Esther 8 - Who is wearing the ring

SERMON TOPIC: Esther 8 - Who is wearing the ring

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 21 May 2017


Sermon synopsis: It was a memorable day for God’s people. We have a changing of the guard. Their enemy Haman who had plotted their annihilation was dead and Mordecai had replaced him! The king’s signet ring, which had been worn and misused by Haman, was now placed upon Mordecai’s finger and along with it came the authority to rule on behalf of the king.

When Haman wore the ring the result was hatred and death for God’s people.

When Mordecai wears the ring the result is pardon and liberty for God’s people.

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The Book of Esther


Last time we saw that some are like Haman, so caught up in self and material gain that they do not realise that their day of ruin is so close.

Many people are self-seeking and spend their lives chasing money, possessions and fame, only to find that being consumed by those things leads to their downfall!

Rom 2:8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

Gal 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious… selfish ambition … and the like. I warn you… that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves. - D. L. Moody.


We saw how the self-seeking Haman reaped what he sowed. He died by the execution method he planned for his enemy.

We saw that we too will reap what we sow.

Gal 6:7-8 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.


In Chapter 3 Haman initiated a decree of death aimed at eliminating the Jews. Mordecai was a picture of the Holy Spirit while Haman is a type of the flesh. The conflict between Haman and Mordecai is typical of the ongoing battle we experience as Christians – the conflict between flesh and Spirit. Remember what Jesus when they kept on falling asleep instead of praying:

Matt 26:41 “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

In Chapter 4 the Jews mourn (a type of repentance) the decree of death (a type of sin) and Mordecai persuades the initially reluctant Esther to intercede to the king on behalf of her people.


8:1-2 That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate.

Haman - the sworn enemy of Mordecai and the Jews - has been executed, so surely the Jews we can breathe a sigh of relief?

The tables have definitely been turned, but the story is not over yet. There is still a major problem. Haman’s decree of death - which will cause all the Jews to be exterminated - was still in effect.

But surely the king could just revoke the law? It’s not quite so simple. We saw earlier that the Persian decrees were irrevocable, irreversible laws.

Est 1:19 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed…”

So there was no taking back or reversing the law of death.


8:3-4 Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews. Then the king extended the gold sceptre to Esther and she arose and stood before him.

If it pleases the king, and if he regards me with favour and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces.

For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?

Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have impaled him on the pole he set up.

Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.

Not even the king himself could annul the law. So what can the he do? He authorises another law that will counteract the first law and mitigate its effects.

The first law of death was to exterminate the Jews.

The Jews are now granted the right to self-defence and thus this second decree is a law of life.

A ‘law’ is constant and does not change. It permits no exception. If something happens once one way and another time a different way, it is not a law. But if something always happens the same way, it is a law.


E.g. the law of gravity discovered by Newton cannot change. By virtue of this law, an object will always fall towards the ground.

The law of gravity does not depend on anyone believing in it or even understanding it. It’s force remains constant no matter what we think , believe or understand about it.


One eternal law is followed by another eternal law. What does this speak of? The first law was the king’s law decreeing death upon the Jewish race.

Likewise we are all under a law of death.

‘The soul who sins will die’(Ezek 18:4)

Rom 6:23 ‘the wages of sin is death.’

Rom 7:5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.

This decree from God cannot change. It states that the payment for sin is death (both physical and spiritual death). Like the Persian laws, it cannot be revoked or annulled - it has been decreed upon the entire human race.


Now if you are not born again, you are now living under the power, influence and force of the law of sin and of death. Like the law of gravity it does not depend on anyone believing in it or even understanding it. It is fact. It is not that I sin accidentally or occasionally; it is not that I sometimes sin and sometimes do not; sinning is a law to me, for I constantly sin. Because this occurs all the time, I know it is a law. Whenever I would do good, evil is present. When Paul’s eyes were opened to this, he realized that all his own efforts were futile. What had he tried? He had tried to do good. He had thought his will could overcome sin, not knowing that no will can ever overcome sin. But as soon as he saw sin as a law, not just a conduct, he immediately conceded that to will was useless. The will could never conquer the law.

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If there is a law of gravity, how is it that birds and planes can fly?

There is a second greater law – the law of aerodynamics.

The law of gravity still applies – it hasn’t been annulled. But it’s effects are counteracted by a greater law.


The second law was the king’s law decreeing life upon the Jewish race. It was able to counteract the effect of the first law.

Likewise God has set a second eternal law in place. And it is something far better than your own efforts! It is the law of life through the Spirit. The same King of heaven who decreed the first law has also given one that brings freedom, joy and eternal life!

Just as the second decree brought the Jews deliverance from the first, so this decree enables all who believe to find grace, forgiveness and life!


In the spiritual world, Paul spoke of two laws that operate as well. The first is called ‘the law of sin and death’. The second greater law is ‘the law of the Spirit of life’.

Rom 8:1-4 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.


Both spiritual laws are in operation at the same time and both influence the believer.

Rom 7:25… So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

The first operates through man’s fallen nature pulling him down and leading to sin. It is summed by Paul:

I do not understand my own action for I do not do what I want and I do the very thing that I hate. I can will what is right but I cannot do it. (Rom 7:18-20).

Never forget that this law exists. Without living in a dependency upon the Holy Spirit whom God has given all believers, all that even a true child of God can expect is failure.


But just as the law of aerodynamics is greater than the law of gravity, so the gospel has power to save.

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…

1 Cor 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Zeph 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves….

John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


1 John 5:4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

John 3:16 … whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Ps 3:8 From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.

