CDPCKL · The Great Reversal (Esther 7:1-8:10)

The Great Reversal (Esther 7:1-8:10)


Last week, on “Echoes of a Far-Off Country”: 

King Xerxes: “Esther, what do you want? Even up to half my kingdom, I will give it to you!” 

Queen Esther: “What do I want…hmmm, what do I want? My Lord King, what I want is to invite you and Haman to dinner — twice! — where we can get you really really drunk and then talk about what is on my mind.” 

Xerxes: “Great idea! Alcohol and a beautiful woman: these are two of my favourite things! Invitation accepted.” 

Later on…King Xerxes: “Haman, what would the man I delight to honor want? Even up to half my kingdom, I would give it to him!” 

Haman: “What do I want…hmmm, what do I want? My Lord King, I want the whole city to see that I am equal to you!” 

Xerxes: “Great idea! Do that! — for Mordecai the Jew.” 

Later on…Haman: “Honey, I’m home! You will not believe what happened to me today!” 

Zeresh, Haman’s wife: “Oh, did you get to impale Mordecai like you wanted?” 

Haman: “No! Instead the king forced me to bow down before Mordecai!” 

Zeresh: “…ohhhh, I’ve got a bad feeling about this! By the way, the guardhouse just called. The king’s limo has arrived to take you to dinner with the queen. Have fun!” 

And now we have the theme music, and: “skip intro”, *click-click* — 

[1] So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet, [2] and as they were drinking wine on the second day, the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.” 

Now, remember, Esther has been carefully building up the anticipation of this moment. She has been feeding Haman’s ego so that, when she does reveal the truth, he will be caught off-balance and unable to defend himself. She has also been feeding her husband’s ego, making it seem like she is doing a big favour for him, so that, when she does reveal the truth, he will also be caught off-balance and make a snap judgement before Haman can figure out how to defend himself. 

So [3] Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. [4] For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated.” 

Now, Esther is actually quoting directly from the edict of genocide that Haman wrote just five or six days ago. Haman’s edict gave Persian citizens the right to “destroy, kill, and annihilate” the Jewish people. And, bear in mind, this edict was sent out with the king’s seal on it: she is quoting what are supposedly the king’s own words. 

But apparently neither Haman nor Xerxes recognize these key words, that were published just a few days ago! Haman is across the table, peeling a prawn or something, no doubt trying to look shocked and concerned, “Oh? Wow, I just can even right now!” And Xerxes probably did not even bother to read what Haman wrote in the first place, so he has no idea what she is talking about! 

So Esther goes on:  If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.” 

She is suggesting that, if they were merely being sold into slavery, she would not bother the king, because the king would stand to make a very large profit from that transaction. But genocide would actually end up costing the king a lot of money: there is just no long term profit in killing a significant percentage of your workforce. 

Basically, Esther is speaking a language Xerxes understands. First, she makes it personal: someone is trying to attack Xerxes by attacking his favourite wife. Second, she makes it financial: someone is trying to attack Xerxes by attacking his bank account! 

And Esther’s message gets through: 

[5] King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?” 

[6] Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!” 

Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. 

But then the king does something very strange: he [7] got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. 

Why? It is not as if Xerxes is thinking, “Oh, I’d better calm down for a minute so I can make a rational decision.” He has already made his decision: he is going to destroy Haman! 

So why did the king leave the room? 

Because the king is trying to figure out how to save face. 

Remember, during last week’s episode, we realized Esther had a very delicate task ahead of her: she needed the king to realize that he has been a gullible fool for trusting Haman, and then make a snap-judgement on the matter — instead of becoming defensive and trying to insist that he was not a gullible fool. 

Well, the king leaving the room proves that she has just accomplished her goal: the king knows he has been a gullible fool, and he has already made his snap-judgement. 

But now he has another problem: how can he execute Haman without admitting publically that he has been a gullible fool? This is the same problem he faced in the pilot episode, after his Queen Vashti made a fool out of him: he immediately called in his seven “wise” men to help him figure out how to save face — and they actually made things worse, if you recall. 

