The Expository Files

 An Irrevocable Decree!

Esther 3:12-13

Then the king's scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and a decree was written according to all that Haman commanded-to the king's satraps, to the governors who were over each province, to the officials of all people, to every province according to its script, and to every people in their language. In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king's signet ring. And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions. (Esther 3:12-13)

During the days of Xerxes, king of Persia, a decree was issued that on an appointed day all of the Jews would be killed. This was done according to the counsel of Haman, the king’s jealous, power – hungry prime minister. According to Persian custom such decrees were deemed irrevocable. No one including the emperor himself would remove it. Thus, in the early phases of this story it appears that the Jews are doomed to die. However, by the God’s providence, the Jews are spared from this slaughter by another irrevocable decree (Esther 8:10-14). This second edict was heralded throughout the empire, that the Jews would be permitted to protect themselves from their adversaries. This new decree provided a way of escape for the Jews.

Like those messengers of the Persian Empire, God has employed his messengers to herald two irrevocable principles. The first was plainly stated by Ezekiel: "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. (Ezekiel 18:20) This principle not only applies to those in prisons for some heinous crime, but to every person that is accountable to God. (Romans 3:23) God, being infinitely holy, will not lower his standards! Thus, sin separates mankind from God.

Thus, God has issued another irrevocable decree. It was stated well by the author of Hebrews: “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him..." (Hebrews 5:8-9) God is heralding to the sinner a message of reconciliation through his Son! It is offered to anyone who will obey the Lord (Acts 2:37,38).

The Jews in Esther’s day recognized both a decree to destroy them and a decree to save them came from the same king! We too must believe that the King of kings is on our side. So, “be reconciled to God.” (II Corinthians 5:20)

By George Slover
From Expository Files 17.12; December 2010