Friday, July 18, 2008
Esther 8:7-17 King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, "Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have hanged him on the gallows. Now write another decree in the king's name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king's signet ring—for no document written in the king's name and sealed with his ring can be revoked." At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai's orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language. Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king's signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king. The king's edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or province that might attack them and their women and children; and to plunder the property of their enemies. The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. The couriers, riding the royal horses, raced out, spurred on by the king's command. And the edict was also issued in the citadel of Susa. Mordecai left the king's presence wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. In every province and in every city, wherever the edict of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.
You can't make up stuff this good! The bad guy has been killed, the guy he kept bullying took his job, the romantic interest is still heating up, and a war for the good of the people is about to ensue.
It's been obvious by the way the king has treated Esther that he loves her. He's always glad to see her, he listens to what she has to say - he's offended if another guy hits on her :) But yet, even after knowing this, Esther still approaches the king with honor and respect - again begging him for the lives of her people. So the king gives Mordecai his ring and says - "I can't do anything about people wanting to kill you - but come up with something contradictory"
What a position for Mordecai. I wouldn't have known what to write. But he was led by God so there was no doubt as to the outcome. The jews would defend themselves and had the right, if attacked, to fight to kill and then take the property of the man who attacked. Pretty good.
Now verses 12-14 explain the time frame for us. they used the fastest means available to spread the word to all the land before the allotted time of war - and word got out and people feared the Jews. Many people turned to God because they could see His hand in all this and knew that He was who they needed to follow.
What a testimony for us. It doesn't say Mordecai went into the streets and carried signs saying "Repent or go to Hell", It doesn't say he handed out tracts at every corner on the sidewalk - he simply stood by God, remained in a close relationship with Him, set an example for the Kingdom - and people were saved. God can work through us in our everyday lives if we promise to be faithful to Him. Setting examples such as being kind in public and patient with others is just as strong a witness as handing out tracts. See a dear friends blog on this exact subject.
We are witnesses for Christ if we call ourselves Christians - let's hold true to our title.