The book of Esther reads like a movie script.
The villain in the story, Haman, is prepping to destroy an entire people group, and then he decides he shouldn’t stop there: he wants to hang Mordecai on eight-story-high gallows.
Then King Xerxes can’t sleep, and this sleepless night is when he realizes Mordecai uncovered a plot to assassinate the king, but Mordecai was never honored. In walks Haman.
King Xerxes: “Haman, what are your thoughts: how should I honor a man deserving of the king’s recognition?”
Haman: “You should definitely adorn him with the king’s robes and have him ride the king’s horse through the city. That seems appropriate.”
Haman thinks he’s about to receive this extravagant honor.
Plot twist, Haman! It’s Mordecai who’s getting this honor. The king thanks you for all your good ideas!
Haman is miffed. He feels humiliated. He’s ticked that his attempt to off Mordecai fell to pieces. Then he’s summoned to a feast with King Xerxes and Queen Esther. Maybe he’ll receive the honor he thinks he deserves at this banquet . . .
Nope! It’s Esther’s time to speak up and request that the king reverse the horrific decree that would exterminate the Jewish people.
Second plot twist, Haman! Those gallows you built—well, you’ve just dug your own grave.
Those twists and turns and the split-second timing of crucial events seem like the most incredible coincidences, but something far better was at work in the midst of Esther’s story: the sovereignty of God.
God’s Plan Is Always on Time
This intense story in the Bible shows us that God keeps His promises to His people, and He can arrange any detail to change the course of events for His glory. The darkness is no match for His plans!
King Xerxes just happened to have trouble sleeping that night. He just happened to be reminded of Mordecai’s king-saving actions.
You never know how God can use something so seemingly insignificant like a sleepless night to turn the tide!
And things were looking dark at that moment, weren’t they? Haman was ready to hang Mordecai and execute genocide against God’s people! Couldn’t God have stopped this plan much earlier? He certainly could. But as we see throughout Scripture, sometimes God brings us to the end of ourselves in completely messy situations in order to let His power shine!
Here’s how this week’s study lesson in Esther: Trusting God’s Plan described it:
If you’ve ever seen the back of an embroidered design, it’s a mess. There’s threads of different colors that don’t resemble any clear picture at all. But when you turn it over to see the front . . . only then does the overall design become clear.
Our lives may sometimes look like the back of that embroidery—all tangled and messed up. We can’t see any purpose in it. But, we learn from Esther and Mordecai’s example this week, we have to trust that the Lord is orchestrating our lives and causing all things to work together for good, even if we can’t see it in that moment.
God often picks the time that looks the darkest and the most hopeless to show His power and glory. Why? Perhaps, so no human can take the credit. His grace always shines against the darkest backdrop. (p. 64, 67)
What looks messy in your life right now?
How are you waiting for God to show up—maybe with split-second timing?
Trust Him. Even as the horizon seems to get darker and darker, keep trusting.
God doesn’t abandon His people.God is in the business of turning evil into good.
Esther’s Trust vs. Haman’s Pride
There’s another element to this story that deserves our attention. Not only can we rest in God’s absolute power to accomplish His purposes in His timing (like Esther did!), but we also need to run hard and fast away from self-exalting, self-protecting pride—the very brand of pride we see Haman exhibit over and over again.
God’s Word tells us to toss pride in the trash and to humble ourselves, because the consequences of puffing ourselves up are ugly.
Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. (Prov. 18:12)
Pride comes before a fall. And Haman fell hard, didn’t he? He was hanged on the very gallows he, in his pride, built for someone else.
Let his example show us what not to do and why it matters to God that we grow in humility.
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
Your pride and my pride sets us at odds with God. He opposes—He fights, resists, combats—our proud hearts. Not a place I want to set up camp!
As much as my flesh may battle against it, I want to be in a position to receive God’s grace. So I have to humble myself! I have to live in a daily awareness of my smallness and God’s everything-ness.
As broken sinners desperately in need of rescue, the only way for us to live in the truth of who we really are is in humility.
The ground truly is level at the foot of the cross, and all the glory and honor belongs to Jesus, our Savior.
What would it look like for you and for me to drop-kick that Haman pride out of our lives and to live in humility?
What would we need to stop doing?
What should we start doing?
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt. 23:12)
Let’s Dig Deeper
It’s time to dig even deeper into this study! Take some time to watch the Women of the Bible podcast episode that accompanies Week 5:
Then consider these questions:
- Are there situations in your life that seem to be going from bad to worse? What fresh hope do you gain by knowing God often chooses to work in the darkest moments to show His power and glory?
- Can you share a time in your life when you witnessed the split-second timing of God?
Keep going! It’s time to work on Week 6 of Esther: Trusting God’s Plan, and we’ll be back next Wednesday to wrap up our study!