Esther: Day 3

Haman Plans to Kill the Jews


Today's Text: Esther 3:1-15, Psalm 68:20, Proverbs 16:33

Scripture Reading: Esther 3:1-15, Psalm 68:20, Proverbs 16:33

At times, my life can feel like one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books I used to read back in the fourth grade. I find myself at a fork in the road, worrying that if I make the wrong choice the plot will be ruined, the protagonist (i.e. me) won’t be rescued, and my story won’t ever be worth reading.

But the Bible is a different kind of book. God’s Word is uniquely able to lift my eyes off of the decisions that paralyze me, and instead refocus them on the “author and perfecter” of my story, and of your story, too—of the bigger story that has already been written (Hebrews 12:2).

Here in the book of Esther, the storyline of God’s people takes a desperate turn. Fueled by ego, power, and a desire for revenge, Haman is “filled with fury” (Esther 3:5) and plots the genocide of the Jews. He’d already decided to destroy the Jews, but he waited to show his hand until the “signs”—the casting of lots (v.7)—seemed to confirm that this was more than vindication, that it was a divine assignment.

Casting lots looked much like rolling a pair of dice, and was often used as a way of seeking divine guidance. Joshua cast lots to divide up the promised land among the tribes of Israel (Joshua 18:6). The apostles cast lots to find Judas’s replacement (Acts 1:26). Here, King Ahasuerus’s officials cast lots in his court, and Haman tasks himself with interpreting them.

On the day Haman chose to move forward, an edict of death was signed and delivered throughout the land, seemingly sealing the doom of God’s people. But their story isn’t determined by a single decision or a lone madman. Our lives are not a Choose Your Own Adventure book where we sink or swim, survive or die, based solely on our ability to make the right choice.

God’s people would be spared, not because they did everything right and Haman did everything wrong. The edict of death would be repealed, not because Haman didn’t have the power to enforce it—he did—but because there is a stronger hand writing the story.

There is no rolling the dice with the sovereignty of God.The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD” (Proverbs 16:33). His plans cannot be thwarted. His story cannot be edited. His people cannot be ripped from His loving hand.

The story God writes in Esther ultimately points to Jesus. Again, wicked rulers, high on power and poisoned by jealousy, sought to destroy God’s Chosen. Again, the government officials issued decrees that seemed to seal a deal with darkness. Only this time, the edict was not repealed. Christ was killed for our benefit. And once again, the lots were cast:

And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take (Mark 15:24).

God is sovereign, capable of having His way in our lives and in our history books. While Roman soldiers cast lots to divide up Jesus’ bloody robe, He was already at work making all things new. No man can stop Him. No plot can take Him out. In His sovereignty, He rescued the Jews from Haman’s hatred, just as He rescued us from our sin. Truly, “Our God is a God of salvation” (Psalm 68:20).

SRT-Esther-instagram Day3

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

  • Jessica Hill

    This is so reassuring in so many ways. The biggest right now is that I’m at a fork in the road with my career and we are praying about what to do. What direction do I go? What’s best for my family? What’s best for me?

    It’s so hard to know. To leave comfort and stability for something new and different, but it’s also so wonderful to be reminded and know that God has his hand in this situation.

    • Desi Deary

      Thanks for sharing! We are in a similar place- both my husband and I looking for different jobs… and telling ourselves that God is our faithful provider.

  • Elizabeth Pearce

    This is so timely for me ❤️

  • Lindsey Greene

    I have a hard time making decisions and it put me a little at ease to be reminded that no matter my decision God will always be with me and always love me!

    • Lisa Scata

      Yes! Totally agree. Also – He will always redeem our situation/circumstances. No matter what our choices may be, God continues to delight in us as we present ourselves humbly before Him and rest in the promise of His unfailing love. Blessed assurance is awesome!

  • Nicole Tardif

    I am the worst at making decisions. You can pretty much ask anyone around me. I’m the most indescisive person. I pray when it comes to the really hard choices that require a lot of guidance and understanding. When I’m torn between what to do I know God has his way of showing me his answer sooner or later. I’m so thankful for that. God has his hand in everything I do because he wants the best for me!

