Day: 8 | Plan: Covenant
Today’s Reading: Esther 3
Esther 3:8-9 (NIV) “Then Haman said to King Xerxes, ‘There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.’”
At the time of Esther, God’s chosen people had been living in exile for 80 — 100 years. As a result, many of God’s people were being assimilated or absorbed into this new pagan culture. They were Jewish, but only by name.
But God always preserves a remnant of people faithful to Him. In Esther 3, we see how one man’s commitment to God’s Word and ways sets a murderous plot in play.
Mordecai, an exiled and faithful Jew, is living among the pagans. He refuses to bow down to Haman, the king’s new advisor. In anger, Haman begins plotting not just to kill Mordecai but all the Jews!
Haman persuades King Xerxes to issue a decree “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews — young and old, women and children — on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods” (Esther 3:13).
What a drastic and deadly turn of events. Haman is seething with rage and intends to take revenge on an entire nationality of people for this slight against him. Perhaps by God’s grace most of us have been exempted from this kind of persecution. But friends, Scripture attests that kingdoms and cultures collide over lordship. The kingdoms of this world will accommodate nominal Christians – those who are Christian in name only. For the most part, we can call ourselves Christians as long as we don’t act like it.
Mordecai was a Jew who loved God and lived by His Law. This was Haman’s main complaint. He tells the king, “‘Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws’” (Esther 3:8b). These people aren’t acting like us. They aren’t behaving like we do. They don’t accommodate our culture.
Without question some Christians don’t act very Christian. We can even be too argumentative or hateful. That’s never a winsome way to win a culture with the love of Christ. That isn’t the case here, though. Scripture doesn’t indict Mordecai’s behavior. I have no doubt Haman was offended by Mordecai. He likely felt Mordecai was being rude or judgmental. But what Haman thinks isn’t nearly as important as what God says. And God had commanded his people not to bow down to another. Mordecai took a stand and refused to kneel.
That’s lordship, and as some of you know, it’s not often celebrated. In fact, our commitment to God may invite conflict. Conflict arises when lordship impacts our lifestyle.
Here’s the tension for you and for me: If lordship doesn’t impact our lifestyle, is it really lordship? Mordecai dared to live like God was his king. He refused to bow to the rulers of this world and compromise his faith. He wasn’t a Jew in name only. Mordecai was a Jew through and through, regardless of culture and where he lived.
Stories of Christians standing up for their faith and passages like Esther 3 make me want to be a Mordecai in my family, church and community. I don’t want to be a nominal Christian. I don’t want to get absorbed into my culture. I want my life to look like Christ. Lordship changes our lifestyle, and our lifestyles reflect who’s Lord.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the example of Mordecai. Your Law is perfect. Your ways are right and true for every person regardless of culture or creed. Oh God, change my heart and actions to boldly demonstrate Your lordship in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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