This is what Xerxes is doing out in the garden: he is thinking, “What do I want…hmmm, what do I want? I want to destroy Haman without having to admit I was wrong in the first place…” 

Meanwhile, Haman also has a problem. He knows the king has already made a snap-decision to destroy him. So Haman tries to solve his problem by staying behind to beg Queen Esther for his life. 

Which was his first mistake. The social rules of Persia allowed Haman to be in the same room with Esther, as long as the king was also present. When the king left, Haman should have left. 

But what else can Haman do? Following the king out into the garden would also be a mistake! He is damned if he stays, and he is damned if he goes — ! 

Haman has finally arrived at the kind of crisis point we have been discussing for the last two episodes: his pride and self-serving sins have driven him into a corner where his only choices now are death, or death, the same kind of crisis point Esther faced two episodes ago. 

The big difference between Esther and Haman is how they responded: Esther essentially accepted the inevitability of her death and threw herself on God’s mercy for the sake of her people. But Haman does not accept the inevitability of his death, and he throws himself on Esther’s mercy for the sake of himself. 

And mistake number one leads directly to mistake number two. The social rules of Persia allowed Haman to be in the same room with Esther, but they also required that he practice a “social distance” of seven steps. 

Well [8] just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. 

And we will never know what silly solution Xerxes thought up to save his face, because — “coincidentally” — Haman’s attempted solution to his own problem also turns out to be the perfect solution to Xerxes’ problem: 

The king exclaimed, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”

Now, does Xerxes really believe that Haman was going to molest his queen in a room full of eunuchs and table waiters and other attendants? Of course not! But this is just too convenient of an excuse to pass up. 

We can imagine the press conference afterwards: “King Xerxes, is it true that you executed Haman because he manipulated you into trying to kill your own queen, and doesn’t that prove that you are a gullible fool?” 

Xerxes: “…what? No! I executed Haman because he tried to molest my queen while she was with me in the house! Somebody impale that reporter for me.” 

Well, as soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they — the attendants who were present in the room the whole time — covered Haman’s face, signifying that he is already dead. 

And now we find out just how disliked Haman is. Remember how, when Haman was first introduced, Xerxes had to command everyone to bow down to him? That’s because Haman was corrupt, and everybody knew it, and nobody was going to voluntarily bow down to him unless the king forced them to. 

Well, [9] Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, realizes that the rule about bowing down to Haman is about to be over-written by a very different rule. So he says, “umm, your Royal Highness, Sire, I don’t know if this piece of information would be helpful to you, but, umm, a few of us have noticed that a pole reaching to a height of twenty meters stands by Haman’s house. It seems he had it set up for Mordecai. You remember Mordecai? Your very good friend, the guy who saved your Royal Highness from assassins some time ago?” 

Did Harbona have to point this out? No, he really did not. But this was Harbona’s revenge for years of tyranny under Haman’s rule, and I am sure he spoke for all the attendants there. 

The king said, “Impale him on it!” [10] So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided. 

[1] That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had finally told how he was related to her. [2] The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate. 

And this must have been a total shock to Mordecai! 

Look at all these events from his perspective: the last time he talked to Esther, she said, “tell everyone to fast for three days, and then we’ll see how.” So he fasts for three days, then gets dressed and goes back to work in the dewan bandaraya. Maybe he saw Esther go past on her way to confront the king, maybe not. Either way, he does not know if she survived the experience. 

Then, a little while later, Haman comes out looking very pleased with himself, and that cannot be good, right? So Mordecai refuses to rise or bow down. And when the working day is over he goes home, he eats dinner, he goes to bed, and still no news from the palace: is Esther alive or dead? Surely if she had been executed, the news would have gone out all over the city — but is no news good news? 

So in the morning Mordecai goes back to work, he is just getting started with his day when suddenly Haman arrives at Mordecai’s desk and says, “The Almighty King Xerxes may-he-live-forever has commanded me to reward you for saving his life from assassins five years ago.” Haman dresses him in the king’s robe, puts him on the king’s horse, leads him throughout the city, announcing, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!” — and then drops Mordecai off back at work again as if nothing happened. 

And Mordecai has to have been completely confused! What in the world is going on? And what about Esther: is she alive or dead? 