    • Nicole Tardif

      Also, I played Esther in my school play ages ago. I knew the story but never really completely understood in what way God was working through her. So incredible how God uses people for not only small things but huge things as well.

  • Tanyah Hope

    Well. My post uploaded before I finished lol. Anything I’m still undecided about my career in a lot of ways. Am I still in a direction of wanting to be a artist who does projects or a artist who creates projects and not afraid of taking initiative? I’m unsure of a lot of things in my life, but I’ll leave it all to God to decide. He has a plan!

  • Tanyah Hope

    I like that saying. I am in the midst of career moves, personal moves, deciding to get a car or

  • Melissa Willoughby

    I love this! Feel free to checkout my blog about Jesus when you have a moment. Includes my personal testimony and many other things… Maybe we can connect via WordPress if you have one.

  • Sydney Belcher

    His plan y’all!!! Seeing his work in the details is amazing!

  • Brandi Nicole

    It is so easy to cast our own lots! I am in the midst of making many life changing decisions through my engagement and possible change of location and jobs. This study is opening my heart and eyes to God’s plan and not my own! Fellow readers of truth! Please keep me in your prayers during this time of transition to feel God’s guiding hand

  • Courtney Moyer

    Verse 3-4 stands out in this passage. How often is my decision questioned by an “outsider” (someone other than immediate family) looking at my situation? They question is to allow me the opportunity to rethink my choices. Had Mordecai been intimadated by the posed question, the whole story would have shifted. Then the officers go tell Haman to determine if Mordecai behavior is acceptable. Doesn’t this happen within our (womens) daily circles, the gossip? This is the part that cause us to become uncomfortable and possibly shift away from what we know to be Truth lacking confidence that His plans cannot be thwarted or edited. There will always be “royal officers” at the gate of circumstances to manipulate decisions. Be strong and Courageous in decision the Holy Spirit guides you to walk through.

  • Michelle Getz

    I have been truly struggling with making life changing decisions right now. God has always been so clear on what he wants me to do and now he is saying I could do either and He will always be with me. I am terrible at making decisions on my own! Ask my husband. This study has made things so clear. I have always loved the story of Esther, but I always saw it as a story of bravery and courage. Now I see it in the light of God’s hand in every part of a story and it’s so beautiful to me.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Michelle, we’re praying for encouragement and peace during this time for you. So grateful that you’re here! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • Whit Halvorson

    This is so true- so many times i find myself losing sight of God’s plan in light of my own meager one. It’s definitely easier and it’s definitely what the world tells us to do, but this is such a lovely reminder that His sovereign hand is what guides us all, and not our own ambitions! The “you be you” philosophy that our present culture throws at us and the constant reminder that we should do what’s best for us really is invalidated by the fact that God is in control. We should seek to be the image of God that He created us in and strive to be more like Jesus while simultaneously realizing that we can do nothing. We can do nothing but rejoice in it, and i certainly attempting to! Comfort for thousand can be found in this, and im so grateful for a wonderful reminder.

  • lisa seawright

    God is the author of our story.He chose the beginning while giving us free choice to chose Him in the middle but, still in control by redirecting our paths. Allowing us to fall and crawl back to Him with his arms open wide. As the author, He knows the end of our story at the very beginning.

  • Stephanie Link

    While Roman soldiers cast lots to divide up Jesus’ bloody robe, He was already at work making all things new….powerful stuff!

  • A few days ago, I was thinking about how God wrote a book about my life and now I’m reading this devo about how God is writing our story. Amazing❤

  • This was so timely. I was just saying how much my heart feels overwhelmed because I feel like I will make the wrong choice in life…but God’s plans can’t be thwarted ❤️ there is a stronger hand writing the story!

