Week 8 – Lessons from the Prophets Cont’d
Day 2 – Esther Cont’d – Mordecai’s Influence: Esther 2:20; 4:1-17
Esther’s obedience continued even after she had been made queen. Chapter two, verse seventeen tells us that she was made queen in Vashti’s place. The king threw a feast, he gave out money and gifts, made a holiday – and then everything went “back to normal” – a new normal. Esther was only allowed to see the king if he called for her. If she chose to try to go see him without invitation, it could mean her life. (Brings new meaning to “my husband is really hard to talk to” doesn’t it!) So, Esther kept her eyes on the guide that had always been there for her.
“Esther had not yet showed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.” (Esther 2:20)
The relationship that Mordecai had so painstakingly developed with his cousin gave him a great deal of influence in her life. Influence which he used for good. It also enabled them to work together, still keeping her heritage a secret, to save the life of the king. (See Esther 2:21-23.)
Still, there is another type of influence that we see in this story. It is the influence that came from Mordecai’s life-long investment in his young cousin. It is an influence of example. In Esther chapters three and four we find the story of Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews and Mordecai’s plea to Esther to use her position to save their people. Esther’s defining moment had come. Would she set aside her own safety for the well-being of her people? or would she choose her own self-interest over that of others?
Mordecai had already set the example. From the moment that he chose to take her into his home, he had been setting her needs above his own. Now he had that example to fall back on and to encourage her to do what was right. The challenge she was given was no small matter. When she brought up the fact that she could lose her life just for trying to speak to the king without being called, Mordecai gave her something to think about:
“Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
He warned her not to think about herself over others and encouraged her that God had put her in this position for a reason. He was confident in the fact that God would deliver the Jews. The question was, Would it be through Esther or someone else?
Esther’s response is interesting. She didn’t say, Let’s fast and see what God tells us and then I’ll make up my mind. She didn’t fast and then say, I’ll do it. She said, Let’s fast in preparation, then I will go to the kind and “If I perish, I perish.” She was following the example of the one who set aside so much for her, trusting the God that he trusted and saying, “Others are more important.”
This is completely uncharacteristic of many orphaned children. Many orphans struggle in this area. Their whole lives are centered around providing for themselves, defending themselves and trying to figure out why they should love anyone when no one has loved them. In some cultures this struggle leads toward an aggressive mentality and behavior, in others toward behavior based on an entitlement mindset. In Esther’s case, God used Mordecai to overcome these struggles through his example over the years. In turn, that example enabled Esther to be the tool that God used to deliver His people. We have a similar opportunity to invest in the lives of the fatherless children around us. The question is, Will we? God may not put you with the child that saves a nation from a murderer, but He may put you with the child that God uses to reach a nation for Christ. But, before we can expect them to make those selfless choices, we have to begin making them in our own lives towards them.
Up Next: Day 3: Malachi – Setting the Stage
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