Some Asian parents try to give birth during an auspicious year. Some Asian couples consult the lunar calendar to find an auspicious date to get married. Haman cast lots for the most auspicious month to carry out his scheme (Esther 3:7). It was to ″destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews-young and old, women and children-on a single day″ (v. 13). Even as we read it today, the ruthlessness sends a chill down our spines.
The edict is dispatched by royal mail to every corner of the Persian Empire (Esther 3:14). The king and Haman celebrate with wine, but the people are bewildered (v. 15). As Haman and the king sit down to enjoy their drinks, we’ll take a step back from the narrative to consider: is there another power at work behind the timing of this terrible edict?
The decree is written on the thirteenth day of the first month (Esther 3:12). This is a day before Passover (see Exodus 12:1-11). So we wonder: will there be another miraculous deliverance like the Exodus? (We might not notice the significance of the date unless we’re Jewish, but it would be like Christmas Eve for them.)
The date that is set for the genocide is the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (Esther 3:13). This is eleven months into the future. Remember that this date was set by Haman casting lots. We recall that Proverbs 16:33 says, ″The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.″ And Esther 3:14 says that the decree is proclaimed to ″the people of every nationality so that they would be ready for that day″. So we wonder: could it be that a hidden hand has set this date so that the Jews also had more time to respond to this decree?
It’s not explicitly mentioned if God’s hidden hand was behind the choosing of the date. Even so, Haman is still fully responsible for his evil intentions and actions. In fact, God’s plan will be carried out despite the actions of individuals. This is similar to what happened to Joseph. He was sold into slavery, but rose to a position of authority in a foreign land and rescued his family from famine. His brothers meant to harm him, ″but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives″ (Genesis 50:20). Even today, God is intimately and meticulously watching over all of His creation, us included (Matthew 6:26).
What comfort can we draw from the truth that God always achieves His purposes?
Read Acts 2:22-23. How did the actions of ″wicked men″ ultimately lead to our salvation?