Day 2 - Esther 3:8-13
That's Not Fair
If only the story ended with the crowning of the queen, but that would be too easy. Two things have happened since yesterday’s passage. First, Mordecai warns the king about an assination plot he overheard between two of the palace guards. Xerxes immediately forgets about Mordecai’s heroism and instead elevates a man named Haman above all the nobles. Haman immediately walks outside the gate to watch everyone kneel down to him, but Mordecai, the Jew, remains standing. Haman is furious.
8 Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.” 10 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.” 12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.
Suddenly, much more is riding on Esther’s little secret. If she reveals to the King that she’s a Jew, she too will be killed. And the Jews won't just be killed, they will be destroyed, killed and annihilated. Haman didn’t want a whisper of evidence the Jews ever lived in the kingdom. And King Xerxes? He said, “Sure.” He didn’t even care to take a bribe. He just handed over his signet ring so Haman could decree whatever he wanted and it would bear the seal of the king. It’s hard to read this part of the story without wanting to shout, “But that’s not fair!”
When in your life have you said, “That’s not fair”? How did you deal with it?
Can you imagine how much Esther wanted to talk to Mordecai? He would know what to do. Instead she was left to agonize alone in a huge palace with no one she could trust. If only the end could come quickly, but no. Haman cast a lot to see when to attack. The Jews had eleven months to await their annihilation. Can you imagine having that on your calendar? Haman’s punishment wasn’t just physical, it was psychological.
We are in a time when there’s a lot of waiting and a lot of unknowns. How has that affected your mental health? How has it affected your faith?
Just like the crowning of the queen wasn’t the end of the story, Haman’s decree isn't the end either. Stick with us this week to see what happens next. Just because God isn’t mentioned directly in these passages, doesn’t mean He’s not at work. God was with Esther in that palace when it seemed like there was no way out. The same is true in our lives today. There are times when it feels like God is silent, but He’s very much at work.
If you’re having trouble sensing God’s presence, take some time to talk to Him right now. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Even though everything feels like it’s paused, God is at work.
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