Haman Is a Threat to God's Promises.

God’s providential power is precise and personal; it is, therefore, the cornerstone for faith in the church age! For Esther, there were no miracles forthcoming. In this book, the Holy Spirit labors hard at weaning faith off the milk of miracle and on to the meat of God’s providential power. God’s providential power is comprehensive, yet the question may linger as to how precise and personal it can really be? Miracles are reassuring because they are incredibly precise and personal. We will see that God’s providential power is as precise and personal as it is comprehensive, and therefore must be the cornerstone for your faith as a believer.

God’s providential power is precise and personal to the protagonists (Esther 2:17-23).

God's providence was personal in Esther’s life. It would be foolish for us to think that there were not other beautiful women in the empire competing for the king's affections. God personally worked on Esther’s behalf, and "the king loved her more than all the women" (verse 17). Yet there was still a threat. The king had already demonstrated that he could love women like he loved things. God’s providence assures this will not be the case with Esther. The text repeats that she "found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins." In other words, he really liked her!

Another threat to Esther's success was your youth and inexperience. Would Esther be up for the task? Did she have the character necessary to do what God’s providence would require of her? God’s providence had long ago seen to that. What God would ask of Esther was already a part of her character. He had personally prepared her already. Verse 20 says she obeyed Mordecai "as she had done when under his care." The critical skill that God would need in the moment was not primarily a woman who was culturally savvy or smart; what he needed in the hour was a woman of character who understood God-ordained authority in her life (Proverbs 31:30).

God's providence was precise in Mordecai's life. We often measure precision in terms of timing. God’s providence is breath-taking in its timing. He arranged for Mordecai to be sitting at the king’s gate in ear shot of the guarded door (verses 21-22). We would not expect delay, yet the incident is safely recorded and tucked away for the future when God will pull it out and use it.

God’s providential power is precise and personal to the enemies of God (Esther 3:1-6).

Even in the lives of those who threaten His promise and people, God is at work personally and precisely! A threat to God's people is identified in Haman the Agagite (Amalekite). He represents a personal, long-standing issue between the Israelites and the Amalekites. They had been the first nation to fight with Israel in the wilderness just after they had come out of Egypt, and the Lord would be at war with them from “generation to generation” (See Exodus 17:14-16). Baalam prophesied that the Israelite king would “be greater than Agag” (the Amalekite royal title) in Numbers 24:7. Saul the Benjamite, son of Kish (1 Samuel 9:1-2), was directed to destroy totally the Amalekites but failed to do so, even though he won the war. Samuel confronted Saul and cut their king into pieces (1 Samuel 15).

God's providence worked personally with Haman. He was advanced by the emperor and given authority over all the other princes. The king commanded his servants at the gate to bow down and pay homage. God's arrangement was critically precise to include a specific group of which Mordecai was a part.

The threat intensified when the reason for Mordecai's refusal was reported. Under the pressure of the personal and precise nature of what is going on, God’s providence is still at work. The threat systemized in verses 5-6, and at this point the foreshadowed crisis is defined. Haman witnesses Mordecai’s defiance first hand and is filled with rage. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead, Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.

God’s providential power is precise and personal when things seem most out of control (Esther 3:7-14).

The plan is ratified, but God’s providence begins to counter. The lot providentially falls to a late date in the twelfth month. It was custom for pagan rulers to employ luck and magic to make decisions. In the first month of the year lots were cast to choose opportune days for important events. Astrology, magic, and a series of pagan practices were prohibited in Old Testament as a basis of authority. God’s authority and Word should be the basis of our priorities and mold our customs. The irony here is precise and personal: the date gave plenty of time for God to intervene! So instead of these lots meaning doom for the Jews, they instead gave the time for deliverance.

Haman is formally identified by the writer as “the enemy of the Jews.” Enemies of God may be in the shadows, but in time, they become clear! Already, the writer of Esther foreshadows the climax and point of resolution. In the service of Purim, it is customary to boo, hiss, stamp feet, and rattle noisemakers whenever the name of Haman is mentioned. The purpose is to "blot out the name of Haman."

The king approves wholeheartedly Haman’s plan of genocide in verse 11. Notice the tactic of those bent on destruction of God’s people: he convinces Ahasuerus using truth (“dispersed and scattered”), half-truth (“customs are different”), and an outright lie (“who do not obey the king’s law”). The situation seems hopeless. Unlimited power is given to Haman in the king's signet ring. The law is written and cannot be changed (verse 12). The law is communicated throughout the land, and everyone else in the city was thrown into confusion (verses 13-15).

The 13th day of the first month is a date that only a Jew would know because the very next day is the first day of Passover, the celebration of deliverance from Egypt’s oppression. Again, the irony here is precise and personal: as God’s miraculous power delivered from Egypt, God’s providential power would deliver from Haman.

God’s providence personally and precisely protects the fulfillment of His promises.

Jesus’ unilateral promise to the church is that He will build the church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. As precise and personal as God’s providence was in the book of Esther, He is just as personal a precise in your life. Are you a protagonist of God’s promise and plan or are you are an antagonist to God’s plan? God is powerfully at work either way, and He will ultimately win. I can courageously obey knowing that God is at work comprehensively! But even more comforting is his precise and personal work in every fiber of the fabric of my life!

Perhaps the most difficult threats that arise to God’s plan for your life are the ones that arise from your own lusts and desires. Do not hope for a miracle to deliver you! God has comprehensively prepared and provided for you. His personal and precise providence gives you all you need to courageously obey. Even if you fail, He has already secured His promise to you in Christ and assures that he will continue to be comprehensively, personally and precisely involved in your life to conform you into Jesus' image.

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God’s rich providential work is the appropriate building block for your faith in the church age.

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