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Author:Rev. Ted Gray
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Congregation:First United Reformed Church
 Oak Lawn, Illinois
 www.oaklawnurc.org/
 
Title:God's Providential Protection of His People
Text:Esther 6:1-14 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God's Providence
 
Added:2022-05-17
Updated:2022-05-31
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

 
Now with Joyful Exultation
From out the Depths I Cry
Day by Day and with Each Passing Moment
This Is My Father's World
 
Two manuscripts are transcribed here for reading services. The first uses the NIV which translates the king’s name as “Xerxes”. The second manuscript follows the ESV (and other translations) which refer to the king as “Ahasuerus”.  (The second manuscript also uses the ESV for the Scripture quoted from Esther 6). Xerxes is the Greek transliteration of the Persian king’s name, while Ahasuerus is the Hebrew designation of the same Persian king.
 
 
If this sermon is read apart from the series of Esther, the following introduction may be helpful:
 
In a sense, the background to the book of Esther – indeed to all 66 books of the Bible – is found in Genesis 3:15 where God spoke to the devil – the serpent, Satan, and said:
 
 "… I will put enmity
   between you and the woman,
   and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
   and you will strike his heel."
 
The conflict of all history concerns the spiritual battle of the evil one and his followers against the Lord and His people. In the book of Esther, a political leader of prominence, the king’s right-hand man, Haman, drew up an edict to annihilate the people of God living in Persia.
 
But in God’s providence, a Jewish orphan girl, Esther, became Queen. She, and her cousin, Mordecai, were used by the Lord, in gracious providence, to turn the tables on Haman and preserve the lineage of the eternal Christ who would be born out of the Jewish nation.
 
We read a slice of that history here in chapter 6, (and this evening, the story reaches its dramatic conclusion in chapter 7).
 
 
 
 
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


 
02/14/2016 (NIV)
updated 05/15/2022 
“God’s Providential Protection of His People”
Esther 6:1-14
 
Most of you can relate to the frustration King Xerxes faced when he could not sleep. You toss and you turn, you look at the clock and it’s still the early hours of the morning. But the blessing of sleep just doesn't come! That is the type of night that King Xerxes was having. As chapter 6 begins it simply tells us, “That night the king could not sleep…”
 
It was the same night that he and Haman, his right-hand man, attended a banquet Esther had hosted. From Esther 5:6 we know that they were drinking wine, but even having the wine and good food at Esther's banquet would not bring sleep to the king. So he did what many of you students might be tempted to do when you read your history books.  Verse 1 describes how “he ordered the book of the Chronicles, the record of his reign to be brought in and read to him.”
 
He probably thought that the reading of the history of his kingdom would certainly put him to sleep. And perhaps his eyelids were starting to close when verse 2 tells us, “It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.” Instead of putting him to sleep, that news really woke him up! In verse 3 he asked, “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?”
 
Persian kings were known for their elaborate display of thankfulness to those who had helped within their kingdom, especially if someone had spared their life as Mordecai had done. The historian, Herodotus, describes how Xerxes rewarded a man who saved the life of Xerxes’ brother by allowing him to be the governor of an entire province.
 
Because elaborate rewards were normally given, Xerxes was now wide awake asking what had been done for Mordecai. More than likely, he was drawing a complete blank. His life had been spared by Mordecai's action, yet what had been done?
 
His attendants answered his question by saying, “Nothing has been done for Mordecai,” and as they were speaking Haman entered the outer court of the palace. It was still in the wee hours of the morning. It would be unusual for anyone to enter the king’s palace at that time. No wonder the king asked, “Who is in the court?” His attendants answered, “Haman is standing in the court.”
   
Just as the king had been up all night unable to sleep, so had Haman, but for a far different reason. He had been up all night preparing the gallows, seventy-five feet high, on which to hang Mordecai. The gallows had been put in place and Haman was eager to put an end to the child of God who refused to bow before him. Yet Haman's plans would backfire completely. All his scheming, and his edict to annihilate the Jewish people, led to his own death, as well as the deaths of many others who had been ready to persecute God's people.
 