But what can he do? So when the working day is over he goes home, he eats dinner, he goes to bed — 

And in the morning he wakes up to see the Prime Minister impaled and twitching on a pole taller than the tallest building in the city. Soooo…that is interesting. Did I miss an election or something? Does this mean the opposition won, or the ruling coalition? No answers, only rumors. So Mordecai goes to work, he sits down at his desk, and then he is summoned into the royal presence, where he finds out that, 1. Esther is still alive; 2. he is now the manager of Haman’s estate, and 3. he is also the new Prime Minister. 

Okay then! 

And at this point, as far as King Xerxes is concerned, the crisis has been dealt with: his queen is safe, his reputation is safe, even his bank account is safe! In fact, he actually made money on this deal, because by executing Haman, Xerxes was able to confiscate Haman’s entire estate and then give it to his queen — so now he looks hugely generous while also keeping all that money in the family. 

So imagine Xerxes’ surprise when his queen again shows up in his throne room unannounced, only this time she throws herself at his feet, weeping and wailing and talking incoherently about the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, and how the king needs to put an end to it. So the king again extends the gold scepter to Esther, he is thinking, “What evil plot? Haman is dead and I am wealthier than ever! What in the world is she fussing about?” 

[5] “If it pleases the king,” Esther says, after she gets a hold of herself, “and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces. [6] For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?” 

[7] King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Hang on a second here: because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have impaled him on the pole he set up. That is all I’ve got for you, babe. That’s really as far as I can go! because — have you forgotten? — no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked! I cannot overrule the dispatches that Haman wrote to destroy the Jews! What you ask is impossible, okay? So just go away and enjoy Haman’s wealth, enjoy the sight of his body on display for the whole city to see. Do not bother me anymore with this!

“…okay. Okay, fine! You know what? [8] Now you guys write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring. Do whatever you want, pass whatever law you want, I don’t care! Just as long as you do not contradict any previous law or make me lose face. Is it a deal? Will you stop crying now? Please…please stop crying…” 

[9] At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan — in other words, ten weeks have passed. And the secretaries wrote out all Mordecai’s orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from Pakistan to Africa. These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language. [10] Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king. 

But what did Mordecai write? What kind of new law did he pass that can counter-act Haman’s law of genocide? Come back next week and we will find out together. 

In the meantime, however: this sounds great, doesn’t it! The wheel of fate has turned, carrying Haman down into death, lifting Esther and Mordecai up into life and power! 

but actually this only sounds great to us because we are on Esther and Mordecai’s side. If the situation was reversed, and Xerxes was giving some other random guy the power to write whatever law he wants, we would call that a terrible injustice, wouldn’t we? 

And that is, really, the point the writer is making. He is showing us that Xerxes is repeating the exact same mistake he made with Haman: he is letting his Prime Minister write a new law without any oversight, without any accountability! 

This is corrupt government at its worst. Xerxes has learned nothing. He is proving, by his actions, that he is still a gullible fool. He still believes, as he did in the pilot episode, that a crisis caused by the careless abuse of power can be resolved by a further careless abuse of power. 


And now the music plays, the credits roll, ”next episode in 3…2” *click* 

And we want to know what this means! What are we supposed to learn from this episode, how are we supposed to respond to all this? 

Well, our application this week is going to continue to build on our application from last week, just as last week’s application expanded on the week before. 

Two episodes ago we learned that God works through rebellious human free will to lead people into crisis, so they will wake up and see that salvation can only come from submitting their free will to God’s. And our application for that week focused on how to recognize a God-given crisis and how to respond with repentance and faith. 

Then last week we learned that God also works through random circumstances, “coincidences”, so that people can understand God’s will by studying those circumstances and interpreting them through God’s Word. And our application focused on how to discern God’s will on a more daily, detailed level: who should I marry, where should I live and work, that sort of thing. 

Well, this week we learned that God also works through redeemed human free will. He works through rebellious human free will to save his people from death; he works through circumstances to save his people from death; but he ultimately works through redeemed human free will to save his people from death. 

But — and this is important! — God does not work here through just any random redeemed human free will, he works through one particular redeemed human free will: he works through Esther the Queen. 

