Sleepless in Susa


Bob Deffinbaugh comments on Esther 5-7 at Bible.org:

Esther 6:1 On that night the king could not sleep.

The Book of Esther reminds us that God does what we cannot do, thereby using our actions to achieve His supernatural purposes. As I read these chapters in the Book of Esther, I am more impressed with what Esther and Mordecai did not do and with what God did. They had no control over the king’s “oversight” of Mordecai’s loyalty so that his loyalty was unrewarded for a period of time. They did not orchestrate the king’s sleepless night. They did not determine that the chronicles of the king would be read and that the account of Mordecai’s loyalty would be included in this reading. They did not cause Haman to fall upon Esther’s bed at the very moment the king returned to the room. They did not prompt Harbonah to suggest that the king use Haman’s own gallows on which to execute him.

What men could not do and did not do determined the outcome of Esther’s appeal to the king. It was not that she used just the right technique, but that God used her efforts to achieve His plan and purposes. For some unexplained reason, Esther chose not to reveal her request to the king until the second banquet on the following day. But in this interim period, God gave the king a sleepless night and reminded him from his own records that Mordecai, a Jew, was a loyal citizen to whom he owed his life. And this occurred at the very time when Haman plotted to accuse him of disloyalty and thus hang him.

Our Lord has given us certain tasks to accomplish. He has set down certain commands we are to obey. But it is not our flawless motivation or obedience which achieves God’s purposes, for our works are never free from the taint of sin. God goes beyond our efforts, supernaturally intervening so that supernatural results occur. When we witness to the lost, it is not our logic, not our impassioned appeal, not our persuasive techniques which save men. It is the work of God’s Spirit, who convinces and convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment. God does what we cannot do to bring about His purposes. But this does not mean we are to be passive. It means we are to do what He has commanded, knowing that it is never enough. This is why we obey His commands and pray in faith that He will accomplish what He has purposed and promised. God uses what we do, doing what we cannot, to achieve His purposes.