“On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king. And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. And the king said, What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this? Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, There is nothing done for him…Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken. Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour.” (Esther 6:1-3, 10-11)
This passage from Esther serves to illustrate for us a very important spiritual point, which is that a delay in the mercies of God does not mean that those mercies have been denied.
We see earlier in this book (2:21-23) that Mordecai had the opportunity to foil a plot against the life of the Persian king which was being hatched by two of his chamberlains. The natural assumption would be that a good work like this toward a powerful sovereign would be rewarded. Yet, this was not the case at that time. Mordecai seemed like his good deed was simply forgotten.
Let us keep in kind that Mordecai’s action was intrinsically good. Though Ahasuerus was a pagan king, he was still the sovereign whom God had set over Mordecai and his people. Mordecai owed allegiance to him,
“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” (I Peter 2:17)
So Mordecai had done right. Now we should grant that Mordecai did not really deserve a reward, however. After all, just like us, he was an unprofitable servant who merely did what he was supposed to do.
Yet, God is merciful and will requite His servants when He knows the time is right for it. In the case of Mordecai, the right time happened to be a few years later, just when the king’s “fortuitous” insomnia had kept him up and led to him discovering and resolving to rectify his oversight. This set into motion the chain of events which led to God’s providential preservation of His people just when it was needed. This would not have happened had Mordecai been honoured at the time of his good deed.
This ought to remind us of God’s promise to us found in the Lord’s parable of the widow and the unjust judge,
“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8)
God will avenge, do justice for, his people when the time is right for it. This may not be when *we* would like to see it done, but it will be when is best for it.
We should also note that this same point can be made for the dispensation of God’s justice toward the wicked, too. We often see the wicked seem to prosper and wonder what is going on,
“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11)
Yet justice delayed is not justice denied in this sense, either.
Indeed, we see this in Esther as well.
“And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.” (Esther 7:9-10)
For a time it seemed that Haman was unstoppable – highly favoured by the king, given carte blanche to do whatever he liked – yet he ended up hanging from the gibbet he had thought to slay Mordecai with.
Let us always remember that God will requite both good and evil when it is in His good time to do so. If we are patient, we can rest in Him without worry or hurry.