Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, September 7, 2014

For Such a Time as This.....

Mordecai, a man of faith and honor, lived in the land of Persia with his beautiful cousin, Hadassah. After her parents died, he adopted and raised her as his own daughter. A century earlier, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and exiled the Hebrew people. After years of captivity, King Cyrus of Persia issued a decree allowing the displaced Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild. But many Jews stayed behind in the cities where they were born. It’s here in the citadel of Susa (in modern day Iran) where we find Mordecai and Hadassah. Even though they never forgot the one true God, they lived like Persians. 

Enter Esther (a Persian name) who actually is the same Jewish girl named Hadassah. Through a series of unbelievable events (you must read the Book of Esther to get all the sordid details), Esther, along with many young ladies, was taken to the palace of Xerxes for a beauty pageant. Earlier King Xerxes commanded and decreed a search for a beautiful new wife after getting rid of his first one, Queen Vashti. The queen had defied his wishes during a drunken celebration and after seeking advice from his council, King Xerxes banished Vashti and searched for a new wife. 

Because of her good looks, Esther passed the first test, making it to the second round. The next phase of the beauty extravaganza put her in line with a number of other young women to be prepared and groomed for an entire year, readying them to be presented to the king as potential wife material. From these girls, King Xerxes would choose the next queen. 

During this year of beautification, Esther regularly met Mordecai at the king’s gate, where he instructed and encouraged her in the ways of becoming a queen. Now Mordecai loyally served in the bureaucracy of the king’s empire while also being a faithful “father” to Esther. He knew the “ins and outs” of the royal palace and taught Esther how to ingratiate herself before the king. And guess what—it all paid off. The king chose Esther to be his wife and queen of Persia, loving her more than all the others. (By the way, the Book of Esther never mentions God by name, but a believing reader can definitely see God’s sovereign hand in all the details.)

King Xerxes now had a new queen named Esther, as well as a new “right-hand man” by the name of Haman. Haman’s promotion by the king came with allegiances to be paid to him by the people of the land. But Mordecai refused to pay homage to anyone but God. Because of Mordecai’s stance, Haman discovered he was a Jew, and it filled him with hatred for the Jews.

Haman went before the king with a decision to kill Mordecai and all Jews. Telling the king about their disobedience to his laws, Haman enticed Xerxes to sign an edict declaring the destruction of the Jews. When Mordecai heard of Haman’s wicked plan, he mourned and wailed loudly and bitterly, as did all Jews. Esther writhed in anguish when she discovered Haman’s murderous plot. 

A relay of words through Hathach, Esther’s attendant, went back and forth from Mordecai to Esther, and he implored her to go before the king and plead for their people (at this time the king did not know Esther was a Jew). Their conversation through Hathach follows:

Esther said, “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.” 

Mordecai replied, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”

Esther said, “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him. Esther 4:11-17 (NASB)

With courage, Esther went before the king, and through another series of events (you must read the Book of Esther), the Jews were spared and wicked Haman was killed. Through a faithful and prayerful people, God intervened and saved His people, Israel. 

Esther could have chosen to ignore the call to save her people. As Mordecai told her, deliverance would come through someone else and she would perish, if she refused the call to help save herself and her people. But she chose to obey and assist in the deliverance of the Jews. Gaining support through prayer encouraged her and being a part of God’s plan of salvation blessed her.

If you read my post entitled “Called, Disciplined, Anointed, Loved....Remember”, you will recall my confession of delaying for two years God’s call to me to write two books. It was at a writer’s conference that I heard God saying He could use someone else if I chose to continue my disobedience. I have chosen to obey God’s call on my life and faithfully work on His project. Would you pray for me as I stand firm in God’s call and trust Him to equip me with His words? 

What has God called you to do? Have you ignored His voice because of fear? Do you feel as though you are not qualified to work for Him? God equips those He calls; He only requires our faith and trust in Him. He is faithful to us and gives us strength when we pray together. How can I pray for you? Join a conversation below and let me know. Together, like Esther, we can obediently serve our Lord God with courage. Together, as believers in Christ Jesus, we can serve our Savior in this world. 

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (NASB)

I’m not ashamed of the gospel: it is God’s own power for salvation to all who have faith in God, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 (CEB)

No comments:

Post a Comment