"During that night the king could not sleep, so he ordered that the book of memorable acts (the chronicles) be brought, and they were read before the king. It was found written that Mordecai had informed on Bigthana and Teresh, the two eunuchs of the king serving as the keepers of the door, who had sought to assault King Ahasuerus" - Esther 6:1-2 (MEV)
Remembrance is an important idea in the Holy Scripture. In the Old Testament, you frequently read of the saints crying out to God to remember them in their days of trouble. Likewise, we do the same when our affliction is prolonged, and God seems to be distant and unresponsive.
God also frequently reminds His people to remember Him and what He has done for them. He reminded the Israelites to remember that they were slaves in Egypt and how He rescued them with the power of His might through a series of signs and wonders. He reminded them how for forty years, He had led them through the harsh wilderness, protecting and providing for them. God commanded the Israelites to observe special days and festivals. The purpose is to preserve the narratives of God’s goodness and His redemptive acts so that they and their descendants would always remember Him.
One such festival commemorating God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from a near holocaust is the Purim, which is celebrated on 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar. The story is recorded in the book of Esther.
A wicked man by the name of Haman plotted to obliterate the entire Jewish race living in the Persian Empire. Haman was a trusted aide and close confidant of King Ahasuerus. He deceptively convinced the king that the Jews were a threat to his empire.
Many of us are familiar with how Mordecai persuaded Queen Esther, whose identity was kept hidden, to intervene on behalf of the Jews. Esther was the heroine. She risked her life to save the Jews. Her famous lines, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16) are often quoted to inspire Christians to live courageously for God.
However, few realise that there is another event which is no less pivotal in toppling the evil plot of Haman. It involves Mordecai, Esther’s cousin and foster father. Earlier Mordecai had exposed a plot by two eunuchs to assassinate the king. They were arrested and put to death. But for some reasons, Mordecai was neither rewarded nor appreciated. He was a forgotten man. The king might have forgotten, but did God also forget? Mordecai must be terribly disappointed.
Fast forward to the time when Haman’s plot became firmly established. The money was raised, the date for the total annihilation of the Jews was set and the king’s edict was despatched to all the provinces throughout the vast Persian Empire, stretching from modern-day India to Ethiopia. Surely, the fate of the Jews was now sealed, and the end was near for them.
That night, the king could not sleep and instead of seeking the company of one of his beautiful concubines from his vast harem, he decided to read the book of memorable acts. As he read, he came across the account of how Mordecai had exposed the plot to kill him. When he realised that Mordecai had not been appropriately rewarded, he immediately gave order to have him honoured. How interesting! And what a coincidence!
Is it a coincidence? Certainly not!
Esther is a very interesting and unique book. God is never mentioned in the entire book, but His fingerprints are found everywhere throughout the book. He was pulling all the strings behind the scene. It is God who raised Esther to be Queen of Persia. It is God who brought about the king’s insomnia. It is God who directed the king to read the book of memorable acts. Again, it is God who delayed Mordecai’s reward for saving the king. The seeming divine forgetfulness is deliberate. God did all these so that His plan to save the Jews could be executed to perfection.
God’s timing is always perfect. He is never too early or too late. He is always on time. In His time, He will make all things beautiful. Perhaps you are facing a difficult situation and you have been crying out to God for a long time. You love God. You have been a dedicated Christian. You serve Him faithfully. Yet your prayers have not been answered. God seems to be so distant and so silent. I want to assure you that God has not forgotten about you. He remembers you and your faithfulness. He who neither slumbers nor sleep is constantly watching over you. God will answer your prayer in due time. The seeming divine forgetfulness serves a purpose. It is so that in His time, God will make all things beautiful for you.
Pastors Les & Adeline Chua