Rom 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?


Eph 6:13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

1 Cor 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.


8:9 At once the royal secretaries were summoned —on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai’s orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language.

8:10 Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.

It was a memorable day for God’s people. We have a changing of the guard.

Their enemy Haman who had plotted their annihilation was dead and Mordecai had replaced him! The king’s signet ring, which had been worn and misused by Haman, was now placed upon Mordecai’s finger and along with it came the authority to rule on behalf of the king.

When Haman wore the ring the result was hatred and death for God’s people.

When Mordecai wears the ring the result is pardon and liberty for God’s people.


Remember that Haman is a picture of the fleshly sinful nature in man whereas Mordecai is a type of the Holy Spirit.

Both claim the right to rule. But who wears the signet ring in your life? Haman or Mordecai? Whose finger is the ring on?

When we are saved there is a “changing of the guard” in terms of the authority in our life. But sometimes it seems in some Christian’s lives, by the way that they live, that Haman has taken back that ring and is calling the shots once again.


In a Cherokee legend, an old man is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said. It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, lies and pride. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”


The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old man simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Which one are you feeding, the old sinful nature or the Spirit? Are you controlled by your sinful nature or by the Spirit of God? Are you a carnal Christian or a Spirit-led Christian?


If Haman (the flesh) prevails, then the result will be the decree of death

Rom 7:5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.

If Mordecai (the Spirit) prevails, the result is life:

Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live


What is the evidence that you are controlled by your sinful nature? Which of the following typifies your life?

Gal 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery (excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol, or drugs); idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

What is the evidence that you are controlled by the Spirit?

Gal 5:22-23 (ESV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.


What should our attitude be towards our sinful nature?

We need to put off the sinful nature (spiritual circumcision):

Col 2:11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ

We must not gratify the sinful nature:

Rom 13:14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Gal 5:16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.


We must not indulge our sinful nature:

Gal 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Our sinful nature must be destroyed

1 Cor 5:5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

Gal 5:24-25 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.


Susanna Wesley, mother to the great preachers and hymn writers John and Charles Wesley, described sin and the flesh this way:

“Whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish for spiritual things, in short – if anything increases the authority and the power of the flesh over the Spirit, that to you becomes sin however good it is in itself.”

One of the goals of the Christian life is the victory of the Spirit over the flesh and a change of life, which manifests in righteous living before God.


8:15 Mordecai left the king’s presence wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration.

8:16-17 For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honour. In every province and in every city, wherever the edict of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.

8:11-14 The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or province that might attack them and their women and children; and to plunder the property of their enemies. The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. The couriers, riding the royal horses, raced out, spurred on by the king’s command. And the edict was also issued in the citadel of Susa.


Now remember... this new law didn’t cause Haman’s previous law to be null and void. That law was still in force and allowing a day of slaughter of the Jews without consequences. This second law however allowed the Jews to protect themselves and fight their enemies.

There was no time to delay. The couriers had to make the Jews aware of the second law so that their lives would be saved.

What would have happened if the message had not been spread to everyone? They would have perished needlessly.


Likewise if we do not get the message to people, despite the fact that there is salvation from their sin, they will die in their sins needlessly.

“The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.” (Carl F.H. Henry)

Mark 16:15 (NLT) And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”

Rom 10:13-14 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?


What would have happened if the Jews didn’t believe the message?

Again they would have died unnecessarily, but would have had themselves to blame.

Likewise those who reject the gospel message!

John 3:17-18 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.


Remember what happened when the Jews heard the first decree of death?

Est 3:13-15 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews--young and old, women and little children--on a single day… and to plunder their goods... the couriers went out, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa… the city of Susa was bewildered.

But this second decree is met with rejoicing. That is because the gospel means “good news”

Luke 4:18 “… he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…”


The bewildered city became the rejoicing city when they heard the good news and believed it! The fear, confusion and anxiety produced by the first law had been replaced by the joy, gladness and happiness of the second!

When we are saved it is a joyful occasion. The sentence of death that hung over our lives is gone.

Luke 2:10-11 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 15:10 “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”


It was 18 June 1815, the Battle of Waterloo. The French under the command of Napoleon were fighting the Allies (British, Dutch and Germans) under the command of Wellington. The people of England depended on a system of semaphore signals to find out how the battle was going. One of these signal stations was on the tower of Winchester Cathedral.


Late in the day it flashed the signal:


Just at that moment one of those sudden English fog clouds made it impossible to read the message. The news of defeat quickly spread throughout the city. The whole countryside was sad and gloomy when they heard the news that their country had lost the war.

Suddenly the fog lifted, and the remainder of the message could be read. The message had four words, not two. The complete message was:


The good news spread in only a few minutes. Sorrow was turned into joy, defeat was turned into victory!


Jesus bring joy:

When the Ethiopian eunuch heard and accepted the gospel message he “went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:39)

Acts 16:34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

1 Pet 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


Est 8:17 And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.

When the Gentiles saw the rejoicing of the Jews and heard of the testimony of what God had done, many turned to the God of the Jews.

What is one of the most effective ways to win people for Christ?

Stop being miserable. Let your joy be evident to all – it is the greatest testimony you can have. People don’t get saved by watching miserable, grumbling Christians.

“Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.”


Be joyful, grateful people. It won’t just affect your own life but could well influence those around you. Non-Christians watch you. They want to see whether we have something that is real and worthwhile. And joy is contagious! (just as grumbling is also contagious, although it comes with less desirable results.)

Ps 35:9-10 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation. My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, O LORD?”

Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Jude 24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy…



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