Day 5 - Esther 8:11, 9:1-2, 20-22

The Goodness of our God

If you remember from yesterday, Esther asked her husband, the king, to reverse the decree that would annihilate her people. And what was his response?

8:11 The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies.

Did you catch that? The king isn’t going to overturn the decree. Instead, he’s allowing the Jews to defend themselves. What was their reaction to all of this? You imagine, it’d be something like, “Really? We have to fight for our lives? The queen is literally one of us and we still have to fight?” But that’s not what happened. The Jews responded with celebration. They weren’t going to be sheep led to the slaughter. They had the right to defend themselves and they had faith that God would prevail. That was a reason to celebrate.

Sometimes God intervenes in ways we don’t understand. We want Him to take it away and He doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes instead of delivering us from our troubles, He stands beside us and delivers us through our troubles.

Think of a time when you prayed for God to take something away, and He allowed you to go through it instead. How did you grow from that situation?

9:1 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them. 2 The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them.

Why was this ragtag group of Jews so terrifying? They weren’t known for having a trained army or incredible strength. They weren't the most wealthy or powerful. But when their lives were in danger, they bonded together to fast and pray. Ultimately, their faith in an unbeatable God terrified their enemies. And “no one could stand against them.”

Do you truly believe that if God is with you no one can stand against you? How would your life look if you lived out that promise?

20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

Mordecai knew something about us. We’re forgetful. Especially when it comes to the goodness of our God. And these people didn't have Timehop or Facebook memories. Imagine them scrolling through social media saying, “Oh yeah! A year ago, we were sure we were going to be annihilated.”

When you’re troubled by something, what is your first reaction? Do you worry or do you reflect the goodness of God?

If you get to the end of this book and you find yourself praising Esther, you’ve missed the point. Esther wasn't perfect. But she was faithful to a perfect God. And that’s why she got to be a part of this pivotal story. God’s goodness and perfect timing is what the book of Esther is all about. And the good news is, Esther’s God is our God. And He’s still good and his timing is still perfect.

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