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Turning the Tables

The book of Esther has a number of reversals where things get turned around unexpectedly. The major reversal of the book is that the Jews who are decreed for destruction due to the evil plotting of Haman are saved by a surprising turn of events resulting in Haman’s death and the issuance of a counter-decree. In Esther 9:1 it says, “it was turned to the contrary.” The NIV says, “the tables were turned.”

Early in the story, Esther experiences a very positive reversal. She’s basically a young, helpless, Jewish girl who gets taken to the palace along with hundreds of other young virgins. The odds were really stacked against her. The expected outcome was to have her one night with the king and then be relegated to concubine status for the rest of her life. In that case, she’d never have a normal marriage and family. But the king was taken with her and made her queen. In spite of how tenuous that could be (remember Vashti), it’s still a surprising, feel good, unexpected turn of events.

Possibly the sharpest turning of the tables in the book of Esther is when Haman built the gallows to hang Mordecai. When Haman approaches the king for permission to execute him, without realizing it he determines Mordecai’s delayed reward for saving the king’s life. Instead of executing Mordecai, he parades him through the streets as royalty. Then at Esther’s banquet for him and the king she reveals that Haman’s decree is a death sentence for her. The king ended up having Haman executed on the very gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai. Reversal and irony are blended together here with more to follow.

Next, Haman’s property is seized by the king and given to Esther, who puts Mordecai over the whole estate. How ironic! The reversal goes even farther. The king gives his signet ring to Mordecai, giving him power in the prime minister- like position that Haman held when he issued the death decree. Mordecai then issued a counter-decree that in effect delivered the Jews from Haman’s death decree. The tables are turned so thoroughly that the man who had mourned in sackcloth and ashes is described as wearing a crown and royal robes, as “great in the king’s house” and famous “throughout all the provinces” (Esther 9:4).

More examples of irony and reversal could be cited from Esther, but perhaps the greatest one is Esther’s courage in approaching the king on his throne. Arriving uninvited, according to the custom of the empire, she could expect to be executed on the spot. But, there’s a death decree looming over her people that calls for her intervention on their behalf (and her own). Instead of the battle-ax, she receives the scepter. This was her defining moment, her turning point, her deeper conversion.

Does Esther illustrate the reversal of sin and death through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary? Is Esther a type of Christ? Because of our sin, don’t we have a death sentence on our heads as did the Jews in Persia? The blood that Jesus shed on the cross has reversed our doom and put eternal life and happiness in our grasp. The cross is the pivot point, the reversal, the turning of the tables where everything changes. Satan, like Haman, has plotted against all of us, and Jesus, like Esther, has intervened. Esther said, “If I perish, I perish." Jesus did perish.

The greatest irony ever is that Satan inspired the most severe injustice and evil against Jesus, but God used those very acts of evil to achieve the ultimate act of atonement in the plan of redemption! That is the ultimate turning of the tables! This is what God does! Don’t forget: when things look the most hopeless, the reversal is all the more amazing.

Fred Dana, Associate Pastor

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Primary Classroom Completed!

After a lot of hard work and volunteer hours, our children's Primary Classroom renovation is complete! Thank you to everyone who made this small phase of Operation Joash a wonderful success! To learn more or to support Operation Joash, click here.

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Broadcast Television Camera Training 

Plan to join us at Central on Wednesday, March 14 at 6:30 PM in the sanctuary for the opportunity to be involved in broadcasting the everlasting gospel locally and abroad! Call Cheridah for more info at (916) 802-3260.

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World Church Affirmation Sabbath

World Church Affirmation Sabbath (WCAS) is a gathering, organized by lay members, to affirm the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a world church and for fellowship, encouragement, and education. Join WCAS at the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church on Sabbath, March 17 starting at 3 PM. Light supper provided.

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Light Sacramento Begins!

Join us on Sabbath, March 24 @ 2 PM as we launch Light Sacramento for the year 2018. This is an ongoing sharing and evangelism training initiative designed for all to enjoy. Just bring your walking shoes and the love of Jesus in your heart.

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Join us for Spring Work Bee!

While helping to beautify God's house, get to know other members of the church. Join us on Sunday, March 25 from 8AM until noon as we clean, polish, touch up, and deep clean areas of the church campus. Hope to see you there!

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Click on the Calendar to find out what else is happening at Central this month - from Sabbath speakers, to events, plus much, much more!

https://zqh.orf.mybluehost.me/saccentral/calendar/

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Watch Us On Television! 

Enjoy viewing Central’s flagship program, Central Study Hour, every Friday night at 7 PM and Sabbath morning at 6 AM (PST)
on 3ABN Proclaim! It can also be viewed on our website, www.saccentral.org

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Central Happenings is published by the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, 6045 Camellia Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95819 www.saccentral.org

Sacramento Central Ministry Team: Chris Buttery, Lead Pastor; Mike Thompson, Associate; Fred Dana, Associate; Michael Butler, Youth/Young Adult; JeAnn Davis, Bible Instructor

Central Happenings: Chris Buttery, Editor; Chrystal White, Copy Editor/Distributor