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Once Upon a Sleepless Night

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
June 25, 2021 12:00 am

Once Upon a Sleepless Night

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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June 25, 2021 12:00 am

Haman has effectively lured the king to sleep with his deceit and cunning and has even talked him into warranting the death of thousands of people. But in today’s message we will watch as God gives the king a dramatic wake-up call! Join Stephen in this message to see how He does it.

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There may be times in life when we don't understand what God is doing, but there's never a time when God isn't in complete control of your life. As the psalmist said, God never slumbers or sleeps. Because God is never tired, you can be.

Because God never sleeps, we can. We don't have to be in control of every situation and every circumstance and every person because God already is. In the story of Esther, we encounter a character named Haman. Haman has effectively manipulated the king with his deceit and cunning. He's talked the king into warranting the death of thousands of people. But in today's message, God gives the king a dramatic wake-up call. But we need to be careful because it might be that we're a lot more like Haman than we care to admit.

This is wisdom for the heart. Stephen Davey continues through a series from Esther with this message called Once Upon a Sleepless Night. Let's go back into this drama now and try our best to keep up with some rather interesting twists and turns. We're in the book of Esther at chapter 5 now and verse 1. Now it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace in front of the king's rooms. And the king was sitting on his royal throne in the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight. Now, you want to stop here for just a moment because that was rather unexpected.

You probably read ahead anyway. But nobody expected the king to give her his favor. In fact, this is a little too easy even for the rabbis going back centuries. And so in the Greek version of the Old Testament, they decided to add about a hundred verses as I've told you before. And right here is where they insert some of those verses to try to make it a little bit more believable. Frankly, what happens is God is at work in this king's heart and she violates all of the protocol stating to the king that her time is more important than his, which wouldn't go over very well. Notice here verse 2, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter. This was all court protocol before the king.

At best, instead of being rebuked and dismissed by an irritated king, the king gives her his undivided attention and bends the scepter toward her, which was tantamount to saying, come on in and tell me what's on your mind. This was absolutely shocking. In fact, the entire court screeches to a halt. I remember going to the courthouse downtown Raleigh to pay for a ticket I'd gotten where evidently the radar gun and the state trooper had malfunctioned. A friend of mine was a judge, so after paying for my fine, I slipped into the back of his courtroom, which was in session. Sitting on the front row, I could just make out the shoulders, the heads of men dressed, about six of them in orange jump suits. Evidently, the case, my friend was dealing with a case that had something to do with them and he motioned, I was going to slip back out.

He spotted me at the back and he motioned for me to come forward. Talk about conspicuous. Everything just sort of ground to a halt. I wanted to be buried somewhere.

Imagine multiplying that by a few million. This judge has not invited Esther to stop by and say hello. The Esther we would expect, apart from the providence of God, would lose her head that afternoon. But instead, and I'm convinced to everyone's surprise, he asks her in verse three, look there, what is troubling you, Queen Esther, and what is your request? Note this, even to half of the kingdom, it shall be given to you.

What's bothering you? The phrase even half of the kingdom is an expression which meant he's willing to do whatever he can do to satisfy her request. He's basically saying, well, I'm in a good mood. Esther says in verse four, if it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.

Now that's surprising. In other words, what I want you to do is come to my quarters, the queen's quarters, after work and eat supper with me. Oh, and by the way, bring the prime minister with you when you come. By inviting Haman, she accomplishes several things. The first thing she does is she allows the ego of Haman to blind his eyesight. Any suspicions he would have automatically entertained about why the queen is risking her life to have supper with the king, something's up, those suspicions would have been immediately neutralized.

He's so caught away with the fact that he gets invited. This was evidently not what Esther had originally planned to do. We know that from earlier where she told Mordecai, call everyone to fast, the sacred assembly. But during that three-day fast, God's wisdom is obviously at work in her heart.

And so she formulates this plan that is going to do this amazing thing. She is going to have the king and the conspirator, the prime minister, Haman, alone with her, which means then she has pulled them away from the court, away from the press, away from the obvious public embarrassment that will come to the king once he discovers that by his own order, an edict has been signed, which puts her to death. So the king, and I'm going to summarize for the sake of time as much as I can, but they arrive for dinner.

