Esther 5 & 6

Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise God
Praise God for the blessings of the Sabbath Day, for the privilege of public worship and rest. Thank God that, even with the current restrictions, we can still gather together to worship him.  Praise God that there is a King in heaven; a risen glorified man who is ruling over all creation today, for his glory and our good.
Acknowledge Sin
Confess the sin of not fully appreciating just what God has given us in the Lord’s Day, and not always owning and delighting in it as we should.

Please ask the Holy Spirit's help as you come to his Word.
Please read Esther chapters 5 & 6.
Notes prepared by Rev. Johnny McCollum, Milford RPCI.

Esther 5:14 - 6:3. The Revelation Is Stunning.
Years before (Esther 2:19-23), Mordecai saved the King's life. The man Haman plans to murder is a national treasure. What a bombshell! The timing is perfect. If Mordecai's heroism came to light any later, he would already be dead. If it had been revealed sooner, his faithful service might have been forgotten by the time Haman put his plan in motion. It's remarkable that Mordecai wasn't rewarded at the time. If Ahasuerus wanted to survive the next assassination attempt, it would have been prudent to honour the man who saved his life. It's baffling that he didn't. Perhaps Mordecai had felt frustrated that his service was not recognized in the way it should have been. Yet, if he had received his reward in chapter 2, the wicked Haman would not have been so spectacularly thwarted. Coincidence? I think not. Who could have masterminded this October surprise?
Friday - Esther 6:1-3. For The Want Of A Nail.
"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost…" Perhaps you've heard that old adage. Its point is that one seemingly insignificant detail can have truly epic consequences. "…For want of a horse, the rider was lost. For want of a rider, the message was lost…" Esther is a book of epic consequences. The very existence of the Jewish race was at stake. More than that, the covenant that God had made with his people was in the balance: if Haman's holocaust was successful, the covenant promises would be blown to pieces. "…For want of a message, the battle was lost…" And the consequences don't stop there. God's greatest promise was that a descendant of the Jewish race would come to deliver his chosen people throughout the world. Salvation itself was dangling by a thread. No Jewish people, no Messiah. It couldn't be more simple. "…For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail!" Not only is Esther a book of epic consequences, but it's also a book of horseshoe nails. Its pages are full of tiny, seemingly insignificant details that transform the course of history. Take this passage, for example. What if the King's pillow had been a little softer? What if the Susa air had been a little less balmy that night? What if Ahasuerus had chosen one of the other distractions at a royal insomniac's disposal? He could have had food; he could have had music; he could have had girls. The chronicles might never have been opened. And as for his bedtime story, what if his scribe had turned to a different page? A horseshoe nail can make all the difference! Yet, this story trains us to read between the lines. There is a God who is sovereign over all of history: over kingdoms and battles, horseshoes and nails. This is the God who delivers his people. He's still in control, and he's still building his kingdom.
Esther 6:4-12.  Pride Goes Before Destruction.
"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18) Could there be a better illustration of this proverb than the Persian Empire's most prominent Agagite? Hubristic Haman had spent years nurturing his idol of self-importance; that very idol was about to chew him up and spit him out. Try as hard as you can to visualize this scene while standing in Haman's shoes. You walk to the palace with a smile on your face. You've got everything you've ever dreamed of: power, influence, and an outstanding reputation. Well, almost everything. There is one bothersome fly in the ointment, but he's about to be swatted once and for all. Life is good! But, there's no time to bask in your achievements. First of all, there's important business to attend to - it's time for revenge. All you need is for Ahasuerus to rubber-stamp the death warrant. The King's awake, and he wants to talk. You rub your hands with glee! Mordecai is toast. But first, the King has something on his mind. He wants to honour a very special man. You get butterflies in your stomach, and your heart skips a beat. You've spent so many years polishing your ego… he's obviously talking about you. So, your imagination runs wild. The parade! The robes! The horse! The crowds! You've made it now! But stop! Stop imagining this scene from Haman's eyes; let the camera of your imagination fix on this villain's face. He's so sickeningly smug, like the cat that got the cream. But wait for it: that smile is about to be wiped off his face. "The parade… is for… Mordecai?! And I'm to… announce HIS greatness?" Haman was looking forward to a feast; instead, he was served humble pie. Pride goes before destruction. So it is with every rebel who takes a stand against the true King of Kings. It may not be now; it may not be soon. But the Lord Jesus will bring them low (Psalm 2:9).
Saturday - Esther 6:13. Zeresh: The Broken Clock.
One of my favourite sayings is "a broken clock is right twice a day". It's a recognition that even those who are most foolish sometimes get it right. Allow me to introduce Zeresh, the broken clock. Zeresh was a fool. The enormous gallows was her idea (5:14). She got swept up in Haman's temper tantrum and gave some truly brainless advice. Haman would pay dearly for listening to this folly. Yet, her second line couldn't be more different from the first. Her words weren't foolish but perceptive. She offered wisdom to be heeded, not idiocy to be ignored. Zeresh could see which way the wind was blowing. Mordecai should have been no match for the money, fame, and influence of the master manipulator. The vultures should have been circling over Mordecai's lifeless corpse. Yet, inexplicably, they weren't. In the blink of an eye, Mordecai became "the man whom the king delights to honour" as Haman found himself on the outside looking in. Zeresh could read between the lines. The Book of Esther trains us to do the same. This sudden reversal couldn't be explained by fortune or blind luck. It couldn't be explained by genius on Mordecai's part or even sloppiness on Haman's. There could only be one explanation… Mordecai was a Jew! Mordecai's Jewishness made all the difference. Did Zeresh have a solid grasp of Jewish theology? Probably not. Yet she could see what others could not: you pick a fight with the covenant people; you pick a fight with the God of the covenant. There was no way Haman could win! Yet, all was not lost. Scripture shows us again and again that there is hope for those who rebel against God. The one who delivers his people also extends the offer of mercy to his enemies. Had Haman shown more wisdom, he would have given up his plot and cried out for forgiveness. It was probably too late for Haman. It's not too late for you. Do you need to plead for the mercy of Christ?

Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 68B. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.

Memory Verse.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word. 
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved –”

Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 4 – What is God?
Answer – God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom,
power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
This is taken from where you will find proof texts.

Thank God for whatever is on your heart.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC