It ought not go unnoticed that the book of Esther begins with a feast and ends with a feast. The book opens with the account of a feast of Ahasuerus. The feast of the enlarges and delivered Jews is presented to us in the closing verses of the book.
However, although, we have in these passages feasts of two very distinctly different groups of people, they are feast that have one significant element in common. Both are carnal, worldly feasts or banquets that revolve around fleshly gladness and are conducted with no thought of the God of heaven and earth, Who gives life, earthly possessions, food and drink, and deliverance from dangerous situations.
It is to be expected in the day of shadows that worldly kingdoms such as that of the Medes and the Persians will feast and revel in things without praise to God and with taking His name in vain, if it indeed does fall from their lips. One would also expect the Jews of that day to have all their celebrations revolve around the God of our salvation by singing His praises, calling attention to His covenant faithfulness, and telling the generations that follow of His power and goodness. But in vain you look for one word that would .even suggest that Mordecai the Jew, and now the prime minister in the kingdom with tremendous power and influence, would insist on a feast with spiritual overtones and recognition of God’s grace and power. This is especially true after a wondrous deliverance from impending death and destruction.
Indeed, according to Esther 9:30, Mordecai does speak peace to all his people in connection with the feast which he organized and ordered. And he did, according to this verse, speak truth to the Jews as well. But these facts must be viewed in light of the very name which he gave to the feast. That explains it all! The feast days were to be called the days of Purim. Now Purim is the plural for Pur. And Pur was the idol of the Medes and Persians. No, they probably would not say so openly. But Pur was the stone they trusted in to guide them in their decisions and lives. Haman cast Pur to pick that day of the thirteenth of the twelfth month for the execution of all the Jews in the kingdom. And it must be remembered that Israel had the Urim and Thummim which God commanded them to use, and through which He would speak to them and give them counsel. Of that you read, for example, in Numbers 27:21. But Haman was not seeking counsel from Jehovah for a day best suited for executing His people. Pur was his idol. And Mordecai calls the feast after that idol and commands all the Jews to do likewise. O, it could be done. They could, in faith, have named it The Days of Purim’s Folly. Faith however would have cried out with Jonah after his salvation from death in the depth of the sea. “Salvation is of the Lord.” You look in vain for any evidence that Esther and Mordecai ascribed this enlargement and deliverance to Jehovah. No, it was purely a carnal celebration.
Note, for this is revealing, as God Himself gives us the concluding remarks concerning Mordecai in Esther 10:3: “seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.” Seeking their spiritual well-being is not even suggested. In fact, what Mordecai seeks for his people is that which turns their minds and hearts away from God, not unto Him. Wealth makes man feel self-sufficient, not needing God. It fixes his mind on creation rather than on the Creator. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Jesus said that in His sermon on the mount, and we find it inMatthew 6:21. Social improvement, not spiritual, was Mordecai’s aim. Material advancement, not spiritual growth was his goal. And all that fits in with calling them the days of Purim.
Faith would have moved him to urge his people to go back to the promised land where there is true wealth and peace, with God speaking peace to His people through His priests as they sacrificed the typical lamb and sent the people home with the rich message of being of good cheer, for their sins were forgiven. Christ they would find in the types and shadows in the promised land. That wealth, that peace which He brings did not interest Mordecai or Esther. His was a social gospel, another gospel than the one in Holy Writ, and is no gospel.
And what shall we say of all this? What purpose does this book serve? Why is it included in the canon of Scripture? And does it say anything to us today, with a view to the coming days of the Antichrist, when our “thirteenth of the twelfth month” arrives and we cannot buy or sell; and the two witnesses lie slain on the streets?
First of all, in this book we are shown by God that He is faithful to His promises. Jeremiah said it literally years before this event took place, “Great is Thy faithfulness.” That we find at the end ofLamentations 3:23. And in the preceding verse he wrote, “It is of the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.” That unfailing mercy and compassion explains what happened and is recorded in this book of Esther. And His faithfulness to His promises comes out loudly and clearly.
Go back to the very first promise which He gave us, the one in Genesis 3:15, and out of whose womb, as the mother promise, all the promises that follow flow forth. There we are promised The Seed of the Woman Who will crush the head of all our enemies, as surely as Haman was hanged on the gallows he made for Mordecai. In covenant faithfulness God did not allow this seed of the serpent to succeed and prevent the birth of Him Who would give us amazing enlargement and deliverance unto glories eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, and that never entered into the heart of man.
