No Time Like The Right Time

Title: No Time Like The Right Time

Bible Book: Esther

Author: Steve Wagers

Subject: Courage; Service; Providence



My high school coach had a formula for success that he reiterated on a daily basis. In fact, this formula was put on posters, boards, and banners to be visible at every turn. The formula was this: PREPARATION + OPPORTUNITY = VICTORY! We may be prepared for something, but never have the opportunity to achieve it. We may have the opportunity, but not be prepared to grasp it. However, when those two come together, preparation and opportunity, the outcome is always victory.

As I think about the epoch account of Esther, that formula comes to mind. A Jewish woman in a foreign land was prepared to be used of God. When God gave the opportunity, the outcome was victory and deliverance.

Central THEME

A wicked plot to exterminate the Jews is formed by Haman. God uses a Jewish woman, in a pagan land, named Esther, and a man named Mordecai to spoil the plot and deliver the Jews.

Central TRUTH

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?.” (Esther 4: 14)

“So will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4: 16)

Central THRUST

The story of Esther reminds us that no matter how dark the days become, and how hopeless the situation seems, God is actively reigning above and ruling below.

It was E. A. Johnston who wrote, “God is not a Creator who creates and disassociates Himself from the working of His own hands. In the story of Esther, we see providential preservation prevailing over perilous plans.” [1]

One aspect takes predominance in the book of Esther: THE NAME OF GOD IS NOT MENTIONED. The name of the Persian King is mentioned 190 times, but God is not mentioned at all. There is no mention of heaven, hell, eternity, Jerusalem, the Temple, or the Law of Moses. Henrietta Mears says, “Although God’s name is not mentioned, every page is full of the God who hides Himself behind every word. If the name of God is not here, we can rest assured His finger is.”[2]

I. The Unlikely Promotion


The story of Esther unfolds with a party in the palace of King Ahasuerus, also known as Xerxes. The location is Susa the capital of the Persian Empire.

480 B. C.—Battle of Salamis -Greece defeated Persia/Ahasuerus

Many believe that the feast described in Esther 1 was the occasion for planning the campaign against Greece. It was a time of peace and prosperity. The feast lasted for 6 months, or 180 days (1: 4) to display the glory, power and wealth of the kingdom of Ahasuerus.

The book of Esther takes place between Ezra 6 and 7. The 1st remnant of Jews has returned to Jerusalem, approximately 50,000, under the decree of Cyrus. In the midst of it all, an unlikely promotion takes place.


Two parties were taking place. The King entertained the men in the palace gardens, while the Queen, Vashti, entertained the women in her private apartment, the “royal house.” (1: 9)

[1: 10-12] “On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded… [11]To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. [12]But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him.”

Vashti’s refusal was met with great indignation. While no Persian woman would permit to be paraded on display, refusal a direct order from the King was impermissible.

[1: 19, 21] “If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. [21]And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan.”

Simply put, because of her insubordination, the King serves the Queen Vashti with divorce papers.

I applaud Vashti for her refusal to be a showgirl. Modesty is the crown jewel of womanhood.

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. [4]But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (1 Peter 3: 3-4)


With his divorce to Vashti, the Queen, the King went looking for a new wife.

[2: 4] “And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.”

The ground rules were laid down. The woman who pleased and struck a nerve with the King would become the new Queen. Sounds simple enough, right?

[2: 5-7] “Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. [6]Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. [7]And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.”

Mordecai was a part of the Jewish exiles. He had a cousin named Esther who he had taken as his own daughter. Mordecai kept an eye on Esther every day. Finally, the day came for her to go to the king’s quarters.

[2: 16-17] “So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. [17]And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.”

No mention of God, but His fingerprints is all over this event. How else could a Jewish girl become the wife of a Persian king, and the queen of a pagan land?

Esther: Born again Christian

(Slave to Superiority-Rags to Riches-Nobody to Somebody)

Mordecai: Holy Spirit

Esther depicts the renewed spirit that is given when a person becomes a Christian; “old things are passed away…all things become new.” She is under the influence and control of Mordecai, who is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Esther served as Queen for 13 years, even into the reign of her stepson, Artaxerxes. It was under Artaxerxes that Nehemiah was given permission to return home. Esther’s marriage to Xerxes paved the way for Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem. GOD KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING

Mordecai discovers a plot to assassinate the king. [2: 21-23] “In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king's gate, two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. [22]And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai's name. [23]And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out; therefore they were both hanged on a tree.” Mordecai’s deed is recorded in the annals of the kingdom. Its importance will soon become clear.

