The Victories of the Jews
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Esther 9:1-22, Nehemiah 8:10, Luke 1:46-55
On the twelfth day of Adar, the Jews were afraid. Sure doom awaited them the next morning. Everything looked bleak and impossible, and there was nothing they could do to stop it. Their enemies had removed every legal protection for them, and their destruction was a forgone conclusion. Haman and those who sought to overtake them were licking their lips like cartoon wolves. But “that was the month when their sorrow was turned into rejoicing and their mourning into a holiday” (Esther 9:22). The Lord took a hopeless situation, used ordinary, obedient believers, and rescued His people.
Goodness, there are some things that scare me. I sometimes feel like the wolves are circling around my very house and howling at the door. But perhaps the greatest lesson of Esther is this: even when God seems to be absent in every way, He is still at work. His providence is at work, even if no one speaks His name. On the twelfth day, everything looked black, but on the morning of the thirteenth, the sun rose, and God had changed everything.
A sudden reversal of this sort is not calculable or predictable. This wasn’t the scheme of Esther and Mordecai. The unexpected turn of events was unexpected precisely because it came from outside the realm of human control. Some greater power had acted, and had unraveled the finely crafted plot against the Jews.
How did He act? He moved hearts. First, Mordecai and Esther. Then Ahasuerus. Then the satraps, the governors, and the administrators. Then the people. God changed hearts, affections, and allegiances. He moved some to fear and some to courage. But make no mistake: all the actors in this extraordinary story were His actors. Each played a part in God’s plan of redemption.
Esther, once part of a condemned people, was now offered whatever she wanted. Ahasuerus, her king, gave her unprecedented autonomy. The king who had banished Vashti in a show of might, was now handing over the decisions to his new queen in complete trust. His heart was changed.
God is a God who acts, not according to the whims and wishes of men, but according to His own good purposes, in His own good time. But, like Haman, the enemies of God’s people face their own undoing instead. And in this story detailing oppression turned into redemption, His people saw their mourning turned into holiday rejoicing. He turns sorrow into dancing, and mourning to laughter. Even when we are surrounded by the darkness of the twelfth day of Adar and there is no hope in sight, the redemption of the morning is coming. Take hope!
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