Esther 6: 3-4- “What reward did we ever give Mordecai for this?” the king asked. His courtiers replied, “Nothing!” “Who is on duty in the outer court?” the king inquired. As it happened, Haman had just arrived in the palace’s outer court to ask the king to hang Mordecai from the gallows he was building. TLB
Mordecai was a Benjaminite. He had been captured by King Nebuchadnezzar and was exiled to Babylon along with others from the tribe of Judah. Mordecai’s family had also been exiled, and at some point, he became the guardian of Hadassah, his niece.
When the king decided to replace Queen Vashti with a new, younger version of a queen, Hadassah, aka Esther, was chosen to participate in the contest. Mordecai told her not to reveal that she was a Jew, so she didn’t. As she went through the royal treatments to prepare for the king, Mordecai would stop at the gate to inquire how she was getting along.
Esther became queen, and Mordecai became an official to the king. While performing his duties, he heard of a plot against the king.
One day as Mordecai was on duty at the palace, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh—who were guards at the palace gate—became angry at the king and plotted to assassinate him. Mordecai heard about it and passed on the information to Queen Esther, who told the king, crediting Mordecai with the information. An investigation was made, the two men found guilty, and impaled alive. This was all duly recorded in the book of the history of King Ahasuerus’ reign.Esther 2:21-23 TLB
Mordecai saved the king’s life! While the king was grateful, he forgot all about it. How can you forget something as monumental as someone saving your life? Maybe it was put on the back burner with everything else going on. Have you ever done something for someone that was a game changer for them, and they didn’t acknowledge it? It happens all the time! Sometimes we are the person who was forgotten, and other times we are the person who fails to remember. But God never forgets!
Haman becomes prime minister, and he’s the guy that no one likes except the king. Everyone knows he is cruel, arrogant, self-serving, and pretentious, but he’s the prime minister. When Haman comes around, everyone is supposed to bow, and they do, all except Mordecai. Yet they are unhappy about the situation.
“Why are you disobeying the king’s commandment?” the others demanded day after day, but he still refused. Finally they spoke to Haman about it to see whether Mordecai could get away with it because of his being a Jew, which was the excuse he had given them.Esther 3:3-4 TLB
The others couldn’t stand that they had to bow down to Haman, and Mordecai refused. Finally, they went to Haman to tell him it wasn’t fair. They wanted to know why Mordecai was getting special treatment. Was it because he was a Jew? But instead of responding to this slight in person, Haman deceived the king into thinking that the Jews were a threat to the kingdom and needed to be destroyed. The king agreed to Haman’s plan.
Mordecai couldn’t believe what had happened. As the king and Haman celebrated, chaos and panic spread throughout the region. And Mordecai did what he knew to do:
When Mordecai learned what had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail… And throughout all the provinces there was great mourning among the Jews, fasting, weeping, and despair at the king’s decree; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.Esther 4:1-3 TLB
Mordecai knew this battle was too huge to fight on his own. He knew that once the king sent out a decree, there was no human way to stop it. But he didn’t let that stop him from seeking the God of impossibilities. Mordecai may have been forgotten by the king, but there was a more excellent King who had never forgotten him and would never leave him. So he fasted and prayed at the injustice against his people. And quite possibly, Mordecai understood the attack had come from his insults to Haman.
Esther found out that Mordecai had donned his mourning gear and was at the gate, something he wasn’t supposed to do at the palace. When she tried to convince him to change his clothes, he told her she needed to seek the king to try and use her influence to stop all of this. Esther was afraid but agreed to do it when Mordecai reminded her that she was included in the proclamation because she was also a Jew.
Esther goes before the king and is granted access to the throne. She requests that the king and Haman attend a banquet with her, and the king agrees. He immediately called for Haman, and they went to the banquet. She doesn’t tell the king what she wants at this banquet but asks if they will return the next day? Haman is so excited he can hardly stand it. But when he sees Mordecai, he feels it is the only thing that stops him from being completely happy.
“Well,” suggested Zeresh, his wife, and all his friends, “get ready a 75-foot-high gallows, and in the morning ask the king to let you hang Mordecai on it; and when this is done you can go on your merry way with the king to the banquet.” This pleased Haman immensely, and he ordered the gallows built.Esther 5:4 TLB
But that night, the king couldn’t sleep, so he asked his eunuch to bring him the kingdom’s records. As he was reading, he saw Mordecai’s name and remembered him. Haman is on his way to request permission to hang Mordecai; at the same time, the king is ready to honor him.
“What reward did we ever give Mordecai for this?” the king asked. His courtiers replied, “Nothing!” “Who is on duty in the outer court?” the king inquired. Now, as it happened, Haman had just arrived in the outer court of the palace to ask the king to hang Mordecai from the gallows he was building.Esther 6:3-4 TLB
Sounds like a divine set-up. Mordecai has been fasting and praying about the decree to kill the Jews, Haman decides it is a great time to hang Mordecai, and the king decides it is time to honor Mordecai. Look at God!
The book of Esther could have been named the book of Mordecai because this is his story in great detail. He is the one at the heart of this story. He is the one who convinced Esther to go to the king, and he is the one who ultimately comes up with the plan that saves the Jews. Yes, God used Esther, and she was an invaluable ally, but God was using Mordecai, weaving his actions and his faithfulness into the dynamics of this narrative!
We call people like Mordecai unsung heroes. He’s seemingly in the background serving and obeying God, but he’s not in the background. God has his eyes on Mordecai. And at the appointed time, God had the king remember Mordecai. And if that isn’t enough, the king has his archenemy come up with the plan to honor him, although he thought the honor was for himself:
“Excellent!” the king said to Haman. “Hurry and take these robes and my horse, and do just as you have said—to Mordecai the Jew, who works at the Chancellery. Follow every detail you have suggested.”Esther 6:10 TLB
I want to encourage you today! If you have been faithful in your service to others and have come under attack, just keep serving and obeying God. Your haters are powerless to destroy you when you follow the King’s command. If you trust God through the process, you will see that He has caused your enemies to be your footstool! It’s okay to be an unsung hero in His kingdom because He will never forget your labor of love! Wonderful Jesus!