  • Proverbs 16:33 kept coming up for me days before I started this plan I found that odd as I was planning nothing, still a good reminder I suppose. Then I shared this verse with a friend, as we talked it became clear that although this verse was coming up for me it was FOR me, God planned for us to have that conversation so He set that verse in places I’d encounter it. that friend had plan after plan of her own blow up in her face but lately God has been telling her “slow down, breathe, be still and stop planning, my plan is best so trust it.”. God worked in this situation a lot like He did in Esther.

  • I really like that and I think that I need to realize more of what God is doing in my life.:)

  • I am sure someone else noticed this but a lot of time passes between each chapter.

    1st chapter the king is in his 3rd year of reigning
    2nd chapter 7th year
    3rd chapter 12 years
    at the time of Hamans plot, Esther was queen for 5 years.
    I saw someone say she was possibly 14 at time of queenship, but now would be 19.

    • Ash

      I️ noticed this today while reading! In chapter 3 verse 7 when it mentioned it would have been Esther’s 5th year of reigning I️ was like where did the time go?! Crazy how time flies in the Bible!

  • I love the story of Esther. I love how the Lord is never directly mentioned but He is clearly working. For example, chapter 3 starts out with the terrible plot that Haman has to destroy the Jews, BUT we know that God has already granted Esther favor and placed her in a place where she can reach the heart of the king. And he did this before the enemy put his plan is motion. How amazing is it to know that the God of the universe works for us before we even know there is a problem?

    • Stef Grace

      That is so true! I can sometimes feel that God is distant or doesn’t care because of a hurtful situation I might find myself in. But in reality he knew what would happen, how it would affect me and was fighting for me before I even found myself in the problem asking for His help. Or sometimes maybe I don’t pray for whatever reason- He must be longing for me to pray and seek him in situations that are difficult as he is there, behind the scenes, waiting to be brought to the forefront!

  • Its interesting how we think we have to work so hard to stay within the will of God. Or like Gideon lay out fleece, or like others in the Bible cast lots in order to “divine” what God’s will for our lives are, but Proverbs 16: 9 reads “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Esther helps show us, that God has everything planed for our good. We just have to trust him.

    • Indy

      I’m rellay into it, thanks for this great stuff!

    • Stef Grace

      I really like what you’ve suggested here- but wonder how this works with our free will? I’d love to know more about this concept – thank you!

    • Ashliann Salvage

      I love that verse you shared. Thank you.

  • Wow. The plot thickens. I love Esther. God may never be directly mentioned but He is clearly seen. Mordecai is from the family of King Saul and Haman is probably the last remaining real Amalakite. God had ordered the destruction of all Amalakites by King Saul. Now for the working of the Devi e plan through all this palace intrigue.

  • Tiffany Coven

    “the protagonist (i.e. me) won’t be rescued, and my story won’t ever be worth reading.” This is my worst fear at times. Sometimes I place myself in this area of life where I think God can’t see me, he can’t hear my cries, and he can’t possibly fix my problems. Then, I realize how utterly disappointing this must be to God that he gave his one and only Son to have this relationship with me and I convince myself I am not worthy of it. I love this reading so far, reading between the lines is not usually my strong suit so I appreciate the breakdown and comments.

  • While I admire Mordecai’s integrity in refusing to bow down to Haman (knowing very well there would likely be a punishment for it), it seems hypocritical to me that he stands up for himself and says no to a pagan authority, yet Esther is told she must submit not only her will, but her body, to the kings pagan authority. I’m sure I’m missing some cultural context that would frame this differently; does anyone know what that may be?

    • Sarah

      Esther denies the king’s authority by going to him without being summoned…

      • Christina

        I think the difference is this: We are called to respect rulers and their authority, knowing that no one rules without God’s permission and will. So in that sense we demonstrate our respect for God’s authority by how we respect human authority. On the other hand, we should not obey if it directly contradicts God’s commands (in Mordecai’s case, I think he felt as a Jew that bowing was something he would only do for God himself.) In Esther’s case, though it is unnatural in our culture, she basically submitted to an arranged marriage, which was not a sin.

      • Christina

        Sorry I meant to reply to Amanda directly!