What does that teach us? One truth that is clearly taught is that God’s providence supersedes all human plans. As Psalm 33:10-11 puts it: “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.”
 
And as the Lord frustrates the plans of the peoples, in this case the plans Haman had, the Lord uses many unique means. With Jonah God used both a large fish and a tiny worm. With the widow who sustained Elijah through a great famine, the Lord used a common jar of flour and a jug of oil. But He caused them to never run out until the famine ended. In executing judgment on King Ahab the Lord used an arrow shot “at random” (1 Kings 22:34) to pierce the king – who had so cleverly disguised himself – between the sections of his armor and bring about his death.
 
In this case, with Xerxes, the Lord used a lack of sleep on the part of the king, even though he was well fed and had drunk his wine. The Hebrew text says that sleep fled from him. Who made it flee? It was the providence of Almighty God.
 
The Heidelberg Catechism gives a beautiful definition of God’s providence in Lord’s Day 10:  
 
             Providence is the almighty and ever-present power of God
               by which He upholds, as with His hand,
             heaven and earth and all creatures,
                   and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought,
                   fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness,
                   prosperity and poverty—
             all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from His Fatherly hand.
 
That is one truth that we see in this passage: God will use whatever means He wishes to accomplish His purposes and plans, which cannot be thwarted.
 
God is Not Mocked
 
A second truth that we see unfold in this sixth chapter is a truth that the apostle Paul would write to the Galatian church about, in Galatians 6:7-8, where he warns us: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature (the flesh), from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (NIV, 1978)
 
Haman had sowed corruption, and corruption destroys. His corruption led to his death and to eternal damnation. And his corruption, just like your corruption and my corruption, was rooted in his heart. In verse 6 when the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?” Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” In the Hebrew text that phrase is “in his heart Haman thought…”
 
It is just as Jesus would later teach, in Matthew 15:19, “...Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Unless the evil that is within your heart and my heart is repented of and turned from – by the Holy Spirit’s conviction – it will lead to eternal damnation, just as it did for Haman.
 
God’s Promise of Protection
 
As we read about the remarkable turn of events caused by the king's lack of sleep, we are also reminded that God is true to all His promises, including the promise to protect His people. Haman had carefully plotted to destroy God's people. Back in chapter 3:8 he described to the king how there was a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of Persia whose customs were different from that of other people. In verse 9 of that chapter he said, “If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talents of silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business.”
 
And Esther 3:10-11 gives the king’s chilling response: “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. ‘Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.’”
 
In that passage Haman is specifically identified as “the enemy of the Jews.” The Jews of the Old Testament were the people upon whom God had lavished His special love. He had promised to deliver them from their enemies, to provide for them, and to bless them by allowing them to be the human lineage leading up to the birth of the eternal Christ in human flesh at the fullness of time. As Romans 9:4-5 puts it, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever…”
 
It was the precious people of God that Haman plotted to annihilate. It was to be a complete annihilation on a mass scale. Esther 3:13 describes the specifics of Haman's edict “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews – young and old, women and little children – on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and plunder their goods.”
   
God's people have always been the target of the evil one and those who follow him. Yet God has promised to protect His people. The promise was very clearly given way back in Genesis 12:2-3 where the Lord gave Abram this promise:
 
“I will make you into a great nation,
     and I will bless you;
 I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
   and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
   will be blessed through you.” 
 
With this in mind, we see how futile, foolish, and sinful Haman's plot was. Apparently, his wife and his advisers came to understand what Haman missed. In the second part of verse 13 Haman's wife and his advisers said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!”
 
The New Testament echoes that same truth with resounding force in the rhetorical question of Romans 8:31, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” And the answer: “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
 
  “... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”      
 
And that leads us to our first application this morning: We can be sure that the Lord is, and ever will be, victorious in the age-old battle of good and evil, God and Satan.
 
