Scripture

Esther 6

1 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2 It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.

3 “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked.

"Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered.

4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him.

5 His attendants answered, “Haman is standing in the court.”

“Bring him in,” the king ordered.

6 When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”

Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” 7 So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’”

10 “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”

11 So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”

12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief, 13 and told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him.

His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet Esther had prepared.

Reflection

What a turn!? Haman, thinking of himself, planned the celebration for the man he has already taken steps to have killed. Now, he’s in an impossible position to carry out his plan. If he tries, he surely risks his own life as he’d be opposing the man who saved the king’s life. We know of no such act Haman has done for the king. The control he had on the story is swiftly taken away as he is literally whisked away to the banquet Esther is hosting where she will reveal her petition to save her people from destruction. Will Haman’s schemes be exposed? So far, Xerxes and Haman and their pompous hedonism have dominated the story. One restless night of sleep changes everything.

We need sleep. We are not made to be machines. God rested on the seventh day. He makes us in his image which, in part, means we must rest too. But God often speaks to us in our sleepless nights. Fasting and praying through the night can lead to supernatural breakthroughs. Inspired by the Moravians, John Wesley established Night Watch services or Covenant Renewal services so the church would fervently seek God and renew their covenant with him through worship and prayer. God gives us dreams and visions. God, who lives in eternity, isn’t exactly on our same rest schedule. We don’t always rest at the same time. While we are asleep and at rest, God’s working. He’ll wake us up if he wants to use us. Have you ever been awakened by God? What was that like? What did he teach you about himself? Have there been times in your life where you felt the Holy Spirit prompting you to pray but you ignored it because of what time it was? I wonder what miracles of grace and healing we miss by not following through on the promptings of the Holy Spirit?  

Prayer

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise (from Psalm 51).