        • Amanda

          Hi Christina, thank you for your reply! That does make sense, I appreciate you giving me that context:)

    • Rosie

      I too struggle with this. Mordecai is standing up for his beliefs, but Esther is at the mercy of the men around her. I’m not a feminist but this has me frustrated

  • Melissa Wright

    I have been so blessed by this study. I have read Esther so many times and this is the first time I’ve looked past the characters and plot to the Author. God is in control and no act of man can change God’s plan. I have needed this reminder lately. I felt depression coming on and didn’t know what to do to keep it away, and going through this study has been the gentle reminder that even when I don’t feel God near, He is always there working on my behalf!

  • Diane Huntsman

    Most of us love a good guy bad guy story where the bad guy gets what he has coming to him and the good guy wins.. is it wrong that as I read the evil plot Hamen is conjuring up I can’t wait until his plan to destroy turns on him? I love when evil is thwarted… but I don’t want to miss the lessons for me.. the lessons about how pride and jealousy if left undealt with grow into a grotesque monster blinding the one infected by their disease… unchecked sin grows and it destroys.. Hamen was allowing his hatred towards Mordecai to plot the destruction of the entire Jewish population.. that’s some serious unchecked heart problems.. but I too need to keep my heart in check.. those seemingly “small sins” that just really aren’t that bad can grow into something so destructive.. I’m mindful today to not focus on how gross Hamans sin is, but to deal with the fragments of pride and jealousy festering in this old heart.. because left alone and treated as a normal part of being human gives way to unthinkable destruction later. Focus shifted.

    • Sharon

      Important reminders…thank you…

      • Kristen

        I really liked the way you shifted this to put the focus on pride and jealousy found in our own hearts. Thank you, I needed this!

    • Megan Smith

      Yes, thank you for the reminder to check my own heart. It truly can be as ugly as Haman’s, as much as I hate to admit

    • Christen

      Thank you for this insight and reminder. Truly challenged me this morning.

    • Tiffany

      Thanks for pointing out we all need a little heart check sometimes!

    • Kristi

      Yes, thank you. I immediately saw myself in Haman…constantly worried about other people. Oh Lord, forgive me for my unclean heart. Help me to be quick to see You in others and show forgiveness and grace (that I do desperately want for myself).

    • Jody Hensley

      I love this and I am so guilty of it!

    • Madeleine

      I, too, got caught up in the story, so much so that I forgot the story is about me. Your comment is spot on. I am learning so much of a well read story. Not just from the lessons themselves which are excellent, but from comments from people like you. Thank you.

  • Isabel Anderson

    Powerful stuff. Grateful for God’s sovereign power. Roman’s 8:28 comes to mind! Praise God for his mercy and love.

  • I had a horrible dream last night, so this was comforting in a way to read. No matter what happens in life God’s plan can’t be changed, or manipulated in any way.

    • Tiffany Coven

      I am STILL struggling with a dream I had a few weeks ago even though they are never our intentions to have it or think of certain things, at least God’s love is always constant.. that I am so thankful for.

  • Ladies,
    I pray each and everyone one of you is have a wonderful day already. I am truly saddened to say my church is in need of prayers. As I read the reading from Esther today, I saw so many parallels between the verses and what is happening in our church. There are stones being casted and thrown to our Mordecai and everyone believes each is right. Each is to a degree. And there are those who want all the “Jews” gone now. BUT God writes the story not us. We have forgotten that. We have forgotten to be merciful, forgiving, loving, accepting, and supportive. Please ladies, I am begging you to please pray for our church to not be ripped apart and to not persecute our “Jews” and to come back together in Christian love and faith. We are being “generationally” divided. The younger ones want to leave, if so the church will not cease to exist after a while. Right now we need to fight the devil with prayers and we cannot do it alone. So many of my generation already do not go to church. My family and numerous others are truly saddened by what is happening to us right now. We are lost and confused by all the unnecessary turmoil.
    From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for being a listening ear. I wish I could hug each and every one of you. I absolutely enjoy SRT and if for some reason my church ceases, I know this is a wonderful community full of smart, witty, caring women to lean on in the coming Bible studies. To the ladies who created this cite, thank you. It was a stroke of genius. Thank you for all your hard work!

