This is a continuation of our Esther bible study – Chapter 6. This is the seventh installment on a bible study series on the book of Esther.
That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicle the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked. “Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered.
Last week we learned that Esther had fasted and prayed and stepped out in faith at the risk of her own life to capture the attention of the king. Esther’s ability to go before Xerxes was enabled by drawing close to God and following his leading.
She walked in the spirit and hosted a banquet that first night in the King’s honor. The king had offered to meet her request – even up to half his kingdom, but Esther, following the Lord’s leading, declined to make her petition at the first banquet and instead invited the King and Hamen to an other banquet the following day. That night, “the king could not sleep”.
What would have triggered King Xerxes to have difficulty sleeping? Everything was going well in his kingdom. His wife was serving him. He had no reason to suspect anything was wrong.
I believe God intervened that night and caused Xerxes to be restless. He couldn’t go to sleep until he figured out what was wrong. Mordecai had never been rewarded for his life-saving service to the king. The holy spirit would not let Xerxes sleep until the situation was redeemed. Ever had an inkling that something was wrong? Ever felt led to stay up late and somehow that helped you figure out some mystery?
This wasn’t the first time a king couldn’t sleep because the power of God was at work. During the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian, Daniel was found worshipping God when worship to anyone other than the king would result in death. Verses below are from Daniel chapter 6.
16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
Daniel’s king sensed Daniel was innocent and was overjoyed when his innocence was proven. Xerxes had sentenced many innocent lives to death and was unaware of the crime of his sentencing. In addition, one of those sentenced to death was the very person who had saved his life. Without the fresh revelation from the reading of the chronicles the king would never have remembered Mordecai’s good deed.
The Lord loses sleep over his beloved children, much like the king who lost sleep over Daniel.
I remember a time when my husband and I suffered our third miscarriage. I struggled deeply with the loss. After much prayer and reflection, the verses the Lord gave to me were from Psalm 121.
Psalm 121:3-4, (NIV)
He will not let your foot slip – He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
It was comforting to know that even though I could not make sense of what was happening that God loves me so much that he won’t even sleep out of care and concern for me. I had to accept that sometimes even loss is a part of His plan and that there was the possibility that events may have occurred as a means to protect me even though I could not see it.
I will not know the true reason behind our losses this side of heaven. But I do know that I can trust God and that He loves me.
He loves you too and even kings are not immune to His power and love for us working on our behalf. Sometimes kings lose sleep over us. Xerxes lost sleep over God’s beloved chosen people.
I pray you feel His presence and His guiding hand as He leads you in such a way as to not allow your foot to slip. May you stand steadfast in His grace.
In His Grip,
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Images are from the movie “One Night with the King”. The movie plays out in elaborate detail the drama of the story of Esther. It’s fun to watch and a great catalyst for discussing the story of Esther.
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