And this is important because, when we hear that God does work through redeemed human free will, our first temptation is to say, “Ah ha! I knew God needed me to accomplish his will on earth!” And my first temptation as a preacher is to say, “come on everybody! Exercise your free will like Esther! Stand up against tyranny like Esther! Get God’s enemies impaled like Esther!” But that is not the lesson of this passage, that is not God’s application for his people here. 

This is God’s application: since he works to save his people from death through one particular redeemed human free will, if you want to be saved from death make sure you are identified with that redeemed human being! 

And in this episode, Esther is that redeemed human being. She is the messiah — the saviour — of this story. 

Remember how, two episodes ago, Esther experienced a crisis that opened her eyes to the reality of her sins, her father’s sins, her people’s sins, and how close they were to judgement and death? At that point she realized that her only chance to live was to let go of her life, and hand it over to the God she had been sinning against. At that point she began to voluntarily cooperate with God’s plan: she gave up all her power as a Persian Queen and chose to enter into death. 

And from a literary perspective, that is what happened last week when she walked into the king’s throne-room: she died. Last week’s episode was basically the story of Esther’s death and burial at the hands of an evil king who was also her husband, the man who had kidnaped her into sexual slavery — a slavery that she had also voluntarily participated in up to that point, hoping that her participation might save her life; a slavery that she could only escape from by dying. 

So basically, by trusting her life completely to God and submitting to death at Xerxes’ hands last week, she actually escaped from the power of her evil husband forever! 

But she did not remain dead. If last week’s episode was the story of Esther’s death, this week’s episode was the story of Esther’s resurrection. God rewarded her submission by raising her back to life again, and giving her power over the evil king who had once ruled her and brought her down to death. By giving up her earthly power and becoming obedient to death, she proved that she is worthy to receive God’s resurrection power. 

And that was the great turning point today: that moment when she revealed her true identity as a Jew was also the moment when she truly became Queen over God’s people. 

And what did Esther do with the resurrection power God had given her? She started by crushing the head of the conspiracy, Haman, thus making sure that justice would be done. Then she passed her resurrection power on to her cousin, her adoptive father Mordecai, empowering him to make sure that the rest of God’s children would be saved from death. 

And as I have already said, we will see how he did that next week, and what that means for us. 

In short: the moment Esther identified herself with the Jewish people today, she accepted their condemnation, she entered into death alongside them. But because she was a faithful queen, God raised her up from death. Which means that, now, if the Jews of the Persian empire want to be saved from genocide, all they have to do is identify themselves with Esther. 

Let me say that again: when Esther identified herself with God’s people, she took their death upon herself. But when God’s people began to identify themselves with Esther, they received her life in return. 

Now, if you are here today and you have been a Christian for a while, you might be thinking to yourself, “Hey! This story sounds very familiar! Isn’t this a lot like what Jesus did? Didn’t he also give up his high position and become a human being with human free will? Didn’t he use that human free will to trust his life completely to God his Father? Didn’t his Father allow him to descend into death and burial at the hands of an evil king — and then raise him back to life and give him back the power that he had given up? And didn’t Jesus use that resurrection power to first crush the head of the conspiracy, Satan, thus making sure justice would be done? And didn’t he then pass his resurrection power on to his disciples, his bride — his Church — empowering her to make sure that the rest of God’s children would be saved from death? 

Brothers and sisters, if that is what you are thinking, then you are right! Esther’s voluntary descent into death for the sake of her people, and her resurrection to royal power by the will of God is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ ministry as God’s Messiah 500 years later! 

So what is our application for today? Is God telling us to be Esther, to be the Messiah, to be the redeemed human free will that saves God’s people? No! That is impossible for us! Are you a king or a queen? Am I? Not at all! We are the Mordecais in this story, we are the helpless Jewish people who have been condemned to death by the evil, incompetent powers of this world. We are the ones who need a Messiah. 

God is not calling us to be our own messiahs, he is calling us to make sure we are identified with The Messiah. For the people in the Book of Esther this meant making sure they are identified with Esther. In our age this means making sure we are identified with Jesus Christ, the crucified and resurrected Son of God, the one who has been crowned King over all the universe! 