    • Pam

      Samone, I will pray for your church. So sorry you are going through this, I know how consuming and heart breaking it can be, but stay strong and keep praying and believing the Lord will rescue your body of believers from this strife, and He will! Your church will be better than it ever has been!

    • AliceV

      Praying for your church, Samone, and for you…

    • Churchmouse

      Praying, Samone, for the Holy Spirit to be sought so that He might do a mighty work. Praying that a spirit of humility and unity would grab ahold of each congregant. May each one be committed to the cause of Christ and not a personal agenda. May your church remember it is to be known for its love. And may it become a great house of prayer. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Preserve a faithful remnant!

    • She Reads Truth

      Samone, we are so sorry to hear that is happening. We are praying for your church, and are so grateful to have you here as a part of the She Reads Truth community. – Abby, The SRT Team

  • This was absolutely beautiful, encouraging and uplifting! Thank you for this reminder that Our God is Always in Control!

  • Churchmouse

    I’ve imagined the end of my life being one in which I’m on my death bed with loving family members around. I quietly and painlessly leave this life for the next. Now I wonder if the end of my life will be the sudden roar of a truck engine and the crush of metal to body as I am hit on a crowded street. Yes I do occasionally think of these things. I don’t dwell on the scenario but it emerges whenever the news reminds me that this is a very perilous and uncertain time in which I live. How naive to think that if I just keep all my ducks in a row, that life will be predictable and safe. God does not call me to a safe life but to a faith life. Some, most, circumstances are beyond my control. God alone is sovereign. “God’s plans can’t be thwarted. His story cannot be edited. His people cannot be ripped from His loving hand.” I need to remind myself of this more and more with each news cycle. He is in control in a world that seems increasingly uncontrollable. For the believer, the end of life here, no matter how it occurs, gives way to the fullest life there. Lord, help me to walk in faith until that day. Help me to hold on to the truth of Your Word and to trust that You hold me today and to the very end. Let me not be overcome by fear but rather with peace and gratitude for Your steadfast love. Help me to tell others. Let me gather up all my ducks and give them all to You. Amen.

  • Other Karen

    Editing question: when we’re we supposed to read the second half of chapter 2? Yesterday’s reading was 2:1-14, today’s is 3:1-15.

    Thankful that God is in control. I can certainly make a mess of things! So glad it’s not up to me! I rest in the assurance that my great God is in control and He is good.

    • LT

      I was thinking the same thing re the end of chapter 2! Especially since yesterday, the quoted verse at the bottom was 2:15, and we were only supposed to read up to verse 14. In any case, I read the rest of chapter 2 today, before starting 3…

    • Bethany

      I was wondering the same thing!

    • Alexandra Gray

      In the study guide, it has the whole chapter!

      • sheila

        How do you like the study guide? I think they look beautiful (and would really like to have the Advent one especially) but the price is kind of high for me. I know it is good but by the time I pay shipping and taxes it is $40 plus . Does it enhance/provide a better study for you? Nevertheless, SRT is extremely generous to provide a free online study. I appreciate that so much. I am just trying to weigh the money against the depth of study factor.

        • Leah

          Hi Sheila, I love the study books, and I went through the same debate in terms of cost. I find that I journal more consistently and have all my thoughts in one place to review at the end of the week. It also allows me to make even more notes in the margins of the scriptures, which is nice because then I save the really intense thoughts for writing in my actual bible.

        • Janay

          Exrtemely helpful article, please write more.

      • DebbieinAZ

        I’ve been doing these studies for 5 years now. I bought my first study guide with this one because I love the book of Esther and it looked so beautiful, I decided to splurge. It is truly a beautiful book, but I dont think it has changed the way I enjoy these studies. I will probably go on with SRT without always getting the book. But it is a nice treat once in a while.

    • She Reads Truth

      That was a mistake on our part, yesterday’s reading should be the full chapter 2! We’ll be sure to get that corrected and thanks so much for letting us know. – Abby, The SRT Team

  • I’m so glad it doesn’t depend on us but that there is a stronger hand writing the story. This encouraged me a lot today.

