King Ahasuerus was a man of extreme power, wealth, and fame who ruled over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia, *Esther 1:1.
In the third year of his reign, the lavish banquet that he held displaying his wealth over 180 days, vs 4, ended with a special 7 day banquet for those present in Susa the citadel, vs 5. However this ended in Queen Vashti losing her crown, because the king in his drunken state called for her to be presented before him to show off her beauty before those present, vs 11. She refused to come, and so, the king being openly insulted, was adviced by his wise men and discerners to ban her from his presence and choose someone in her place, who was more deserving than her, vs 19!
This made way for Esther the Jewess to become the next queen, Esther 2. Mordecai who was actually her cousin, had raised her up as if she was his own daughter vs 7. In the course of time he learnt about a conspiracy against the king and reported it to Esther. She in turn reported it to the king who found the same to be true and the convicts were hung on a gallows, vs 21-23. Nevertheless, on account of his religious convictions, Mordecai refused to bow down before Haman, who was exalted by the king above all his other officials, Esther 3!
This angered Haman, and he subtly convinced the king to do away with the entire race of people who were associated with Mordecai, vs 8,9, to which the king readily agreed! As the news of this evil plot was conveyed across the 127 provinces, it was met with fasting, weeping and sorrow on part of the Jews and Mordecai as well, *Esther 4:1,3. When Esther asked the reason for Mordecai’s strange behaviour, she learnt of the same, with a request from Mordecai to go to the king and implore and petition him on behalf of her people, vs 8.
Had Esther done so immediately, it could have led to disastrous results! Esther, on account of her humility chose a better way, and before she approached the king, she decided to fast and pray with her maidens for 3 days and asked Mordecai to do the same with the Jews in Susa. Therefore, God then gave Esther an amazing plan of action, Esther 5, which led her to prepare a table in the presence of her enemy, and not just for one day but for two, inviting only the King and Haman to those banquets, vs 4,8.
Strategically, as per God’s direction, she does not divulge her plea to the king at the first banquet! Before the second banquet took place, God caused two significant incidents to occur.
One being that Haman gets a 75 feet high gallows prepared to hang Mordecai on, vs 14, and the second being that because the King could not sleep during that night, he learnt how Mordecai helped to save his life and how nothing was done to reward Mordecai, Esther 6:1-3. Now, before Haman cud ask the king for permission to hang Mordecai, God moves the king’s heart to determine to honour Mordecai for his good deed and Haman happens to be the one he chooses to do so, vs 4-10!
Before Haman realises what was happening, he is escorted to Esther’s second banquet wherein she reveals to the king that her life and that of her people have been put in grave danger by Haman, Esther 7:3-6! On hearing this the King is enraged, and the banquet ends by the king ordering for Haman to be hung on the very gallows that he got built for Mordecai, vs 9!
Although the edict of the King could not be changed, the king magnanimously permits Esther and Mordecai to authorize the Jews to defend themselves on the same day that Haman had determined to exterminate them, Esther 8: 11,12. Further, he also permitted them to allow the Jews in Susa to repeat the same process for one more day, Esther 9: 13.
This entire exercise brought an end to all the enemies of the Jews and Haman’s ten sons too, vs 12-16! A great victory ensued and all because Queen Esther chose to seek God with fasting and prayer for a solution, instead of using her own understanding to handle the matter! The story ends with Mordecai gaining a high position of honour in the kingdom and great status before his people too, Esther 10! It must also be noted that this was not at all what Mordecai was seeking after, nor did he having any rebellious attitude towards the king, rather, the stand that he took was only to honour God and keep his conscience clear, without any ulterior motivation whatsoever!
Let us learn from Esther’s example not to rush ahead with our own plans when facing adverse situations, but instead seek God in prayer and with fasting, when necessary, for God’s wisdom in handling that situation. Let us also learn from Mordecai’s example to stand in humility, and refuse to compromise our convictions that are based on God’s Word, even if we have to lose our lives for the same! A combination of both these characteristics, as seen in Queen Esther and Mordecai, will assure us of great exploits, right in the midst of our trying situations, where God, in His wisdom has positioned us for such a time as this! Amen.