Sermon – February 7, 2021

Esther by Jean-François Portaels, ~1869

Esther 2:19-3:15 – A Series of Unfortunate Events (mp3)

We have all had those kinds of days – where nothing seems to be going right, and the dominoes of misfortune seem to fall one after another on top of us. Mordecai, at the end of Esther 2, seems to be riding high. Esther appears to be well taken care of, and he himself has thwarted a plot to assassinate the King, which certainly will come with a reward! Yet, by the time we get to the beginning of chapter 4, a mere chapter later, we will find Mordecai weeping, laying on the ground, covered in dust and ashes. How fleeting are the times of plenty in this life! Yet, even in times like that, there is much hope in God. Let us consider that hope this morning, as we read from God’s word!

1. Esther 2:19-23 – The Height of Success
By the time the second chapter of Esther ends, Mordecai couldn’t have had things much better. Esther was secure in the King’s sight, not only winning favor as a wife, but now by revealing the plot, as a valuable political ally. Mordecai was also in line for a valuable reward, and perhaps a promotion as the man who discovered and reported the plot. As we know, however, things don’t always stay put, and his downfall will be sudden. Friends, give thanks to God for what you have, for it may be gone in but a moment!

2. Esther 3:1-6 – The Honor of Haman
At the start of Esther 3, we should ignore the chapter division and expect that Mordecai is getting the promotion we expected. But instead, we are introduced to a character we have yet to meet, who receives the promotion instead of Mordecai. Mordecai, expected by the king to pay homage to Haman, refuses to. While we are not let in on the full reason, it is enough to bring the wrath of Haman down on Mordecai. But, Haman insists, just to worry about Mordecai is too small for him. Instead he will set his sights larger, and take out all the Jews. His pride, his simple arrogance, will become his own downfall. How wicked is our pride!

3. Esther 3:7-11 – The Horror of Fate
Haman tosses the lots to win the favor of the gods, and finds the best time for his plans. It seems that the very nature of Fate and Destiny are against the Jews themselves. Of course, God is still in control, even when it seems that everything points against his being with and for his people. Ultimately, Haman convinces the King to act on his behalf, mostly due to the promise of money. Let us listen closely to how the Bible speaks about the evil nature of money – it gives sincere warnings that we are slow to hear (and preach!). Money is the currency of worldly power, and no believer in the risen Christ can serve him and Mammon.

4. Esther 3:12-15 – The Heft of Power
The purpose of the last portion of chapter 3 was the overall weightiness of what was occurring. “All”, “every” are the oft repeated words. There was no where to escape the great power that was coming for the Jews. They were to be annihilated, all of them, wherever they were. The king and Haman, pleased with themselves, see fit to feast and drink to their prosperity. How thankful we should be that we don’t sing and serve a king that feasts while we suffer! But rather, being broken for us, provides himself for a feast for us. A feast that speaks of his death and his coming; a feast that speaks of a better feast coming to all those who believe.