to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice
July 05, 2019 – Friday
Esther 4:12-14 NIV
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
God is not mentioned in the book of Esther (nor in the Song of Solomon), but here in the verses above we can see Mordecai’s faith in God in two of his statements. First when he says For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place and second when he asks the rhetorical question who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?
Somehow (God’s intervention?) a Jewish orphan has become the Queen of Persia at a time when the Jews who remained in exile needed a rescuer. However Queen Esther explains the risk to Mordecai?
All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.
However after Mordecai’s petition in our verses for today agrees to approach the king, but first she makes this request of Mordecai
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
We find later, in the next chapter, she is successful in approaching the king and plans a banquet with only the king and Haman invited. In the same chapter Haman has pole set up planning on having Mordecai impaled upon it. Instead Haman is humiliated in his own mind in the next chapter (6) when the king is reminded of Mordecai saving his life and seeks to honor him for doing so. Talk about a turn of events! The king asks Haman What should be done for the man the king delights to honor? (6:6) Of course Haman thinks the king wants to honor him so he answers
For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!
Of course we learn the king agreed and commanded Haman to do as he had suggested for Mordecai the Jew. Imagine how mortified Haman must have been as he led Mordecai on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!” (6:11b)
Then things got worse for Haman as afterwards he was escorted to the banquet Esther had prepared for him and her king. It was on the second day of the banquet the king asked Queen Esther, “what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted”(7:2b). Then we have her answer, his question, and her reply.
“If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. 4 For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”
King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?”
Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!” Esther 7:3-6
I won’t tell you the rest, except to say all of Haman’s plans come to naught, the Jews remaining in exile are saved and … well read it for yourself. When you do, ask yourself if any of this could have come about without God somehow being involved. I believe God used the weak, a poor orphaned gird, against the powerful Haman flawed by his great pride and ego to work a miracle. As I read through this I was reminded of the Apostle Paul’s statement
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9b-10
It’s Friday and I hope you have a Great Weekend and reflect on the times you might look back on see God working in your life when you were weak as well. Oh, don’t forget to Go to Church!
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)