Esther 8:8 NLT

Haman’s original decree, which called for the entire Jewish population in Persia to be wiped out, was predicated on a single day on the calendar. It was on that date that the mass execution was to take place. But all was not lost. There was still time. And the king, although a pagan, was giving Esther and Mordecai advice and the power to put a plan into place that would thwart the plans of Haman and preserve the people of God. Once again, we see divine providence moving behind the scenes, orchestrating events and controlling the affairs of men in such a way that the will of God is accomplished. Haman was dead, but the threat against the Jews was still real. His death had not eliminated the edict, but it had elevated Esther and Mordecai in the eyes of the king. He had given the signet ring, once worn by Haman, to Mordecai. And with the ring came power. It was to prove the key to thwarting the plans of Haman and preserving the people of God.

According to the original edict, the date set for the official extermination of the Jews was March 7, 473 B.C. That was a mere eight months away. But it would prove ample time for God to put together a plan to rescue the Jews. Yes, he could have done it in a day. He could have simply wiped out the Persians and miraculously delivered them as He had done so many times before. But as He had with Esther and Mordecai, God was going to use the Jews themselves to accomplish His deliverance. They were going to play a major role in their own rescue. He was the moving force behind all that was going on, but they would not be mere spectators. Mordecai and Esther had been expected to play their parts. They had immersed themselves in the story, taking great risks in allowing themselves to be used by God. When David killed Goliath, he took great risks. He faced a much-larger foe with far-less-impressive weapons, but he succeeded. Moses risked all by standing up against Pharaoh and the gods of Egypt, but he too proved successful. Jesus risked it all by standing up against the religious leaders of His day and the powerful forces of Roman rule. And while He died for His efforts, He was successful in accomplishing the will of His Father. His death brought life. His sacrifice made salvation possible for sinful men. God works through His people. He displays His might through the weak, the powerless, the unimpressive and the unlikely. God used Mordecai, a nondescript Jew. He used Esther, a young orphan recognized for her beauty, but remembered for her faith. And God wants to use you.


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