Series: Shaped by Environment
Preacher: Jessyka Albert
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 69:13-18.
Read: Esther 1-4 (ESV). Re-read in the English Standard Version for new insights/questions.
Reflect: After the party dies down, we find Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate. During this time, he learns of a plot by two palace guards (Bigthan and Teresh) to assassinate the king. This part of the story might seem insignificant, much like the king’s drunken orders or Vashti’s disobedience might have seemed insignificant, but again, this action plays a crucial part in the story of Esther.
Mordecai informs Esther of Bigthan and Teresh’s plan to attack the king. She in turn informs her husband. The two guards are killed and the account of Mordecai’s deed was recorded in the Book of the Chronicles.
The book of Esther is known for not mentioning the subjects of God or prayer even once, but we can still see God’s plan at work constantly. God does not need human recognition for His plans to succeed. His plans and timing don’t always seem successful in our eyes, however. After Mordecai’s heroic act of saving the king and the consequent trust built between Esther and the king, we’re introduced to a new character—Haman. Mordecai saves the day, but all of a sudden this Haman guy swoops into the story and receives a promotion.
We are told Haman is an Agagite. This deepens the story and opens our eyes to the bigger story being played out. Haman is a descendant of a group of people that God had ordered King Saul to completely wipe out. He is, by DNA, an enemy of God’s people—the Jewish people. He is positioned by the author to be the antagonist of the story and is promoted by the king to one of the highest positions in the kingdom. “All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him.” (3:2).
Respond: Pray for peace.
Research: Read the story of King Saul and King Agag in 1 Samuel 15.