    • PursuedByHim

      Amen! Praise God! He is in control and we are not…that makes me feel safe no matter how unsafe this world is!

  • How many times have I tried to rewrite my story? Oh my goodness, if money were the reward for these rewrites I would own half the world!
    Praise and glory to God that it isn’t and nowhere near…
    My writes and rewrites have mostly been through fear, through confusion, through wrong choices, through uncertainty. .. through being lost…
    I didn’t have to cast lots or throw dice to redirect my story, I made choices, I followed paths, I exercised ‘taking charge of my own life’, but you see…
    But God. ..
    He was with me when I took the pills, He was with me when I was put in the hospital by one I trusted, He was there when I was lost and felt so unloved that I made bad choices, He was there when I found self so so broken the only way to ‘fix it’ for all, was to no longer be a burden to anyone, to end it..
    But.. But God. ..
    Oh But God… Thank God, But God…that His writing of my story outweighs, out writes the many many copies of my story I have drafted or written.. Thank God that He and only He is the true author of my life story, that no matter how many ‘adventures’ I feel should be written in, and sometimes add, God and only God has the plan, the purpose, the good for my life that I could never imagine or actually write for myself.
    Thank you Lord God for your plan for me, though I sometimes struggle to understand, and try to write what I believe my life should look like, Thank you that your hand is stronger, that your love for me goes beyond beyond. Your direction for my life Lord God will always be good, though I may not see it at the time Lord God. .Thank you that you keep on and hold me close. . Thank you Lord God. May I like Esther, trust and hold fast to you, knowing that if you have written it, it will come to pass and it will be good, because you are a God of good, better, best.
    Thank you God for everything.. Thank you God.
    Downing my pen today and leaning on One who has far better plans and purposes for my life than I could ever imagine…


    Praying the Lord God turn His life giving face to shine on you… know His peace and grace Sisters… With love.. Tina xx

    • Kathy

      Tina, this is beautiful and touched me deeply. Thank you for the reminder that “God and only God has the plan, the purpose, the good for my life that I could never imagine or actually write for myself.” What comfort and peace this truth brings.
      Be blessed, sweet sister.

    • Kristen

      Thank you so much, Tina for letting God use you to help and encourage us! Thank you for your transparency and openness and being willing to share your story! You are giving hope and peace for others through your words. May God bless you! Never stop shining His light and helping to guide others to the One true Hope! He is everything!

    • Tochi Heredia

      Tina, I can’t thank you enough for your vulnerability in sharing and pouring out your heart to us here. You’re a big blessing to me!
      Lots of love to you ❤

    • Lexi

      Your words, your story…if for no one else, they touched me right to my soul. As someone who’s struggled with suicidal thoughts and tendencies, reading your story and how God saved you (in so many capacities. Can I get an amen?!) made me stop to thank my Father above for his sovereign hand on my life, as well as yours. One of my favorite phrases is “But God…”, because it really is that simple. Two words that change the course of our lives. God is good.

    • Grancy

      Tina, you encourage me so very much with your honesty and openness. I have also tried many rebellious rewrites, but God has been so very faithful to oversee my choices and get me back on the right path. Love and prayers, sweet sister.

    • Kellie

      So so good, Tina. Thank you for sharing your heart, and to God Be the glory!

    • Lou

      Thank you – I feel all of this. Thank you, God has used you Tina. Keep going to you see Him again and he writes the last page.

    • Eva

      Your joy and love for Jesus bring tears to my eyes.

    • BethW

      Tina – You are so, so loved! Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Monique

      Thank you for sharing this. God is our strength!

    • Lily

      Thank you so much for this Tina! Your words and your vulnerability helped me today! I have been trying to write my story for as long as I can remember but knowing that our story is already written by our Father who has already lived our story is remarkable! His ways are higher than our ways and we can’t be taken away from the plan He already has for us, thank you again for your sweet words sister! SO ENCOURAGING!!

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