Victory in Jesus
 
The battle lines have been clearly drawn for us in this passage. In chapter 5:14, on the advice of his wife and his advisers, Haman had gallows built, 75 feet high; he planned to hang Mordecai on them in the morning.
 
Haman was an Agagite, a descendent of King Agag who was the king of the Amalekites. By contrast, Mordecai was a descendent of Saul, the first king of Israel, who had sinned by not destroying the Amalekites, as God had commanded him to do as recorded in 1 Samuel 15:3.
 
But the Lord used this unique combination of a lack of sleep, and the reading of the history books, to bring about a complete change, a stunning reversal of events, as Haman would be hung on the very gallows that he made for Mordecai.
 
The Lord God Almighty will be victorious. His reign, His rule, His will cannot be thwarted. Those who try will be thoroughly defeated, if not in this life, then in the life to come. Haman serves as an example of the futility of those who oppose God’s plans and purposes, including the protection of His people.
 
The Psalmist describes how the Lord laughs at those who would oppose Him and His people. Psalm 2:2-6:
 
...The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together against the LORD
   and against His Anointed One,
 
   “Let us break their chains” they say,
“And throw off their fetters.”
 
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
    the Lord scoffs at them.
 He rebukes them in his anger
    and terrifies them in His wrath, saying,
 “I have installed My king
    on Zion, My holy mountain.”
 
The word “terrify,” as used by the psalmist for those who oppose the Lord, certainly describes the heart of Haman as his own wife and his own advisers tell him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!”
 
Trust in God’s Providence Quells Worry
 
A second application is that worry should have no place in the life of those who trust in God and in His providence. Did you notice what Mordecai did after that ride through the city, when Haman, thoroughly humiliated, had to announce to all the people, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”
 
After that unique ride, verse 12 records that Mordecai returned to the king's gate. He did not bask in pride as Haman would have done. Instead he went back to his place at the city gate to wait upon the Lord, trusting that God's providence would yet deliver His people from destruction.
 
From his reaction we see that those who trust in the providence of God have no reason to worry. Yes, we are to make plans. There is wisdom in Ecclesiastes 11:6, “In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” We are not to be idle like those in the Thessalonian church who expected the Lord to return in their lifetime. They quit their jobs and the apostle had to remind them, “The man who does not work, shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10).
 
But even though we plan, and work, and diversify as Ecclesiastes 11:6 tells us to do, we have no place for worry. The same God who watched over and delivered Esther and Mordecai from Haman and his cruel edict is the God who watches over you and me.
 
Because of the watchful eye of our heavenly Father, Jesus spoke words of great comfort, words that all of us who believe in God's providence must take to heart. He said:
 
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”  (Matthew 6:25-26).
 
The Heidelberg Catechism, in question and answer 28, gives us the proper response to the knowledge of God's providence. It asks, “How does the knowledge of God’s creation and providence help us?”
 
Answer:
       We can be patient when things go against us,
         thankful when things go well,
         and for the future we can have
         good confidence in our faithful God and Father
         that nothing will separate us from His love.
         All creatures are so completely in His hand
              that without His will
              they can neither move nor be moved.
 
Living by Faith, Not by Sight
 
That truth leads to our third application, which is that when we have a proper understanding of the providence of God, then we are enabled to live by faith, not by sight. When we have that proper understanding of the providence of God, we realize that the events that we see around us are not necessarily as they appear.
 
We see so much evil in our world today and it is so very strong. The nations of the world are poised against the truths of Christianity. The hostility of the world is directed toward the Lord and His people. And if we just looked at what goes on in the world and in our nation, we might think that the evil one and his cohorts have the upper hand. But 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us to “walk by faith, not by sight.”
 
We realize the truth of the hymn writer, that this is our Father's world and that “though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.” Mordecai had that same assurance as he sat at the city gate. Esther, Mordecai and God's people of that day, would realize that the events around them were not as they appeared. They would come to realize that Haman and his evil plot would not prevail. The tables would be turned. God's people would be spared.
 
