Esther 8:1-17

Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise God
Praise God that he is the great physician with whom all things are possible. Luke 1:37.
Acknowledge Sin
Confess our sin of not seeking, with expectant prayer, God’s healing in our lives and in the lives of others, recognizing that he does do all things for his own glory, and the good of his people. Romans 8:28.

Please ask the Holy Spirit's help as you come to his Word.
Please read Esther chapter 8:1-17
Notes prepared by Rev. Johnny McCollum, Milford RPCI.

Thursday - Esther 8:1-8 - Getting the Job Done. It worked!
The plot has been exposed; the baddie is dead; Esther has saved the day! But don't celebrate too soon: the sword is still hanging over God's people. Haman's body may be broken, but his legacy is very much intact. His holocaust remains the law of the land. Esther's job is only half done. Somehow, she and Mordecai must deal with Haman's decree. That's easier said than done. Haman may have been the architect, but the massacre was ordered in Ahasuerus' name. In the Persian Empire, the King's word is everything. So absolute is his rule that nothing can ever annul his pronouncements. Esther can't do it. Mordecai can't do it. Even the King himself can't do it! (v8; also see Daniel 6:8) Sure, Haman's got his comeuppance, but that'll be scant consolation when armed mobs kick down Jewish doors. But what's the solution? The problem seems insurmountable. Yet, if there's one thing we learn from the Book of Esther, it's that God doesn't start a job and then leave it unfinished. Whatever happens, God will see it through. But how? The answer is a surprising one. Ahasuerus doesn't come out of this chapter well. Sure, he's very fond of Esther and owes his life to Mordecai, but as for the rest of the Jews... let's just say he's not terribly concerned whether they live or die. That may seem like bad news, but in God's providence, that is exactly what the situation demanded. The King was so indifferent to the Jewish plight that he let Esther and Mordecai completely take control. He could banish the problem from his mind; they could have the blank cheque they needed. Everyone wins! The Jewish saviours could write anything they wanted, and it would be legally binding. You would think Ahasuerus would have learned from the last time, but God ensured he didn't. The true King of Kings used this folly to secure his people's deliverance. The true King gets the job done. Let Esther convince you of that.
Friday - Esther 8:9-17 - Spot the Difference.

As you read through today's passage, perhaps you thought, "I've heard this before". You're not wrong. Chapter 8 sounds suspiciously like chapter 3. Many of the sentences are reproduced almost word for word (compare 3:12-15 with 8:9-14). This isn't a case of lazy writing, though: the similarities make a serious point. By repeating himself, the writer is demonstrating that Esther's decree was to go forth with just as much force as Haman's. Haman's decree had seemed like the last word on the matter: the Jews would be destroyed, and that was that. Yet, by describing this decree in the same way, the writer is telling us that Mordecai, not Haman, would have the final say. The similarities aren't the only key thing about this passage. The differences are just as important. By using such similar language, the writer is practically begging us to play a game of spot the difference. Let's do that now. Take Mordecai, for example. When Haman's edict was unveiled, he looked a wretched sight. He wore sackcloth and ashes in order to reflect his agonizing turmoil (4:1). Passers-by would have known: this is a man who has hit rock bottom. Yet, in 8:15, Mordecai is a changed man, with a wardrobe to match. The sackcloth is gone; the resplendent royal robes are in. It couldn't be more obvious: this is a man transformed. It wasn't just Mordecai. Every Jewish home had once reverberated to a soundtrack of weeping, wailing, and despair (4:3). But not anymore! Now they were known for their gladness and joy (8:16-17). This isn't just a neat literary trick. The writer wants us to compare the bleakness of chapters 3 & 4 with the incredible joy of chapter 8. There can only be one explanation: the incredible saving work of God himself. "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise." (Psalm 30:11-12)

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 2:4-6 “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 – and raised us up with him”

Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 6 – How many persons are there in the Godhead?
Answer – There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
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