When the meal is over, the king and Haman are drinking wine. End of the meal, verse six, look there, the king said to Esther, okay, out with it, basically, put your petition for it shall be granted to you. So Esther replies, verse seven, my petition and my request is this, if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and do what I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet, which I will prepare for them and tomorrow I will do as the king says.

Now, where in the world did that come from? She doesn't need a double reinforcement from the king. In fact, what she's doing is risking his irritation.

This is a man that doesn't wait for anybody. Now she's making him wait. What I believe is happening here, ladies and gentlemen, is the providence of God is moving Esther to keep from asking.

At that moment, he muzzles her mouth. Now, from her perspective, she might have been afraid. From her perspective, had you asked her, she might have frozen up. She might have lost her courage. But from God's perspective, this way, it was his plan that she not ask until the following evening. Why?

Because a lot of things have to take place in the next 24 hours for this plan to succeed. Things outside the plan of Esther. Things unknown to Esther. In fact, what Esther doesn't know is her plan to keep the Jewish people alive is still going to crush her because before that can happen, Mordecai will be dead. She doesn't know that Haman's going to go home and plan Mordecai's death.

It'll be too late. And here's why. Look at verse 9. Then Haman went out that day glad and pleased of heart.

I mean, he's just all a flutter. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he did not stand up or tremble before him, Haman was filled with anger against Mordecai. Now, evidently, Mordecai's taken off his sackcloth.

He knew evidently that Esther had a favorable reception by the king. He puts on his clothing. He's back at his desk in the king's gate. That was the palace administration office, as we've talked about. He's inside.

He's evidently sitting at his desk. When Haman walks out, everybody who's seated stands and then bows in reverence to him except Mordecai, who stays seated. Now it's no longer an issue of, well, he just didn't see Mordecai not bowing. Now Mordecai in front of him refuses to get out of his seat and bow down.

But Haman controlled himself. No one's going to spoil his party. He's just been invited back to dine with the king and queen again.

I mean, once is a mystery, twice is a pattern. I mean, this is exciting. I might as well just tell my wife not to expect me for supper from here on out. This is the best day of my life. Tomorrow is going to be even better. Verse 10 tells us he went to his house and sent for his friends and his wife, Zarech.

Wait until they hear what happened to me today. Verse 11, then Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches and the number of his sons in every instance where the king had magnified him and how the king had promoted him above the princes and servants of the king, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. That's in the Hebrew text between the lines, right? Like narcissists here. This Greek legend tells us his greatest love was his own reflection. You ever heard of that little ditty when you were a kid?

I learned at a camp. Oh, it's so hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way. I can't take my eyes off the mirror because I get better looking each day.

Camp was a high moment in my spiritual life. And this is Haman's favorite song. Haman is frankly one gigantic hot air balloon. Self-conceited, self-absorbed, self-applauding, self-promoting. But did you notice here in the text that even though he's going on and on and on about how great his life is and how wonderful he is, at the core of his being, he is still dissatisfied. Verse 13, he says to them, yet all of this does not satisfy me. Every time I see Mordecai, the Jew sitting at the king's gate. This is classic human nature. I got 99 things but I want 100.

I got 100 and I want 101. The one thing out of reach keeps me from enjoying everything I now have. Is there something that you don't have?

Is there something that you can't reach and yet you've pulled it up so close to your heart and your eyes you can't see anything else? The truth is we are a lot more like Haman than we want to admit. The favorite person in our world to please is ourselves.

Our most favorite topic of conversation is who we are and what we want or how we feel. Haman craves for one thing he doesn't have and it will be like narcissists his undoing. Now at this point his wife and his friends rally around him and they basically give him fairly ungodly crass and cruel advice. Look at verse 14, they said have a gallow 50 cubits high made in the morning, ask the king to have Mordecai hang on it, then go joyfully with the king to the banquet, go eat, kill the guy, go eat. And the advice pleased Haman so he had the gallows made.

See Esther doesn't know about this. Her second banquet the next evening will be too late, Mordecai will be dead. Build the gallows 50 cubits high, that's seven stories, 75 feet high. Let's make sure nobody can miss it.

Zareh says make sure it's 75 feet high, nobody can miss. This is what happens to people who do not bow to your glory. At this point in the drama frankly things have never looked worse. Esther's plan isn't going to work, Mordecai's plan isn't going to work. In fact Mordecai is a dead man unless God does something during the night and does God ever do something during the night. Chapter 6 verse 1, during the night the king could not sleep. I love that. The king could not sleep. So he gave an order to bring the book of records, the chronicles and they were read before the king.