And throughout the history of this fallen world we celebrate that same truth. We can have calm assurance that since God reigns supreme in heaven, even when horrific events are terribly bad in this fallen world, we can walk by faith and not by sight. We see that things are not as they appear even – or especially – when we look at the greatest event in all of history.
 
The eternal Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, was led out to Mount Calvary and crucified. He had been betrayed with a kiss and condemned as guilty although He was innocent. Then, Matthew 26:67 tells us, “They spit in His face and struck Him with their fists. After blindfolding Him, “Others slapped Him and said, ‘Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit You?’” (Matt. 26:67, 68)
 
As He hung crucified between two thieves on Mount Calvary, it certainly seemed as though the devil had won, as though all those who hate God's people were victorious. Jesus Christ was crucified. But in actuality, just the opposite had happened. Matthew 27:50-51 describes how after “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit... the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.”
 
By His death and subsequent resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ defeated the devil and brought reconciliation between sinners like us and our heavenly Father. When Jesus died, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, which represents the opening of the Most Holy Place for all who believe in Jesus to enter in. By His death and by His resurrection Jesus sealed the devil's doom and opened heaven’s gate to all who by God's grace believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with true saving faith.
 
Do you believe that? Is your faith this morning placed in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation from your sins? If so, then you can rest secure knowing that your true citizenship is in heaven, and its gates are open wide for you because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can be sure that nothing can separate you from His love, not even the last enemy to be destroyed, the enemy of death.
 
And as you wait for that glorious day when you will see Jesus face to face, you can rest assured that the God who redeemed you is providentially watching over you even in the hardest trials, persecutions and heartaches of this life.
 
May these truths encourage and sustain us. In all the turmoil and sin within our world, our nation, and within ourselves, may we realize again that God is always at work behind the scenes, today, just as He was back in the days of Esther and Mordecai! Amen.
 
 
 
 
Sermon Outline:
  
“Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish
origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!”
                                                                                             Esther 6:13
 
           “God’s Providential Protection of His People”
                                        Esther 6:1-14
 
I.  This passage clearly teaches:
     1) God’s providence supersedes all human plans (Psalm 33:10-11), as
          He uses many unique means to accomplish His purposes (6:1-2;
          Jonah 1:17, 4:6-8; Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 27)
 
 
 
      2) God is not mocked; we reap what we sow (6-10; Galatians 6:7-8)         
 
 
 
 
     3) God is true to all His promises, including the protection of His
          people (13b, Genesis 12:2-3)
 
 
 
II. Applications:
    1) We can be sure that the Lord is victorious in the age-old battle of
         good and evil, God and Satan (5:14; 6:13b; Psalm 2:1-12)
 
 
 
    2) Worry has no place in the life of those who trust God’s providence
         (12a; Matthew 6:25-34; Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 28)
 
 
 
    3) We are to live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) for things
         are not as they appear (6-10; Matthew 27:32-54)
 
 
 
 
05/29/2022 (ESV)
“God’s Providential Protection of His People”
Esther 6:1-14
 
Most of you can relate to the frustration King Ahasuerus faced when he could not sleep. You toss and you turn, you look at the clock and it’s still the early hours of the morning. But the blessing of sleep just doesn't come! That is the type of night that King Ahasuerus was having. As chapter 6 begins it simply tells us, “That night the king could not sleep…”
 
It was the same night that he and Haman, his right hand-man, had attended a banquet hosted by Esther. From Esther 5:6 we know that they were drinking wine, but even having the wine and good food at Esther's banquet did not bring sleep to the king. So he did what many of you students might be tempted to do when you read your history books.  Verse 1 describes how “he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king.”
 
He probably thought that the reading of the history of his kingdom would certainly put him to sleep. And perhaps his eyelids were starting to close when verse 2 tells us, “And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. Instead of putting him to sleep, that news really woke him up! In verse 3 he asked, “What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this act?”
 
