The tables turned for Mordecai. We love stories like this: The good and the innocent receive a surprising deliverance, and the wicked are shamed.
It was supposed to be the day that Mordecai was hanged from a ridiculously high gallows. Haman had plotted to have Mordecai executed. But at the very moment when Haman was going to request that the king have Mordecai hanged, the king turned the tables. The absent-minded King Ahasuerus told Haman to parade Mordecai through the streets – as if Mordecai were the king.
It is humorous. Haman had been thinking to himself that the king would honor him in that way. Instead, the king told Haman to honor Haman’s own archenemy in that way. The tables turned. Things were flipped upside down. This is what God does for his people.
The apostle Paul said that God, through the work of Christ on the cross, disarmed the rulers and authorities of this world and put them to “open shame.” God “triumphed” over them in Christ (Colossians 2:15). Haman here was put to open shame – a shame he had to live out in silence. Mordecai triumphed over Haman, and he didn’t even have to try.
Haman was a “ruler and authority” in the world of the exiled Jews in Persia. Sin is the ruler and authority we see put to open shame by Christ today.
And Haman’s wife, Zeresh, knew what was going on. It’s like she could sense it. She told Haman that he was beginning to lose his grip on his high position in the Persian court. And if Mordecai really was a Jew, Zeresh told Haman, “you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.”
That is, there was something special about these Jews.
Zeresh reminded me of Pontius Pilate’s wife. Pilate was the Roman governor who technically sentenced Jesus to death on the cross. But Pilate’s wife warned her husband, even while Pilate was trying to decide how to handle the case: “Have nothing to do with that righteous man …” (Matthew 27:19). There was something special about Jesus.
God has a way of snatching his people out of the jaws of death. The Bible is full of episodes like this. Think about Joseph dumped in a dry well by his brothers and sold into slavery. Think about the people of Israel by the Red Sea. Think about David facing off with Goliath. Think about Daniel in the lion’s den.
The stories go on and on. God loves to deliver his people. I wonder if their reputation preceded them. Maybe even the pagan people knew some of those stories – rumors of a powerful God who refused to let his people be put to shame – a powerful God who brought blessing for his people even in the most dire of moments.
(Read and ponder Numbers 24:3-9 when you get the chance. That’s a blessing given to God’s people by a man who was hired to curse them!)
Mordecai’s salvation came after King Ahasuerus couldn’t sleep. This was no coincidence. A restless night made the king sit up and listen to the reading of the court record – “the book of memorable deeds.” Written there was the story of Mordecai’s uncovering of a plot against King Ahasuerus’ life.
Ahasuerus sat up late at night and listened to his own salvation story! Do you ever struggle to sleep and then open up your Bible?
It is good to write down the blessings of God. We need to remember those moments. We need to give credit where credit is due. The kings of Persia did this. The Jews did this. Perhaps we ought to do this to.
To remember these things – particularly to remember the salvation that’s been given to us through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead – is to train our minds in our new reality.
Our new reality is that we are children of God with nothing to fear.