I love this. The king's in his bedchamber, he can't fall asleep, nothing works. So he calls the servant and says look I want you to begin to read from literally the words of the days, the words of the days. This is the Persian equivalent to the congressional record, that'll knock anybody out too. Of all the thousands of items as that man has access to these records and the Persians were world renowned for their record keeping. Of all the places the servant could choose to begin to read, he turns to some events that occurred five years earlier where a man named Mordecai heard about a plot that was going to take the life of the king, told Esther and the king's life was spared.

The reading of this event by the way did several things. It brings up audibly into the king's mind the two names of his loyal subjects, Esther and Mordecai. Brought to his mind as well that he's never rewarded Mordecai for his act of loyalty and saving the king's life. So he asked in verse 3, look there what honor and dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this? And the servant scans the record, he looks a few paragraphs down and back up, it changes topic, subject and he says king you've done nothing for him. This is out of character for Persian customs, he's already rewarded faithful soldiers with plots of land, he's already made one man the governor of Cilicia for saving the king's, his brother. But this king has failed to fulfill his royal duty and get this, you'll find out a little later but right now he learns in the reading that Mordecai happens to be a what?

A Jew. How can he promote someone that he is condemned to die? And that provoked my thinking, in fact I went back and we don't have time to do this today I'll just give you the result but I went back to chapter 3 and read it even more carefully than ever before and it occurred to me, it is true, it struck me Haman is the one who actually wrote the edict. Haman is the one who sealed the edict with the ring the king had given him. It's quite possible that Ahasuerus' callous disregard for life led him to not even care to find out who the people were that Haman wanted to kill, doesn't matter to me, Haman just killed them.

So he doesn't know. And just about the time the servant informs the king that his loyal subject Mordecai, the Jew has never been rewarded guess who shows up early at the king's court because this is going to be the greatest day of his life. Haman, that hot air balloon has descended to get started with his special day.

Just finished building his gallows, he's been up all night too, he's got a private engagement with the king and queen, this is going to be the greatest day of his life. Verse 6, so Haman came in and the king said to him, what is to be done for the man whom the king desires honor? I think that's a legitimate question, I don't think he's trying to trip above Haman. Well Haman of course thinks it's all about him and he's obviously done some thinking because immediately he's able to list six things, pulls out his list.

Well, you just so happened to ask. Verse 7, for the man whom the king desires honor, verse 8, let them bring a royal robe which the king has worn and the horse on which the king has ridden and on whose head a royal crown has been placed. Now stop a moment, he's saying don't just give that man a horse, give him a horse you've ridden, that's special.

Don't just give him a robe, give him one of your personal robes that you have worn and again this would be special to us. So Haman's figured all this out, he's been waiting, now's my moment, is this day going to be great or what? What happens next is what I'll simply call the great reversal. Verse 10, then the king said to Haman, take quickly the robes and the horse as you've said and do so for Mordecai the Jew who is sitting at the king's gate, do not fall short in anything of all that you have said. The Hebrew construction indicates that it'll be Haman who actually dresses Mordecai. It'll be Haman who actually kneels down which would be their custom and Mordecai will step on his back to get up on the saddle. It'll be Haman who leads the horse along declaring the glory of the one the king desires to honor. This is a series of crushing blows.

It's a great reversal. Mordecai has gone from sackcloth to honor, from grief to glory. Haman goes from glory to grief.

He covers his head. His mood now of course entirely changed, he's worried, his wife and friends regather. Instead of helping him lick his wounds, they deliver a prophecy and they still don't deliver it to its fullest extent, they just figure he's going to lose his job. But notice what they say in verse 13 to him, if Mordecai before whom you've begun to fall is of Jewish origin, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.

And according to the text verse 14, these words are just coming out of their mouths when the king's limousine shows up to whisk Haman away to the second banquet which will effectively be his last meal. Only God can arrange the timing of these events. This is the work of providence. There are some observations I want to give you about the providence of God as we wrap this study up today.

