Bible Studies in the Book of Esther
Esther Chapter 6: The sleepless king and the providence of God
by I Gordon
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, the first in my heart,
Sovereign of Heaven, my treasure Thou art.
High King of heaven, Thou heaven's bright Sun
Grant be its joys after victory is won
Great heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be Thou my vision, O Ruler of all.
 ↩ McGee writes: 'This night that the king could not sleep was the most eventful night in the history of the empire because it is the turning point in the Book of Esther. Have you noticed that God uses the little things to carry out His program? Years before in Egypt God brought together a woman's heart and a baby's cry when Pharaoh's daughter found the baby Moses in the Nile River. By this He changed the destiny of the nation... On this particular night the servants just happened to turn to a certain place in the minutes. Did I say happened to turn? Little things are beginning to pile up and reveal God's hand in the glove of human circumstances. God is moving. He is overruling. It was no accident that Esther became queen. It was no accident that she presented herself to the king and found favor in his sight. It was no accident that he accepted her invitation to a banquet. Now he is unable to sleep, and it is no accident that the servant began to read at a certain place.'
 ↩ This itself is amazing in the natural and shows the hand of God again. History records that the Persian kings were meticulous in their records. The king up until this stage had reigned for 12 years. Anything during that time could have been read out. And what is read? Well, something that will have HUGE implications for what was about to transpire that very day. It is for this reason that J. G Bellet (as quoted in the Believers Bible Commentary) writes of '. . the wonderful interweaving of circumstances which we get in this history. There is plot and underplot, "wheels within wheels," circumstances hanging upon circumstances, all formed together to work out the wonderful plans of God.'
 ↩ Just as a side note, I like the fact that Mordecai didn't bring up his good deed or ask for a reward at all. He did what he needed to do and left it at that. And do you know what? His deed was recorded in a book and at the appropriate time he was well rewarded (as we shall see). The thing I like about this is that it is the same for us. We don't need to make a big deal concerning what we do. It doesn't matter if nobody else knows about it. God does, and he is a documenter. Everything is written in His books and every true deed will be rewarded on the day when the books are opened. Check out this great passage from Malachi 3:16-17: 'Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. "They will be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him." '
 ↩ It is normally quite easy to see the hand of God in some good things that have happened in your life. What about the not so good things? I had an accident a few years ago that split my left eye open and I permanently lost all sight in that eye. I have no doubt that God allowed this to happen. I'm not saying he caused it but He certainly allowed it so His hand was still in it. The fact is that when it comes to believing that God is working things out for our good, we need to accept that He does this with all things. That doesn't make all things 'good'. This world has so many injustices and sinful things that sometimes happen even to God's strongest followers. Not all things are good in and of themselves. But God can and does work all things for our good.
 ↩ This is probably seen best in those that are very 'religious' - both in Jesus' day and our own. Jesus' day had the Pharisees whose love of the limelight and their own honour inspired the following words of Jesus:
Matt 6:1-5 'Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.'
The Pharisees may not exist today but their spirit certainly does. Do us both a favour... don't seek your own honour and praise please!
 ↩ Just continuing this theme, in this life we should 'be devoted to one another in brotherly love' and 'Honour one another above ourselves.' (Rom 12:10) Now and in eternity we should obviously honour Jesus for 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.' (Rev 5:12-13)
But as you go through different hard experiences in this life and serve the Lord faithfully, rest assured that you too will be honoured at the return of Jesus. 'These (trials) have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Pet 1:7) As Jesus said 'My Father will honour the one who serves me.' (John 12:26) and as Paul noted 'each will receive his praise from God.' (1 Cor 4:5)
 ↩ But God is honoured to be called the God of those that can, through faith, see that which is still to come. And through seeing what is to come, live today in the view of eternity. As it says in Hebrews of the ancient men of renowned - ' All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)