So let’s get practical, now: if you are here today, and you are not a baptized Christian, or if you think you are a Christian but you have not yet had the courage to identify yourself with Jesus and with Jesus’ people, then this is your application: join yourself to Jesus now. Be counted among Jesus’ people. 

Listen, this is how it works: Jesus has already identified himself with you by becoming a human being. He accepted your condemnation, he entered into death alongside you. But because of his perfect submission, God raised him up from death and gave him life. Which means that, now, if you want to be saved from death, all you have to do is identify yourself with Jesus and you will receive his life in return. 

But the opposite is also true: if you refuse to identify yourself with Jesus, then you will receive Haman’s death. If you never come to realize that your only chance to live is to give up your life to God…well, one day, the life you refused to let go of will be taken from you. You will be impaled, hung on a spiritual tree, you will pay for your refusal to identify with God’s Messiah and God’s people. 

And, listen, I understand that this warning might sound completely unbelievable to you. You might be sitting here thinking, “What nonsense is this? I am a good person, I have a good career, I have friends and children, I am a citizen in good standing in this great nation, what could go wrong?” Please, allow me to remind you that, last week, Haman thought the same. He too thought he was a good person, secure in all his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and elevated him. But he lost it all in the time it took Esther to speak three words: “This vile Haman! 

Friend, your situation apart from Jesus Christ is just as precarious as Haman’s. You can — you will — lose everything in an instant. 

And, if you are paying attention to the circumstances of your life, then you actually already know this. You already know how insecure your position really is. The signs of your impending doom are gathering around you even now, just as they did with Haman. 

Remember how, last week, Haman covered his own head in humiliation as he ran home crying? That moment was a little something that literary nerds like to call “foreshadowing” — and that foreshadowing was fulfilled today when Haman’s face was covered for him, for the last time, the final humiliation of judgement and death. If he had been listening to those circumstances — if he had listened to his wife, and if his wife had known how to preach the true Gospel! — Haman would have heard God speaking to him, warning him, calling him to repent before his temporary humiliation became permanent. 

Well, God is speaking to you in the same way. Those anxieties that come whispering to you in the wakeful hours of the night, those nagging reminders of failure and regret that make you want to cover your head and scream, “Stop it! Stop it!” — those whispers are the voice of God calling you to give up and give everything over to him. He is warning you that, if you do not truly internalise those humiliations and turn to him alone for salvation, one day your humiliations will become permanent. 

Look, friend: I know the powers and cultures of our world look stable and all-powerful, and that is why you have put your faith in them. I know Jesus’ Church looks unstable and weak in comparison, and that is why you are ultimately unwilling to stand up and be counted among us. But the Book of Esther has been showing us from the beginning that appearances are deceiving, that even the greatest empires on earth are ruled by incompetent, gullible fools, men and women who are easily manipulated by their casual appetites, men and women who refuse to learn from the lessons of the past. So are you sure you really want to keep on living in loyalty to kings like Xerxes, who care about nothing but themselves? I promise you that, if you do not rethink your strategy, one day the system you thought you could manipulate for your own benefit will suddenly turn against you. In your terror you are going to throw yourself upon Jesus’ couch to beg for mercy! — but it will be too late. 

So, come, identify yourself with Jesus, God’s only Messiah, and you will be saved. Join Jesus’ kingdom and discover what a real King is like — the only king who cannot be fooled or manipulated by evil men, the only king who descended from heaven to identify with you in your death so that you might identify with him and and gain life. 

But what about the rest of us, who have already been baptized into Jesus’ family, what is our practical application for today? 

Well, let’s see: we have learned that God uses even our sins to accomplish his will in this world — and that is very encouraging! We have also learned that God continues to speak to us through our circumstances interpreted through his Word — and that is also very encouraging. This week we have learned that Jesus has given us his resurrection power, just as Esther gave her power to Mordecai — and that is tremendously encouraging! 

Now, what are we supposed to do with this immense power we have been given? Again — sorry — we are going to be talking about that in more detail next week. 

But we can at least start, today, with this: Jesus Christ identified with us, and through our baptism we have been identified with him. But obviously the process does not stop there. Jesus Christ acted for our salvation, so now we respond by acting for his glory. We are called to…activate our baptism, activate our identity with Christ, through what we do in this life. In other words: it is our actions in this life that actually confirm and prove our identity in Christ. 

