In the book of Esther, we find many characters and a valuable story with lessons of application to our own spiritual lives. Let us look specifically at Esther 8-10 and what these events teach us.
First, in Esther 8:1-4, we see that Mordecai is exalted after his run-in with Haman, who has been hanged as a punishment by the king. Esther has been given all of Haman’s possessions, and has reported her relation to Mordecai to King Xerxes; thus, Mordecai is brought into his presence. The king gives Mordecai Haman’s ring he has taken from him, and Esther sets Mordecai over the house of Haman (meaning he gives him control of his estate and possessions). This event describes Mordecai’s sudden rise in power and identifies Esther as a suppliant. We also see the beautiful display of grace extended by the king in this circumstance, despite the fact that he is not a Jew like Esther and Mordecai.
Later, we see Esther petitioning the king, pleading for the Jews. We should note that she does not plead for them because of what they have done, but because of who they are. She calls them “my people” and “my family.” (Esther 8:6) We see Esther’s plea avails with the king, because Mordecai is authorized to write a decree assuring the Jews’ safety, which no man can remove. Then, the scribes are called in to write out the decree. This decree is to be sent to the furthest points of his kingdom with a copy written in every language; the Jews are to receive a copy of the decree as well. Now, Mordecai has the authority and power of the king behind him! These letters holding the decree were sent by every conceivable mode of transportation since it needed to be accomplished in a hurry - less than nine months remained before the Jews would be exterminated. These decrees were holding the message of salvation for the Jews, so they hastened the mission. (See Esther 8:9-14) Then, far exceeding the grace already extended to the Jews, the decree from the king also allows the Jews power to defend themselves against their enemies! Now we see Mordecai as beloved and exalted before the people. He arranges for the dispatch of the decree, and then goes out to the people as the second in power. (See Esther 8:15) This message is an indication that the Jews experienced great joy during this prosperous time. Many people probably abandoned their heathen religions and became Jews. (See Esther 8:17)
Now let us take a look at the events of Esther 9. This chapter begins by telling us of the deliverance of the Jews on the day that they were supposed to be conquered by their enemies. They have gathered themselves together and destroyed their enemies, and now the people who once have hated and opposed them now fear them and bow before Mordecai’s authority! (See Esther 9:1-4) Mordecai’s power has become great; even authorities are responding to Mordecai and helping the cause of the Jews. (See Esther 9:3) We also see the Jews’ victories over their enemies, where they slay five hundred men in Susa in one day! Haman’s sinful opposition of the Jews indeed serves to terminate his family, when all his sons are slain by the Jews. We have even more evidence of the king’s continued grace to the Jews through Esther’s relationship with him, when the king asks if Esther has any other requests! (See Esther 9:12) She requests that, since the job is not finished in Susa, that there be an extension in order to defeat her people’s enemies, and that the bodies of Haman’s sons be hung up for all to see as an example. This request is almost immediately done, and the following day, another five hundred are killed in Susa! Then, we see that out in the provinces, Jews have defended themselves and killed 75,000 Medes and Persians who are their enemies. Notice that they do not take any of the possessions of those whom they kill. (Esther 9:5-16) Then, the Jews feast and rejoice in Susa when these victories have been won, celebrating throughout the land and giving gifts to one another as a remembrance. This celebration initiated is now called the feast of Purim, recollected by Jews today. (See Esther 9:18-22) Finally, in Esther 10, we read the record of the advancement of Mordecai that is said to have been recorded in “the annals of the kings of Media and Persia.” (Esther 10:2)
This story of the exaltation of Mordecai has a spiritual application for us today. We know that Mordecai goes from being a poor, unknown Jew, to second in the kingdom of this great monarch of Xerxes. He never pushes himself or exalts himself, yet God is fully responsible for exalting him. In Philippians 2:3-4, we see this same directive from Paul, when he says we should “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Also in Matthew 23:12, Jesus teaches, “He that humbles himself shall be exalted, he who exalts himself shall be humbled.”
We should be encouraged by Esther’s supplication and the King’s acknowledgment of her in granting her request in Esther 8. This should show us the value of prayer and exhort us to pray fervently and ask for great things from God. Furthermore, the men carrying the good news of the edict are commanded to go quickly and deliver the message of life. We have likewise been commissioned to take the message of life to the perishing. Jesus commands us to “Go into all the world.” (Mark 16:15) The Jewish population receives the message in Esther with great joy, just as today the Christian population should joyfully receive this great gospel message of salvation!
We learn from the deliverance of the Jews that God is able in every circumstance and nothing is impossible with Him. God Himself asks Jeremiah, “Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) Scripture is rife with examples of God doing and performing seemingly impossible things. Daniel in the lion’s den, the walls of Jericho, and Isaac being born to Sarah when she is ninety years old are just a few examples of God’s performance of miracles in the history of Scripture. We can also learn from the joyous feast of Purim, which remembers this great story of Esther, Mordecai, and the Jews’ salvation in a miraculous event by recalling the sacrificial and redeeming death of our Lord Jesus for us.