Persian kings were known for their elaborate display of thankfulness to those who had helped within their kingdom, especially if someone had spared their life as Mordecai had done. The historian, Herodotus, describes how Ahasuerus rewarded a man who saved the life of his brother by allowing him to be the governor of an entire province.
 
Because elaborate rewards were normally given, Ahasuerus was now wide awake asking what had been done for Mordecai. More than likely, he was drawing a complete blank. His life had been spared by Mordecai's action, yet what had been done?
 
His attendants answered his question by saying, “Nothing has been done for him,” and as they were speaking Haman entered the outer court of the palace. It was still in the wee hours of the morning. It would be unusual for anyone to enter the king’s palace at that time. No wonder the king asked, “Who is in the court?” His attendants answered, “Haman is there, standing in the court.”
   
Just as the king had been up all night unable to sleep, so had Haman, but for a far different reason. He had been up all night preparing the gallows, seventy-five feet high, on which to hang Mordecai. The gallows had been put in place and Haman was eager to put an end to the child of God who refused to bow before him. Yet Haman's plans would backfire completely. All his scheming, and his edict to annihilate the Jewish people, led to his own death, as well as the deaths of many others who had been ready to persecute God's people.
 
What does that teach us? One truth that is clearly taught is that God’s providence supersedes all human plans. As Psalm 33:10-11 puts it: “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.”
 
And as the Lord frustrates the plans of the peoples, in this case the plans Haman had, the Lord uses many unique means. With Jonah God used both a large fish and a tiny worm. With the widow who sustained Elijah through a great famine, the Lord used a common jar of flour and a jug of oil. But He caused them to never run out until the famine ended. In executing judgment on King Ahab the Lord used an arrow shot “at random” (1 Kings 22:34) to pierce the king – who had so cleverly disguised himself – between the sections of his armor and bring about his death.
 
In this case, with Ahasuerus, the Lord used a lack of sleep on the part of the king, even though he was well fed and had drunk his wine. The Hebrew text says that sleep fled from him. Who made it flee? It was the providence of Almighty God.
 
The Heidelberg Catechism gives a beautiful definition of God’s providence in Lord’s Day 10:  
 
             Providence is the almighty and ever-present power of God
               by which He upholds, as with His hand,
             heaven and earth and all creatures,
                   and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought,
                   fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness,
                   prosperity and poverty—
             all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from His Fatherly hand.
 
That is one truth that we see in this passage: God will use whatever means He wishes to accomplish His purposes and plans; and His purposes and plans cannot be thwarted.
 
God is Not Mocked
 
A second truth that we see unfold in this sixth chapter is a truth that the apostle Paul would write to the Galatian church about, in Galatians 6:7-8, where he warns us: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
 
Haman had sowed corruption, and corruption destroys. His corruption led to his death and to eternal damnation. And his corruption, just like your corruption and my corruption, was rooted in his heart. In verse 6 when the king asked him, “What should be done for the man whom the king is delighted to honor?”
 
Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king be delighted to honor more than me?” In the Hebrew text that phrase is “in his heart Haman thought…”
 
It is just as Jesus would later teach, in Matthew 15:19, “...Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Unless the evil that is within your heart and my heart is repented of and turned from – by the Holy Spirit’s conviction – it will lead to eternal damnation, just as it did for Haman.
 
God’s Promise of Protection
 
As we read about the remarkable turn of events caused by the king's lack of sleep, we are also reminded that God is true to all His promises, including the promise to protect His people. Haman had carefully plotted to destroy God's people. Back in chapter 3:8 he described to the king how there was a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of Persia whose customs were different from that of other people. In verse 9 of that chapter he said, “If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talents of silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business.”
 
And Esther 3:10-11 gives the king’s chilling response: “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. ‘Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.’”
 
In that passage Haman is specifically identified as “the enemy of the Jews.” The Jews of the Old Testament were the people upon whom God had lavished His special love. He had promised to deliver them from their enemies, to provide for them, and to bless them by allowing them to be the human lineage leading up to the birth of the eternal Christ in human flesh at the fullness of time. As Romans 9:4-5 puts it, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever…”
 
It was the precious people of God that Haman plotted to annihilate. It was to be a complete annihilation on a mass scale. Esther 3:13 describes the specifics of Haman's edict “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews – young and old, women and little children – on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and plunder their goods.”
   
