Two Edicts

Krista Williams

Day: 14 | Plan: Covenant

Today’s Reading: Esther 8

Esther 8:8 (NIV) “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.” 

As we near the end of the story, it appears the drama is over. Haman is dead. Esther has been given his estate. Mordecai is elevated to prime minister. (Esther 8:7-10; Esther 8:15; Esther 10:2-3) It seems the threat to the Jews is gone. But even though their circumstances changed, the real problem remained.

In spite of what seems like redemption, a royal edict had still been issued for the destruction of the Jews. And a royal edict in the law of the Persians and Medes could not be revoked.

What was written would stand firm. Neither Esther nor Mordecai nor King Xerxes could intervene to spare the Jews the sentence of death awaiting them. 

But Esther suggests a wise solution. Rather than ask the king to ignore or break his command, she graciously suggested a counter-decree that would overrule the edict killing the Jews. This new edict would allow 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” (Esther 8:11).

This is where our story intersects with the story of the Jews of Esther’s day. Like them, we are under two edicts as well. The first edict is our death sentence. Romans attests that the “wages of sin is death,” and God will not repeal that law. His Word also says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 6:23a; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12). Our nationality may not indict us, but our inherited sin nature does. All people for all time are under the law of sin and death. (Ezekiel 18:4) It cannot be revoked.

But God, in His sovereign grace, has put another irrevocable edict into place. In this second decree, Christ has won the victory over sin and death, and God declares that all who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ will be saved. We are no longer under the curse; we have instead inherited eternal life. (John 3:15-16; Romans 6:23)

The first edict promises death. The second edict promises salvation and life. You and I have only one source of protection and one sure defense against death — His name is Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6; Romans 10:9-10; Romans 10:13; Acts 4:12)

But this is good news only if the message of the second decree is received and believed. It was true in Esther’s day, and it is true in our day as well. It’s not just having the liberating truth about Jesus written in God’s Word that makes an eternal difference in our lives. It’s personally receiving the truth about Jesus and believing it that gives us victory over sin and death.

 When we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, not only does He give us life but He also overflows our hearts with unending joy and hope and peace. (Esther 8:16-17a; Romans 15:13) 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are good and You are gracious. Your Word stands firm in the heavens. And in Your great mercy and love, You have made a way for us to receive life and hope through Jesus Christ. Lord, I praise You for the life and victory I have in Christ. Grant me the courage, the urgency and the love to go and share the good news of Jesus with the hopeless and dying world around me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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