Nov. 30, 2022

Couldn't sleep

Sleep is a crutch. That is a joke I commonly use when I do not get enough sleep, or someone else is gloating about getting a full eight hours. Unfortunately, sleep is often a struggle for me. Much of my issue stems from anxiety. Did I set my alarm? If not I will oversleep and my kids will miss the bus. As a pastor, concerns for people, situations, and direction will keep me awake.


King Xerxes controlled a vast empire, one that included God’s people. Can you imagine the problems that guy handled? You have a queen who does her own thing with no regard for protocol. Guards and staff members who were pretending to be your friend, but secretly they are planning to kill you. These are the issues recorded in the book of Esther.


With all that going on, Esther 6:1 says, “That night the king couldn’t sleep. So he ordered the official records of his rule to be brought in. He ordered someone to read them to him.” (NIRV) Do you remember what is happening in Esther 5? Haman, unknown to the king, is planning to kill Mordecai. He had a pole made so Mordecai could be impaled upon it. Mordecai was a Jew and the father of Esther (he adopted her). This evil plot is on top of Haman’s other diabolical scheme of eradicating the Jews in the empire.


It is no coincidence that King Xerxes could not sleep the same night as Haman is plotting the demise of Mordecai. The king goes for his records, perhaps seeking comfort in his past achievements, or hopes the boredom of hearing the records read would put him to sleep. As they were read, Xerxes is made aware that Mordecai was essential in thwarting an attempt on his life. In a book that makes no mention of God, it is evident that King Xerxes was being directed by God.


Did King Xerxes know he was being directed by God? Most likely not, and definitely not at the moment. He did not know Haman’s plot, and Xerxes had no clue who Mordecai even was, even though Xerxes was married to his daughter. We have no record of Xerxes coming to faith in God. The point is God directed someone outside the faith to intervene for those of the faith. It all started because Xerxes was unable to sleep.


Those sleepless nights you and I experience could be God’s direction for us. The anxieties keeping us awake need to be turned over to Him. We may not know the reason for being awake, but it is an opportunity for us to reflect in His presence. Names, places, events or ideas for the future may come to mind. This is not a coincedence. Every spirit should be tested, but once we know it is Him we can trust God’s reason for disrupting our life pattern has a purpose. You and I can trust that purpose is to bring glory, honor, and praise to His name, and that the outcome will be for the good of us and our neighbors.