Saturday, April 2, 2011

Refuse to no nothing!

Esther chapter 4

In Esther chapter three we read about the terrible decree of Haman that sent shock waves through Persia. Haman has convinced the king to put a group of people to death. Without a concern the king signs the decree. As the decree goes forth the Jews are afraid and mourning, while the people of Shushan are confused. Esther is secluded in her royal palace and doesn’t even know about the problem.

At this time there are around 15 million Jews in the kingdom of Persia. All of them are going to die. The only option is to pull up stakes and leave, but there is nowhere to go. Even Israel wasn’t safe because it was under the control of Persia.

In chapter four we see the reaction of Mordecai and his call for help from Queen Esther. It was no coincidence that Esther is in the position she is in. God will use her to do an amazing work.

When Mordecai heard about the decree the king had signed he tears off his clothing, puts on sackcloth and ashes and begins to morn. Mordecai completely believed the decree would be carried forth. The Laws of the Meds and Persians was unalterable according to the book of Daniel.

At this time there were approximately 15,000,000 Jews in the Persian Empire. Now because of one very small man each of these lives is in danger. Let me point out that 15 million lives were at stake, but only one man was willing do anything about it. These other Jews were going to lose their life. Their children were going to die. Destruction was coming, but they do nothing about it. This reminds me of the average Christian, we see trouble ahead, sin is killing our family and we just sit back with our head in our hands and do nothing about it. Thank God there was one man who was not willing to sit back and do nothing.

I wish we would get to the place in our minds where we say, “I can’t do everything, I can’t do what someone else does, but I refuse to do nothing!”

Mordecai is not afraid to let everyone know where he stood, who his affiliation was with. At first he was not willing to reveal that he was a Jew, but in the face of trouble it brings out the best in him. Sometimes trouble is good because it brings out the best in some of us.

While this is happening Esther is perfectly safe inside the kingdom. This bad news had not reached into the palace. When news finally arrives that Mordecai is mourning in sackcloth and ashes Esther does not understand. They tell Esther that Mordecai is moaning, groaning, crying and making a big show of it. In light of this news Esther does the only thing she knew to do. She takes a brand new suit of clothes and sends them to Mordecai. If the king was to come out to the gate and see Mordecai like this he would be in trouble.

Let me say in passing that the new clothes could not change the king’s decree. So many times we try to change the punishment of sin by putting on a new set of clothes. Some people put on religion. Some put on self righteousness. Others put on the coat of denial. The problem is that none of these will change the situation.

Mordecai did not accept the clothes. Mordecai knew that a new suit of clothes could not solve the problem. I can imagine that when the clothes return back to Esther she knew something was wrong.

Mordecai sends a message back to Esther telling her the reason for the mourning. He tells her of the decree to kill the Jews. Mordecai even sends a copy of the decree to Esther so that she is able to read it for herself.

When Esther receives the decree and reads it for herself she does not know what to do. If she approaches the king without being called she could easily be put to death. If she does nothing millions of Jews will die. Because she is confused she reaches out to Mordecai for help. Mordecai was her adopted father, and gives her some good advice.

Mordecai begins by explaining to her that if she does nothing than she is going to be killed any way. Just because she is in the king’s house that does not mean that she will not be slaughtered with the other Jews. Haman would make sure that ALL the Jews were killed, even the queen. Later we will discover that the king didn’t even know Esther was a Jew.

Then he asks the question “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Mordecai is able to see the hand of the Lord in the life of Esther. It is not by chance that Esther is on the throne.

God has been arranging things for this very reason. Looking back thousands of years we are able to clearly see the hand of God moving in the affairs of the nation. It was no accident that Vashti was put away. It was no accident that Esther won the contest to become the queen. God has been moving all the time.

I would imagine that this was much harder for Esther to grasp. Esther did not have the benefit of history. Esther could not see the end result. It took faith on Esther’s part to believe it was God’s hand moving in her life.

So many times troubles and trials arise in our lives and we react like Esther. We are scared. She believed that if she went in to the king, she would be put to death. This was the end for her in her mind. This trial was going to be the death of her. All she could do is have faith that this trial was not going to kill her, but benefit her.

There may be someone reading who is facing something that they believe will be the end of them. You believe that this trial cannot be overcome and the outcome is going to be bad. It could be that this trial is not for your harm, but for your benefit. Can I encourage you to have faith in God? I know that you cannot see the end result, but be assured if God brought this into your life; He will bring you through it.

The lion that tried to kill Samson later fed him. The giant that tried to kill David became a stepping stone to make him king. The sorrow and sickness that tried to kill Job became a blessing to him in the end. The suffering that killed Jesus became the means of victory for you and I. God may not be trying to kill you. Maybe he is trying to bless you. Esther was not accidentally the queen. God was going to make this trial a blessing.

God knows what is going to happen tomorrow and next week. He knows the end from the beginning. All we can do is trust Him. One day you will be able to look back on this trial and see how God brought you through.

With nothing but faith in her heart queen Esther tells Mordecai to have the Jews fast. She and her maids would fast. And then in three days she will go before the king. If she dies, then she dies. She is willing to do what she can do. She refuses to do nothing.

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