We may not always understand the leadership of the Holy Spirit, but if we follow His direction, He will never lead us contrary to the Word of God or the will of God, and His purpose will always become evident.

II. The Unrelenting Problem

Up to this point the story reads like a romance novel. However, that is all about to change as the wicked plot of a dastardly person begins to unfold.

A. Ruthless Conspiracy

[3: 1-2] “After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. [2]And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence”

Haman was an Agagite, better known as an Amalekite, a descendant of Esau, against whom God said He would make war forever. Descendants of Esau shared one common quality: INDEPENDENCE FROM GOD!

Esther represents the Christian

Mordecai represents the Holy Spirit

Haman represents the FLESH

The flesh has always been, and will always be anti-God, opposing God’s will at every turn, because of pride, vanity, and arrogance. That is the resume of the flesh, revealed by Haman.

[2: 5-6] “And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. [6]And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.”

Mordecai, the Holy Spirit, refused to bow to Haman, the flesh. As a result, Haman, the flesh, plans a revolt against Mordecai, the Holy Spirit. When Haman learns that Mordecai is a Jew, he not only seeks to destroy Mordecai personally, but the Jews nationally.

[3: 8] “And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.”

Haman hates the Jews because they march to a different drum beat, and obey a different principle. They don’t fit in, blend in, or mix in. They stick out like a sore thumb.


The flesh is constantly at work to oppose all that God wants to do in our lives, because the flesh wants to be in control and cause the Holy Spirit to abdicate the throne of our lives.

B. Priceless Counsel

Upon the recommendation of Haman, King Ahasuerus sends out letters to kill all Jews, then he and Haman sit down and toast to it. At this time, the King did not know that the plot to exterminate the Jews included his wife, Esther, who he did not know was a Jew. Mordecai becomes aware of the coming holocaust, and is filled with great grief. WHENEVER THE SCHEMES OF THE FLESH ARISE AND TAKE OVER, THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GRIEVED. Esther seeks to find out why Mordecai is so stricken with grief. Through a servant named “Hatach,” whose name means “The Truth,” Mordecai reveals the plan of Haman to Esther, and counsels her to approach the king on behalf of the Jews. Esther reminds Mordecai that he has asked a dangerous thing. [4: 11] “All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.”

To appear before the king without being summoned automatically incurred a death sentence.

Mordecai responds with immortal counsel. [4: 14] “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and WHO KNOWETH WHETHER THOU ART COME TO THE KINGDOM FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS?” Mordecai says, “Esther, if you don’t do something, or say something, then the deliverance of the Jews will come from somewhere else, but you, and your family will be destroyed. How do you know that you have not been brought into the kingdom for this very purpose?”


C. Timeless Courage

Mordecai’s counsel ignited a blaze of courage in the heart of Queen Esther. It seems that the very reason for her existence is now painted on the canvas of her mind.

[4: 16] “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and IF I PERISH, I PERISH.”

Esther says, “You know what, Mordecai, you are right. What do I have to lose? If I die, then it is no loss, because, as a Jew, I was going to die anyway?”

Ray Stedman writes, “Courage is not the lack of fear, but the willingness to take a risky, bold step even when we are filled with fear and anxiety.” [3]



Are you willing to do something you’ve never done to go somewhere you’ve never gone to be something you’ve never been? What do you have to lose? The devil can’t destroy, the world can’t defeat you, and the flesh doesn’t have to disqualify you. The Father is OVER you, the Son is FOR you, and the Spirit is IN you, so what do you have to lose?

After 3 days, Esther goes where no Jew has gone before. [5: 1-3] “Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. [2]And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the scepter. [3]Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, Queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.”

Esther, the Christian, follows the instruction/counsel of Mordecai, the Holy Spirit, and she receives the incredible and achieves the impossible.



III. The Unseen Providence

As I said earlier, the name of God is nowhere found in this story; but, the hand of God is on every page. Jerry Vines says, “Providence is the hand of God in the glove of history.”

When the King held out the golden scepter, Esther receives confirmation that her life will be spared. God is working behind the scenes and in the shadows, overruling in human affairs to work out His sovereign purpose.

[5: 8] “If I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to morrow as the king hath said.”

Esther requests that a banquet be held, and Haman receives an invitation. Of course, Haman, the prideful flesh, gloats in arrogance thinking that he has succeeded in his plot. [5: 9] “Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.”

