Binding the Strong Man — Dr Liam Goligher’s 8th sermon on the book of Esther.
Binding the strong man
Esther is in the cockpit of the battle between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of Our Lord, and at this part of the story she is facing possibly the greatest part of the battle.
Hamaan, the antichrist figure, was hoist on his own petard. He has been trying to eradicate the Jews but he is caught in his own trap. Hamaan is a type of the great dragon in Revelation 12 waiting for the woman to give birth to the child when just as he was about to pounce, the child was spirited away.
Reversal of fortunes — poetic justice
Jesus’ being hung on the Cross spelled the embarrassment, the failure, the ridicule of all of His enemies:
He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:15 ESV)
In a prefigurement of this, Hamaan this antichrist figure is put to open shame. King Asheuerus has Hamaan hung on the guillotine which Hamaan had built to kill Mordecai. And the King gives Esther all the goods of the house of Hamaan. She was originally a nobody — an orphan taken as a sex-slave into the King’s hareem and sequestered from the world — and now she owns all of Hamaan’s wealth!
Esther tells the King what Mordecai was to her: how he had brought her up and earnestly cared for her even from a distance while she was in the hareem. This makes the king feel even more gratitude to Mordecai, so he exalts Mordecai to be his prime minister.
But the Jews were still in danger. The law of the Medes and Persians cannot be revoked, and the edict for the annihilation of the Jews still stands. Esther bravely takes another initiative: she falls at the King’s feet pleading for him to revoke the edict. She is under less tension because she herself is no longer in danger, so the dam bursts — she weeps. She intercedes with emotion… and the King reaches out the royal sceptre, giving her permission to speak. So she masters her emotions and use courtly language to beg for her people:
“If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king.”
And with all her diplomatic courtly language, her passion still comes through:
“For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?”
Her intercession is successful; reversal of fortunes now comes to all the Jews, the people of God.
Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.”
So Mordecai composes another law, a law that contradicts the law which Hamaan had written. This law empowers the Jews to gather and defend their lives against all their enemies. At each point Hamaan’s edict is undone by Mordecai’s edict.
It is a picture of how the law of sin and death is undone by Jesus the Messiah.
In the light of a king’s face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain. (Proverbs 16:15)
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