Sovereign in the silence, IX
Do you remember Haman’s plan to annihilate the Jewish people? Well, that’s where I want to begin this week.
“In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, they cast lots) before Haman day after day; and they cast it month after month till the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar” (Esth. 3:7 ESV).
Here we find Haman deciding on the “best day” to kill the Jews. The Bible explains how he cast lots, eventually deciding to fulfill his evil plan during the month of Adar. This would have been somewhere in the neighborhood of eleven months away. In other words, Haman plans to annihilate the Jews in eleven months—granted he can convince the king. And if you know anything about King Ahasuerus, you know it’s not hard to convince him of anything.
God’s Word reads, “Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, ‘There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not in the king’s profit to tolerate them’” (v. 8 ESV).
Talk about a vague description of “a certain people.” Haman exaggerates the situation way out of proportion. And remember, this is all because one man, Mordecai, refuses to honor this jerk in the first place.
But King Ahasuerus is easily fooled. Haman offers him 10,000 talents (an unrealistic sum). It doesn’t take long before Ahasuerus gives him the signet ring and grants him the authority to destroy the Jews in whatever way he deems best.
“Then the king’s scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king’s satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s signet ring. Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods” (v. 12-13 ESV).
Talk about the spread of mass hysteria. Verse 15 even ends with the words, “… And the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion” (ESV).
So, let’s get this straight. Esther 3 ends with an authorized and publicized plan by Haman to annihilate the Jews in eleven months. And it seems like God’s people have lost all hope. I mean, where is this God anyway? He doesn’t speak. He doesn’t make any drastic moves. But, as we’ve seen before, He is sovereign in the silence.
Truth is, lots don’t have the final word. After all, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD” (Prov. 16:33 ESV).
No matter what the “odds” say, God is in control. No matter what the statistics say, God is in control. No matter the diagnoses, outlook, or projection, God is sovereign. And the same can be said in Esther.
I love how Duguid writes it, “The people were ultimately not [Ahasuerus’s] to give into Haman’s power. They were God’s people, and He would not allow them to be destroyed at the whim of the empire.”
Chapter 3 might end in despair, but as we’re about to see, God has a plan. Not just a plan. A plan that is sure and steadfast. Quite unlike that of Haman.
That’s why the Bible says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Prov. 16:9 ESV).
Do you remember that Jewish girl named Esther? The one crowned Queen? Yeah, well, God is about to use her in an amazing way. Because He is sovereign in the silence.
I’m not sure what fears and uncertainties hang in the horizon of your life. But I know God is greater than all of them combined. As His people, we can trust Him to maintain control through all human craftiness and threatening situations. Take hope in that today.