Haman’s friends offer him a solution to get rid of Mordecai. [5: 14] “Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.”

All of this serves as a reminder of the unseen providence of God. So, let the party begin!


[6: 1-3] “On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king. [2]And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. [3]And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him.”

The providential hand of God interrupted the sleep pattern of the king on this particular night. Trying to go back to sleep, the king begins to read of how Mordecai had earlier spared his life by spoiling the plot to kill him. He then discovers that nothing has been done to reward Mordecai for his noble deed.


Haman struts in thinking that is no one in the kings’ court more worthy of honor than himself, but the tables of God’s providence are beginning to turn.

1. Publicly HUMILIATED

Thinking that the King would surely honor him, Haman responds to the king’s question. [6: 7-9] “And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour. [8]Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head. [9]And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.”

The king likes the idea. [6: 10] “Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king's gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken.”

Look at poor, little Haman. [6: 12-13] “Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. [13]And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.”



His wife, and the same friends that just told him to hang Mordecai, now tells him that Mordecai is the winner and Haman is the Loser. AIN’T GOD GOOD?

2. Publicly HANGED

Haman comes to the banquet, and Esther reveals his plot, to destroy the Jews, to the King. Before now, Esther had not revealed that she was a Jew. When the king discovers that the extermination of the Jews included Esther, he puts out a death warrant on the man who has devised this wicked plot.

Haman pleads his case before Esther, and throws himself across her bed. [7: 8] “Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face.”

[7: 10] “So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified.”

Haman plays the part of HANG-MAN! He is hanged on the very gallows prepared for Mordecai. AIN’T GOD GOOD? Justice is served.

Down through history, Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler has sought to exterminate the Jewish nation, and the devil has sought to destroy the church.

They have perished; GOD HAS PREVAILED!

“No weapon formed against us shall prosper.”

“The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

“If God be for us, who can be against us?”

The world, the flesh and the devil are all on borrowed time. Jesus has already won the victory!


[8: 1-2] “On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews' enemy unto Esther the queen? And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her. [2]And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.”

Esther 9: The Deliverance of Israel

“No man could withstand them…Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.” (9: 2, 5)

1. Festive Celebration

[9: 19, 28] “Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelt in the unwalled towns, made the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another. [28] And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.”

Feast of Purim:

Authenticates the story of Esther

Celebrates the deliverance of Israel

Commemorates a day of Thanksgiving

Still observed today

2. Future Anticipation

Two OT women—books

Ruth: A Gentile woman who married a Jew

Esther: A Jewish woman who married a Gentile

Ruth: Seed of the Deliverer to come

Esther: Spares the Seed so the Deliverer can come

Two feasts in Esther:

Esther 1: Feast of the world’s prince—Ahasuerus

Esther 9-10: Feast of God’s prince—Mordecai

Two thrones in Esther:

Haman: Flesh (Temporary)

Mordecai: Spirit (Triumphant)


The name of God is not mentioned, but the hand of God used this woman of God to spare the people of God so that the Son of God might come to demonstrate the love of God.

God took the wrong man out so he could ultimately bring the right man in.

Amy Carmichael as a little brown eyed girl prayed that God would give her blue eyes. She even asked her mother to pray with her that God would give her blue eyes. Her mother said, "But honey, God gave you brown eyes. He wanted you to have brown eyes and He gave you brown eyes for a reason."

Years later, while a missionary in India, Amy Carmichael realized the truth of her mother's words. When persecution broke out, the Christians were some of the first that were arrested. Amy Carmichael overheard a group of soldiers talking, "Get all the Christians, especially the Carmichael woman." One soldier asked, "How will we know her?" He was answered, "She is a foreigner. All foreigners have blue eyes. Look for everyone with blue eyes." Amy Carmichael finally understood why God gave her brown eyes.

When we know the WHO, we can bear almost any HOW, WHEN, WHAT or WHERE.

The book of Esther reminds us that even when we can’t see God’s hand, we can trust God’s heart. Even if we can’t hear His name, we won’t forget His nature.

He was God all day yesterday; He is God all day today; and, He will be God all day tomorrow. He’s still on the throne, in control, in charge, and nothing is out of His sight.


1) “Know the Book,” E. A. Johnston, pg. 45.

2) “What the Bible is All About,” Henrietta Mears, pg. 171.

3) “Adventuring Through the Bible,” Ray Stedman, pg. 232.



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