Tuesday, 22nd March 2022
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Chapter One – The Upper Beam is Not Straight, the Lower Beam is Crooked
V10-12 ‘On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.’ The king wanted to show off his wife. He already held a party for 180 days, he had so many things to show off to his guests, and somehow, he ran out of things to show them. So, he called his queen to come out. When the queen refused to obey him, he felt ashamed in front of his guests, and he got angry.
When the hearts of the people in authority are not right, then the followers will also walk astray. When the upper beam is not straight in a house, then all the beams trying to align with it will also be crooked. As leaders, are we able to commit to the vision of God and hold onto the responsibilities given to us from God?
Chapter Two – Humble and Obey, Receive Blessings
V7 ‘And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.’ Mordecai saw Hadassah and called her Esther; the name of Esther means stars and Mordecai her as the beautiful stars in the dark sky. Do not use the earthly eyesight to look at people, instead see how God sees them.
V8 ‘So it was, when the king’s command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at Shushan the citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women.’ Why would Mordecai be willing to send Esther to the cruel king? Mordecai knew God has a special purpose in Esther’s life, he changed her name and brought her up in the way of God.
V10-11 ‘Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it. And every day Mordecai paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters, to learn of Esther’s welfare and what was happening to her.’ Mordecai told Esther not to reveal her true family background, Esther followed his instructions with obedience. Can we also follow with obedience and humility? We will have a lot of thoughts and values of our own, but are we willing to let go of what we hold onto, simply follow God and follow our authority? With love and trust, we must learn to be humble and obey. Mordecai did not leave Esther by herself; he went to see her every day to make sure she was safe. We don’t know how much God and our authority love us, they will not leave us by ourselves.
V20 ‘Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him.’ Esther has always been obedient to Mordecai, during her upbringing, she has listened and obeyed. God brought us to church and appointed authorities to look after us, we should be willing to listen and to follow. Mordecai never left Esther, he was always outside the palace, making sure Esther was safe.
V21-22 ‘In those days, while Mordecai sat within the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, doorkeepers, became furious and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. So the matter became known to Mordecai, who told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name.’ Mordecai was outside the king’s gate and therefore, he heard the plot of people trying to assassinate the king. When Mordecai instructed Esther to inform the king, she used Mordecai’s name instead of her own name. Do we recognise our authorities? Do we know that all blessings are coming from the top? Esther knew this secrete and therefore she was able to receive blessings.
Chapter Three – Follow God’s Road Firmly and Not Be Shaken
V1 ‘After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him.’ The king was saved by Mordecai, but somehow the king uplifted Haman. The Agagites are from the Amalekites, who were the decedents of Esau, the brother of Jacob. From the Book of Genesis, we know that Esau and Jacob had been fighting with each other since they were young.
以斯帖记 1~3 – 在这个大环境中跟从神
1:13 -22 当王后瓦实提不听从王命的时候，亚哈随鲁王就非常生气。 一个内心没有平安只有混乱的人生气的时候，会把家里的事拿出来当成法庭上的事来问其他人的意见，用国法来为了一件小的家事而惩罚自己的家人。这些提意见的大臣为了自己打算而给王提馊主意，因为他们怕自己的太太也会藐视自己。当王自己没有看重关系、没有看重自己的家人时，上梁不正下梁歪，他下面的群臣也不会看重家庭关系。我们在神的家中当领袖也要谨慎，因为当上面做领袖的人心不对的时候，下面的人也会出现问题。
2:1-11 王废了王后瓦实提之后又开始想念她，于是大臣建议招选国内众美女入宫选新王后 。书珊城住着一个曾经被巴比伦王从耶路撒冷掳来的犹大人末底改，他叔叔的女儿原名哈大沙（意思是“桃金娘”），但末底改收养她后将她的名字改为以斯帖（意思是“星星”），预表着在犹大人被波斯国统治的黑暗年代，末底改看以斯帖如星星一样，虽然微小，却照亮黑暗的天空。我们能否用神的眼光去看别人？当我们看到人有神同在的时候，那人就真的不一样。在末底改的抚养教育下，以斯帖长大成人，被送入王宫。从人的眼光来看，这似乎是送羊入虎口，但末底改可以看到神的心意，“不入虎穴焉得虎子”，他知道以斯帖将来是要被高举的。唯有一件事末底改嘱咐以斯帖“不可叫人知道”，就是她的犹大人身份。以斯帖或许不明白养父末底改对她的要求，但她不是用理性去质疑，而是用在生命树气息下的谦卑顺服来跟从、相信末底改。我们跟从神的时候，是否会质疑权柄所吩咐我们的事？有很多事情我们不知道为什么会发生，但此时我们是否对我们的权柄仍然有爱有信任？末底改将以斯帖送入宫中之后，仍然每一天都去关心以斯帖的状况。我们很多时候可能不满权柄对我们的安排，却不知道他们在背后是多爱我们。
亚哈随鲁王在被末底改救了一命之后，反而高举哈曼 – 一个亚玛力人的后裔，甚至昏庸到让底下的臣仆都去跪拜哈曼，“唯独末底改不跪不拜”（3:2）。周围的臣仆为了避免被问责，就天天劝说末底改，见劝说无用，便报告给哈曼。末底改虽然叫以斯帖隐瞒自己的身份，但他并非一个贪生怕死的人，他大胆告知别人自己是犹大人的身份。出埃及记17:8-16记载了当年以色列人出埃及时，亚玛力人阻止以色列人跟从摩西进入神给他们的应许之地。亚玛力人其实是以扫的后代（创世纪36:1，12） ，而雅各（以色列）和以扫在母腹中就是相争的，所以他们的后裔也彼此相争。亚玛力人跟神作对，于是神“要将亚玛力的名号从天下全然涂抹了”（出17:14），这也是为什么犹大人（以色列人）绝不能屈服于亚玛力人。末底改这样行，惹恼哈曼，于是就怂恿亚哈随鲁王要杀死全国的犹大人。他以为末底改跟亚哈随鲁王一样好操弄，却不知道，“星星”以斯帖早已在宫中。