Let me give you three of them. First, God is at work even when circumstances are uncontrollable. I'm not sure about this but I have little doubt that during this sleepless night news was delivered to Mordecai and probably onto Esther that there was a gallows being constructed to an exaggerated height of 75 feet and it wouldn't take long for them to figure out why. It's possible that that news might even galvanize Esther to not delay any longer. This is going to be stunning news that she delivers that we'll study at a later time but God had to be at work because as much planning as she had gone through, events were outside of her control.

Secondly, God is at work even when life is unpredictable. Think about Mordecai all by himself. He's a nobody from nowhere and then he's promoted to work directly for the king inside the administrative wing of the palace. Then he's sentenced to death by Haman's edict and then he's lamenting outside the palace in Sakhalin.

Then he's rewarded by the king and then he is mounted on the king's own horse. By now Mordecai ought to have motion sickness with all the changes in his life. Talk about unpredictable. Ladies and gentlemen, here's the point I want to make. Stability in life never comes from life. If you're waiting for everything to get figured out and for life to become predictable, you're waiting for the wrong thing. Stability in life does not come from life. It comes from the one who gives us life and whatever stability we have is in him.

In fact, the stability comes from trusting and knowing that God is at work even when life is unpredictable. Third, God is at work even when sin seems unstoppable. The edict has been written into the law of Medes and Persians. It's unchangeable. What we'll find out later that many believers don't know is that the edict is going to be carried out. What will happen is that the Jews will be allowed to defend themselves. This gallows is seven stories high.

It's not coming down anytime soon. Things never looked worse but God was at work. As the psalmist said, God never slumbers or sleeps. So when you have trouble sleeping, he's awake with you. When you finally go off to sleep, he works on. Because God is never tired, you can be.

Isn't that good to know? Because God never sleeps, we can. We don't have to be in control of every situation and every circumstance and every person because God already is. The events of life are his horsemen riding upon the winds of his will. His actions and counter-actions, his plans and his counter-plans are moving about the universe and your life with perfect precision and irresistible power. God is at work even when circumstances are uncontrollable, even when life is unpredictable, even when sin seems unstoppable. There is a gallows seventy-five feet high.

Have I said that yet? And a king just can't sleep. Think about it. If he had gone to sleep, none of this would have taken place. He just couldn't sleep. William Cooper was befriended by John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace.

In fact, he was discipled by Newton. Cooper, as a believer, still struggled with bouts of suicidal depression. One evening he called for a carriage and ordered the driver to take him to the Uss River where he planned to throw himself in and drown. The river was three miles away. The driver picked up quickly the state of mind of his passenger and knew that would be the only reason he wanted to be taken to the river. And he would say later that he breathed the prayer of thanks as they were driving toward the river and suddenly a thick fog came out of nowhere. The driver intentionally got lost in the fog as Cooper fell into a deep sleep in the carriage behind him. After several hours, he pulled the carriage back up at Cooper's home. Cooper woke up and said, we're home and why is that? The carriage driver said to him, well sir, it was the fog.

I'm sorry. Cooper paid his fare, went into his home and pondered how he had been spared from harming himself by what he would claim to be nothing less than the providence of God. And that same night, he would write the lyrics to his most famous hymn, 1774 was the year he wrote this and that very night, these lyrics. God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. He plans his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm. Deep in unfathomable minds of never failing skill, he treasures up his bright designs and works his sovereign will. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace. For behind a frowning providence, he hides a smiling face.

God is in complete control over all the affairs of your life and often the interpretation that we bring to our circumstances lacks perspective because we can't always know what God has in mind for us, but we can know that he's always at work and that his ways are always good. This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. We're glad you joined us today. This message is called Once Upon a Sleepless Night. It's the sixth message in Stephen's series through Esther. Did you know that you can have free and unlimited access to all of Stephen's Bible teaching? Our website is wisdomonline.org. We have Stephen's Bible teaching archive posted there as well as these daily Bible messages. All of that content is available free and on demand. You can listen to each message or download the audio file. You can also read the manuscript Stephen wrote when he prepared these messages. All of that and more is available at wisdomonline.org. If you have a smartphone, a tablet, or a smart TV, all of that content is available in the Wisdom International app. Wisdom International is completely listener supported. If you'd like to support us, send your gift to Wisdom for the Heart, P.O. Box 37297, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27627. Please make plans to join us again next time right here on Wisdom for the Heart. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-26 23:26:08 / 2023-09-26 23:35:57 / 10

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