The richness of that promise of Genesis 3:15 becomes plain as we turn the pages of Holy Writ. Far too numerous are all the details of that promise in the protevangel for us to list them. Every detail is fulfilled in God’s faithfulness. And this book of Esther adds to the proof of that faithfulness. Because of what we read in it we can be sure, and in fact subsequent books of the Bible show us, that all of God’s promises will be fulfilled to the minutest detail. Taking some broad steps, in order to conclude this series of articles on the book of Esther, we now can see that in Abraham, as God promised, all nations of the earth would be blessed. The Son to be given to us and Child to be born unto us, Who would be, and is, now, the Prince of Peace, could and did come at the right time, and in the little town of Bethlehem as promised. The Stone cut out of the mountain without hands has already appeared on the scene and is rolling forward to grind to powder the antichristian nations of this earth (Daniel 2:45). The enemy at times may seem to be on the verge of victory; and the church may appear to be in grave danger. It may seem as though God has forgotten His church. But go to this book of Esther and be strengthened once again in the conviction that “His saints shall not fail, But over the earth their strength shall prevail,” to quote from the Psalter versification of Psalm 149. And all this is true because God is faithful to His covenant promises.
In the second place, this book of Esther shows us that the Almighty has perfect control over all the creatures which He has made and brings forth. And for that reason, too, we can be sure that His promises will be fulfilled. He said in the mother promise, “I will . . . it shall.” And He does, and it did, because every creature great and small, animate and inanimate, spiritual and material is constantly under His complete control. He does not fight to maintain His cause, even though the creature often tries to fight Him. He need not fight. He need but cease to give the next heartbeat. And when things get dark, as in this book, and it looks as though God’s cause might suffer defeat, remember that He raised up a Haman, an Ahasuerus, an Esther, and a Mordecai to do what He has eternally planned must be done.
Did He not before He created the world, and in inscrutable wisdom, decide that the chaff would serve the wheat? That chaff for a time may flourish, take in all the rain and sunshine, become tall and sturdy, and all this long before the grain begins to make its appearance. In volume and size the grain nowhere begins to compare with that chaff. One would begin to say that the chaff takes an awful lot out of the soil, growing as it does to such great proportions. Yet it serves to bring forth the wheat. And we ought to look to the Creator Whose wisdom fashioned the whole plant to produce that small bit of precious grain. The Almighty God uses that chaff to produce our food. And we ought to see Him in the growth and power of the world that surrounds His church and is the chaff that serves the wheat. The book of Esther shows us that truth in connection with the truth that He is faithful to His promise.
His name is not used by any of the characters in the book. And yet that His name is near His wondrous works declare. The right people with the right natures are brought on the scene at the right time to display before our eyes the truth that He is still on the throne, has all creatures in His hand, to get that kind of king on the throne and to give Esther the beauty that captured the queenship; to get Mordecai in the right place to overhear the plot to kill the king, and to give the king a sleepless night; to bring Haman into the king’s court just after the records are read and the king learns that Mordecai was never rewarded for saving the king’s life; to move the king to accept Esther, who appeared uncalled-for, even though thirty days had gone by during which her companionship was not wanted; to cause the king to be furious against his highly elevated prime minister, and to grant Esther her request that circumvented an unchangeable law; and to get seventy-five thousand enemies of the Jews killed, while the Jewish race was saved, and the seed of the woman is able to bring forth the Prince of Peace.
Enemies who plotted to prevent the Savior’s birth, enemies of these enemies who likewise had no love for that coming Son, Satan and Satan’s tools, lots that are cast and sleepless nights, all came by His appointment and took place because of perfect, flawless control that realizes all the details of His eternal, unchangeable counsel. Yea, we can be sure of His faithfulness, because this book shows us what absolute control He has to use the chaff to serve the wheat, the wicked to benefit the just, the unrighteous to serve the cause of the righteous.
And therefore in the third place this book was written and preserved and included in the canon of Holy Writ so that as we face the dark days when the Antichrist shall starve the elect by refusing to let them buy or sell, kill many outright, and seem to have destroyed Christ’s kingdom, He will come back at just the right moment and bring us into the wedding feast of the Lamb, where we will enjoy peace with God, and have true and everlasting, heavenly, spiritual wealth and gladness, because we will be in The Promised Land with that Seed of the woman, Whose death was not defeat but victory for the church, so that she is everlastingly and completely free from the serpent and his seed.
The heathen rage and imagine a vain thing. He that sitteth in the heavens, instead of fighting them, laughs at them (Psalm 2:1-4). And He does so because He is using them, even when they seek to crush His people, so that all things without exception work together for their good. That the book of Esther teaches us. God never worries, because He knows what He is doing and what is going to happen. Through this book He says to us, “Trust Me. My faithfulness cannot and will not fail.”