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Saturday, May 21, 2011

What Good Is A Woman? Lesson 6

Read Esther Chapter 6.

What does the existence of the king's book mean to Mordecai in vss. 1-3?
Who is "saved by the book" in Daniel 12:1, Malachi 3:16-18 and Revelation 21:10 and 27? Contrast this with what a book says about Amalek in Exodus 17:14-16.

How do James 4:10 and 1 Peter 5:6 apply to Mordecai's situation?

How does Psalm 10:2 apply to Haman? (What do you imagine Haman would have done if a relative of his had been made queen?)

Some may see Mordecai as a type of Christ because of the threat of the gallows and the procession depicted in vss. 6-11. Compare this procession to those in Luke 19:28-38 and Revelation 19:11-16. What are some similarities and differences? For example, what is unique about the steeds? Who does the praising? Where does the "glory" come from?

Apply Proverbs 16:9 to Haman's hopes. In vs. 12, might he be starting to get a hint about Proverbs 16:18?

Vs. 13 shows a turn-about in Haman's family and friends from 5:14. See Deuteronomy 2:25, Psalm 44:1-3 and Zephaniah 2:10,11.

Does the Lord enjoy irony, or what?

       Mordecai seems to have maintained a remarkable degree of humility to this point. Though his young ward is now in a position of power and wealth, he has not finagled a higher position in the court. He remains at the gate. What happens next is a humorous example of the oxymoronic James 4:10, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up," combined with "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18).
       The king's record book is the key to the action. Being "saved by the book" is a recurring theme in scripture. Daniel 12:1 predicts that "there shall be a time of trouble,... and at that time, your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book." In Malachi 3:16,17, "a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD... 'They shall be Mine,' says the LORD of Hosts." The ultimate importance of the book appears in Revelation 21:27. The only people allowed into the new Jerusalem are "those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life."
       Some are condemned in writing too, and it isn't good news for Haman. In Exodus 17:14, "the LORD said to Moses, 'Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.'" Haman's line is doomed, and it has been written out ahead of time. All of this reminds the people of God that He is in charge, and that He has demonstrated His complete control of history both through the agency and for the benefit of His Son.
       Haman's pride leads to mortification in the procession that honors Mordecai. Like the threat of the gallows, this procession might link Mordecai with Christ in His entry into Jerusalem and His final triumphal return. Again, there are significant differences. Mordecai wears a robe that the king has worn and rides a horse that the king has ridden (6:8). When Jesus enters Jerusalem, He rides a colt that has never been ridden before (Luke 19:30), demonstrating, incidentally, His authority over the creation. When He rides out of heaven on a white horse (Revelation 19:11-16), He wears "a robe dipped in blood," that is, the blood of His own sacrifice. Mordecai's honor is all derivative, a reflection of the king's glory. It is a reward for his loyalty, but it is not something he claimed or executed for himself. Jesus is in control. His glory is all His own, because He is "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."
       Only Haman's voice is heard to praise Mordecai. A multitude hails Jesus as King on the way to Jerusalem, and the rocks stand ready to testify if the people fail (Luke 19:37-40). Mordecai's honor is rather an afterthought, and the form it takes is an accident. Though the first is peaceful and sacrificial while the second is martial and terrifying, both appearances of Christ show Him to be the one, rightful, supreme king who must be honored because of Who He is.
       "A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps" (Proverbs 16:9), even when those plans are directed against God's people. Haman may be starting to realize this as he hurries home mourning (6:12). His wife and friends have changed their tune from the jolly advice to build a gallows in 5:14. God had already promised to "put the dread and fear of [Israel] upon the nations" (Deuteronomy 2:25). The reason for the fear appears in Psalm 44:1-3 when the psalmist sings to God that Israel triumphed because of "Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance."  Zephaniah 2:10,11 tells that the proud enemies of God's people will be struck with awe, and all will eventually worship the LORD. In other words, God will eventually make Christ's enemies His footstool (Matthew 22:41-44), and "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow" (Philippians 2:9-11). Haman is just one in a long line of enemies who try to destroy those whom God has called. They cannot win.

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