God's people have always been the target of the evil one and those who follow him. Yet God has promised to protect His people. The promise was very clearly given way back in Genesis 12:2-3 where the Lord gave Abram this promise:
 
“I will make you into a great nation,
     and I will bless you;
 I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
   and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
   will be blessed through you.” 
 
With this in mind, we see how futile, foolish, and sinful Haman's plot was. Apparently, his wife and his advisers came to understand what Haman missed. In the second part of verse 13 Haman's wife and his advisers said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.”
 
The New Testament echoes that same truth with resounding force in the rhetorical question of Romans 8:31, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” And the answer: “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
 
  “... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”      
 
And that leads us to our first application this morning: We can be sure that the Lord is, and ever will be, victorious in the age-old battle of good and evil, God and Satan.
 
Victory in Jesus
 
The battle lines have been clearly drawn for us in this passage. In chapter 5:14, on the advice of his wife and his advisers, Haman had gallows built, 75 feet high; he planned to hang Mordecai on them in the morning.
 
Haman was an Agagite, a descendent of King Agag who was the king of the Amalekites. By contrast, Mordecai was a descendent of Saul, the first king of Israel, who had sinned by not destroying the Amalekites, as God had commanded him to do as recorded in 1 Samuel 15:3.
 
But the Lord used this unique combination of a lack of sleep, and the reading of the history books, to bring about a complete change, a stunning reversal of events, as Haman would be hung on the very gallows that he made for Mordecai.
 
The Lord God Almighty will be victorious. His reign, His rule, His will cannot be thwarted. Those who try will be thoroughly defeated, if not in this life, then in the life to come. Haman serves as an example of the futility of those who oppose God’s plans and purposes, including the protection of His people.
 
The Psalmist describes how the Lord laughs at those who would oppose Him and His people. Psalm 2:2-6:
 
...The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together against the LORD
   and against His Anointed One,
 
   “Let us break their chains” they say,
“And throw off their fetters.”
 
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
    the Lord scoffs at them.
 He rebukes them in his anger
    and terrifies them in His wrath, saying,
 “I have installed My king
    on Zion, My holy mountain.”
 
The word “terrify,” as used by the psalmist for those who oppose the Lord, certainly describes the heart of Haman as his own wife and his own advisers tell him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.”
 
Trust in God’s Providence Quells Worry
 
A second application is that worry should have no place in the life of those who trust in God and in His providence. Did you notice what Mordecai did after that ride through the city, when Haman, thoroughly humiliated, had to announce to all the people, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”
 
After that unique ride, verse 12 records that Mordecai returned to the king's gate. He did not bask in pride as Haman would have done. Instead he went back to his place at the city gate to wait upon the Lord, trusting that God's providence would yet deliver His people from destruction.
 
From his reaction we see that those who trust in the providence of God have no reason to worry. Yes, we are to make plans. There is wisdom in Ecclesiastes 11:6, “In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” We are not to be idle like those in the Thessalonian church who expected the Lord to return in their lifetime. They quit their jobs and the apostle had to remind them, “The man who does not work, shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10).
 
But even though we plan, and work, and diversify as Ecclesiastes 11:6 tells us to do, we have no place for worry. The same God who watched over and delivered Esther and Mordecai from Haman and his cruel edict is the God who watches over you and me.
 
Because of the watchful eye of our heavenly Father, Jesus spoke words of great comfort, words that all of us who believe in God's providence must take to heart. He said:
 
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”  (Matthew 6:25-26).
 
The Heidelberg Catechism, in question and answer 28, gives us the proper response to the knowledge of God's providence. It asks, “How does the knowledge of God’s creation and providence help us?”
 