So now — building on the things we have learned earlier in the series — what we find is that there is actually a self-reinforcing feedback loop that begins to happen in our Christian lives: discovering that Jesus identified with us because he loves us begins to relieve us of our insecurities, which then sets us free to identify with Jesus in return; when we identify with Jesus we begin to act for his glory, and those actions feed back into the cycle by reassuring us that our true identity is in Christ, that he has truly identified himself with us; and that reassurance relieves us of even deeper insecurities; which sets us even more free to identify even more deeply with Jesus, which transforms our actions even more, which reassures us even more…and on it goes. 

And so, in this way, we are also supposed to realize that God does also save his people from death through our individual redeemed human free wills. The particular work of salvation that God began through the redeemed human free will of Jesus Christ has been passed on to us, so that now we share in Jesus’ redeemed human free will. So, while it is not appropriate for us to say to one another “Be Esther, be Jesus!” it is appropriate for us to say, “Be like Esther, be like Jesus.” As Christians, we have already realized that our only chance to live is to let go of our lives and hand them over to God. But learning how to die to ourselves in our daily lives…that requires a lifetime of steady community discipline! 

And, again, we are going to talk a lot more about this next week, but let this be is our practical application for today: let us all make sure we are building a community that is dedicated to helping one another die to ourselves. Last week we learned that discovering God’s will for our lives requires a committed, godly community. Now we are learning that acting upon God’s will for our lives also requires a committed, godly community. So let us all allow ourselves to be convinced now of our need for godly Christian community! We are going to need one another during the tribulations to come. 

— but, again, more on that next week. 


Let’s close with this promise, this Good News: the signs of our impending glory are actually gathering around us even now, just as they did with Mordecai. 

Remember how, last week, Mordecai was suddenly lifted up from his low position and treated like a king for a day? That was also that little something literary nerds like to call “foreshadowing” — and it was also fulfilled today when Mordecai was lifted up for the last time, the final permanent glory of vindication and life for him. 

If Mordecai had been paying attention last week, he could have heard God’s voice speaking to him in that circumstance. Last week Haman’s wife Zeresh interpreted Haman’s temporary humiliation through God’s Word and realized that, since Haman is descended from the Agagites, and since God had cursed the Agagites 1000 years earlier, therefore it was inevitable that Haman’s humiliation would become permanent. In the same way, Mordecai could have interpreted his own temporary promotion through God’s Word, and realized that, since he is descended from the Israelites, and since God had promised to bless the Israelites 1000 years earlier, therefore it was inevitable that Mordecai and his people would soon be lifted up to the highest place. 

So we do not know when, exactly, Mordecai’s faith in God’s promises was restored. But the writer gives us one small hint that Mordecai has now become a gospel preacher in his own right, and that hint is found in verse 9, when Mordecai publishes his new law of life for the Jewish people on the twenty-third day of the third month — exactly 70 days after Haman published his law of death. 

What could this mean? 

Well, originally, the Jewish people were supposed to be in exile for 70 years: there was going to be a 70 year gap between God’s judgement upon his people, and his deliverance. If you remember from earlier in this series, the 70 years have passed, God’s deliverance is well underway. But most of the Jewish people — Mordecai included — have not bothered to let God deliver them, they have not migrated back home to Jerusalem like they should have. 

The timing of Mordecai’s new law of life is a subtle reminder to all of God’s people that God’s promises do not change: he has promised to deliver them at just the right time, and that deliverance has begun now, today. On the 13th day of the twelfth month, Haman’s law of death will be activated, and nobody knows yet what the exact result is going to be. But God’s people can be confident that, no matter what happens on that day, they have actually already been saved by Mordecai’s law of life. 

We have the same promise. Like Esther’s people here, we are waiting for Judgement Day. We do not know exactly how all that is going to turn out — all of the twists and turns and tribulations that might be waiting for us. But we do know this for certain:  even now, even today, through Christ Jesus the law of life has already set us free from the law of sin and death. 

So, as Jesus always used to say to his disciples: “Fear not!”

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