Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Study of the Book of Esther: Week Three, Day Three

Day Three: The King Honors Mordecai

     In my experience, people tend to be in one of three camps. In the first camp, we see ourselves as God's gift to the world. Everyone we encounter should feel honored and privileged that we are gracing them with our presence. "Who wouldn't want to be around me?" is the thought in this camp. This is where Haman is hanging out in our story.
     In the second camp, which is way on the other end of the spectrum, we see ourselves as unworthy. What was God thinking when He made me this way? How could I possibly have anything to contribute to the world when this is my personality and my genetic make-up? Woe is me...
     And in the third camp, we are somewhere between the two on the continuum. We aren't exactly God's gift to the world but we also aren't worthless. We are special and valuable in God's sight. We accept that God made us with a purpose and we seek a way to fulfill that purpose. This is where Mordecai is camping in the story of Esther.
     Read Esther 6:1-14. When the king had trouble sleeping, what did he do (6:1-2)?

What did he discover there (6:2)?

What question did he ask concerning what he learned (6:3)?

And what was the answer to that question (6:3)?

When the answer wasn't quite what the king had hoped, what was his next step (6:4)?

     Pausing here a moment, I think it's important to point something out. Mordecai never went to the king and reminded him what he'd done. In my mind, this means that Mordecai saved the king's life because it was the right thing to do and not because he thought he would get anything from it. That speaks to Mordecai's character in my opinion. He knew the right thing to do and did it without question. But then he wasn't rewarded. We don't ever see or hear him complaining about that though. Character.
     The second thing that you should notice here is that the king DID notice what Mordecai did. It took him awhile, but he noticed. I have to believe that God's hand was in that. The king just happened to have trouble sleeping the night before Haman was going to try to kill Mordecai? That particular volume just happened to be chosen to be read on that very page? I don't think so. God was looking out for Mordecai even if it doesn't specifically say it in the story.
     Remember that Mordecai is in the third camp with those who believe in God and believe in His divine purpose. He knows that God is going to take care of him. He knows that God has a bigger plan than he could ever hope to understand or imagine. And it's that amazing faith that will save him.

Who was in the outer court that the king called in (6:5-6)?

What question did the king ask of Haman (6:6)?

What assumption did Haman make about the king's question (6:6)?

What did Haman suggest be done (6:7-9)?

Reflection: How do you suppose Haman felt when he discovered it was his enemy that would be honored?

     It feels yucky to associate ourselves with someone so obviously evil as Haman, but think about it for a minute. Have you ever felt like Haman? Have you ever watched someone else get the honor over you? Maybe you were in a 5K and finished first but someone else got honored above you because they were the youngest runner there. Maybe you got passed over for a promotion at your job or you're a mom who makes dinner every night without praise. Then dad makes one meal and he gets praises up and down. The fact is, it hurts when someone else gets noticed for the things they do and we don't. It's hard to remember in the moment that though the world might not see what we do, God definitely does.

What does the king tell Haman to do (6:10)?

Does Haman do what the king says (6:11)?

How does Mordecai react to this honor? And Haman? (6:12-13)?

What advice does Haman's wife give him (6:13)?

What happens at the end of the chapter (6:14)?

Personal Reflection: Considering a time or an event in your life where you felt underappreciated, how does your perspective of that moment change knowing that God still always sees you and values you?

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