Answer:
       We can be patient when things go against us,
         thankful when things go well,
         and for the future we can have
         good confidence in our faithful God and Father
         that nothing will separate us from His love.
         All creatures are so completely in His hand
              that without His will
              they can neither move nor be moved.
 
Living by Faith, Not by Sight
 
That truth leads to our third application, which is that when we have a proper understanding of the providence of God, then we are enabled to live by faith, not by sight. When we have that proper understanding of the providence of God, we realize that the events that we see around us are not necessarily as they appear.
 
We see so much evil in our world today and it is so very strong. The nations of the world are poised against the truths of Christianity. The hostility of the world is directed toward the Lord and His people. And if we just looked at what goes on in the world and in our nation, we might think that the evil one and his cohorts have the upper hand. But 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us to “walk by faith, not by sight.”
 
We realize the truth of the hymn writer, that this is our Father's world and that “though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.” Mordecai had that same assurance as he sat at the city gate. Esther, Mordecai and God's people of that day, would realize that the events around them were not as they appeared. They would come to realize that Haman and his evil plot would not prevail. The tables would be turned. God's people would be spared.
 
And throughout the history of this fallen world we celebrate that same truth. We can have calm assurance that since God reigns supreme in heaven, even when horrific events are terribly bad in this fallen world, we can walk by faith and not by sight. We see that things are not as they appear even – or especially – when we look at the greatest event in all of history.
 
The eternal Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, was led out to Mount Calvary and crucified. He had been betrayed with a kiss and condemned as guilty although He was innocent. Then, Matthew 26:67 tells us, “They spit in His face and struck Him with their fists. After blindfolding Him, “Others slapped Him and said, ‘Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit You?’” (Matt. 26:67, 68)
 
As He hung crucified between two thieves on Mount Calvary, it certainly seemed as though the devil had won, as though all those who hate God's people were victorious. Jesus Christ was crucified. But in actuality, just the opposite had happened. Matthew 27:50-51 describes how after “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit... the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.”
 
By His death and subsequent resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ defeated the devil and brought reconciliation between sinners like us and our heavenly Father. When Jesus died, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, which represents the opening of the Most Holy Place for all who believe in Jesus to enter in. By His death and by His resurrection Jesus sealed the devil's doom and opened heaven’s gate to all who by God's grace believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with true saving faith.
 
Do you believe that? Is your faith this morning placed in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation from your sins? If so, then you can rest secure knowing that your true citizenship is in heaven, and its gates are open wide for you because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can be sure that nothing can separate you from His love, not even the last enemy to be destroyed, the enemy of death.
 
And as you wait for that glorious day when you will see Jesus face to face, you can rest assured that the God who redeemed you is providentially watching over you even in the hardest trials, persecutions and heartaches of this life.
 
May these truths encourage and sustain us. In all the turmoil and sin within our world, our nation, and within ourselves, may we realize again that God is always at work behind the scenes, today, just as He was back in the days of Esther and Mordecai! Amen.
 
 
 Sermon Outline:
 
 
“If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish
 people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.”
                                                                                      Esther 6:13
 
           “God’s Providential Protection of His People”
                                        Esther 6:1-14
 
I.  This passage clearly teaches:
     1) God’s providence supersedes all human plans (Psalm 33:10-11), as
          He uses many unique means to accomplish His purposes (6:1-2;
          Jonah 1:17, 4:6-8; Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 27)
 
 
 
      2) God is not mocked; we reap what we sow (6-10; Galatians 6:7-8)         
 
 
 
 
     3) God is true to all His promises, including the protection of His
          people (13b, Genesis 12:2-3)
 
 
 
II. Applications:
    1) We can be sure that the Lord is victorious in the age-old battle of
         good and evil, God and Satan (5:14; 6:13b; Psalm 2:1-12)
 
 
 
    2) Worry has no place in the life of those who trust God’s providence
         (12a; Matthew 6:25-34; Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 28)
 
 
 
    3) We are to live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) for things
         are not as they appear (6-10; Matthew 27:32-54)
 
  
 
 
  

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright, Rev. Ted Gray

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