By J.G. Bellet
Every secret thing must reach its day of manifestation. The word which Mordecai told the king about Teresh and Bigthana, the chamberlains, though hitherto forgotten or neglected, must now be remembered. The tears and the kisses, and the spikenard of the loving sinner in Luke 7, and the corresponding slights of the Pharisee, are passed in silence for a moment; but they are all brought to light ere the scene closes. For there is nothing hid that shall not come abroad. God lets nothing pass. Mordecai's act shall not always be forgotten. It shall be recognised, and that too in the very face of his great adversary; as the sinner's loving acts were all rehearsed in the hearing of her accusers (Luke 7: 36-50).
The night after Queen Esther's first banquet was a sleepless one to Ahasuerus. For, as God gives His beloved sleep, so does He at times hold the eyes waking to them by thoughts of the head upon the bed. By sending instruction through meditations in the night-season, He deals with the hearts of the children of men. So here with the Persian. The sleepless king calls for the records of the kingdom, the depository of the act of Mordecai; and he there reads about the act which had now happened some years before. And as it is true of man, that all that he has he will give for his life, so now the king, on the sudden unexpected discovery of the act of Mordecai, by which his life had been preserved, deems nothing too high or honourable for him.
Here, however, we may pause for a moment, and consider the wonderful interweaving of circumstances which we get in this history. There is plot and underplot, wheel within wheel, as the expression is, circumstance hanging upon circumstance; and each and all formed together to work out the wonderful works of God.
There is in this story the marvellous re-appearance of both the Jew and the Amalekite. Strange phenomena indeed! Who would have thought it, as I have said before? The Jew and the Amalekite reproduced in the distant realms of Persia, and in diverse places of favour and authority round the throne there! Then there is Vashti's temper and Esther's beauty meeting at the same moment. There is the fact of Mordecai being the one to overhear the plot against the life of the king. There is the lot deciding on a day for the slaughter of Israel, eleven months distant, so that there may be time for counsels to ripen, and changes to take place. There is the heart of the king moved to hold out the golden sceptre to Esther. And then we see the king's sleeplessness, and his thoughts guided to the records of the chronicles. And now, again, we see Haman entering the court of the palace at this peculiar juncture.
What threading together of warp and woof in all this! What intertwining of circumstances, and the production of a curious texture of many colours! And yet, as we have seen and said already, God all the while is unseen and unnamed.
Very blessed! Pleased with the work of His own hand, and in the counsels of His own mind, the Lord can be hid for a time, unpublished, uncelebrated. And we are called, in our way, to that which is like this. We are to prove our own work, to have rejoicing in ourselves alone, and not in another, without uttering our secrets, or gathering the regards of our fellows. And truly great this is, to work unseen, to serve unnoticed. Deep counsels of that wisdom which knows the end from the beginning, and wondrous working of that hand which can turn even the hearts of kings as it pleases.
Haman falls. What a day may bring forth, we commonly say, who can tell? We see it to be so in his history. Zeresh and his friends have to receive, ere the second day's banquet begins, a different Haman from him whom they had greeted after the close of the first. Haman falls, and falls indeed. But over this we must tarry for a little, that we may take knowledge of the character of this great fact, so important is it in setting forth the judgment of God:
1. Haman's greatness was allowed so to flourish and ripen, that he might fall in the hour of highest pride and daring.
This is very instructive, for this has been God's way, and is so still. The builders of the tower of Babel were allowed to go on with their work, till they made it a wonder. Nebuchadnezzar was given time to finish his great city. The beast of the Apocalypse will prosper till the whole world wonder after him. So here Haman is borne with, till he sits on the pinnacle. Then, in the moment of proudest elevation, the judgment of God visits all these. Herod, as another such, was smitten of God, and died, as the people were listening to him, and saying, "It is the voice of a god, and not of a man" (see Ps. 37: 34-36).
2. He is caught in his own trap. The honour is given to Mordecai which he had prepared for himself; and the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, he hangs thereon himself.
This still instructs us; for this has been God's way, and will be so still. Daniel's accusers are cast themselves into the den which they had prepared for him; and the flame of the fire slew those men who took up the children of the captivity to cast them into the furnace. And so it is foretold of the adversaries and apostates of the last days in this world's history. "Their own iniquity shall be brought upon them" (Ps. 7, Ps. 9, Ps. 10, Ps. 35, Ps. 57, Ps. 141, etc.). Satan himself, who has the power of death, is destroyed through death.
3. He falls suddenly.
So with the last great enemy. The judgment of God is to be like a thief in the night, like the lightning that cometh out of the east and shineth to the west. "In one hour," it is said of the Apocalyptic Babylon, "is she made desolate." The judgments on the world before the flood, and on the cities of the plain, were such also; "like figures," with this fall of the Agagite, of a judgment still to be executed.
4. He falls completely: utterly destroyed.
So with the great enemy, and the course of this present world with him.
The children of Judas cut off (Ps. 109), the little ones of Edom dashed against the stones (Ps. 137), Haman's sons, all hanged after himself,--these illustrate for our learning the utter downfall and annihilation of all that now offends; the clearing out of all by the besom of divine judgment. The "millstone" of Rev. 18 tells us this, and prophecy upon prophecy has long ago announced it.
Full of typical significance, in all the features that signalise it, is the fall of the great Amalekite. We live in such an hour of the world's history, as renders it specially significant and instructive to us. We are, day by day, seeing the Lord allowing the purposes of the world to ripen themselves, gradually to unfold their marvellous and varied attractions, and its whole system to make progress, till it again, like the tower of Babel of old, draw down the penal visitation of heaven; and that, too, in a moment, suddenly, to do its work of judgment completely, when (blessed to tell it!) not a trace of man's world shall remain, his pride and wantonness, with all their fruit, shall be withered and gone, and such a world as is fit for the presence of the Lord of glory shall then shine.