MONDAY, JUNE 25
SCRIPTURE: ESTHER 8
As the chapter opens, King Ahasuerus becomes aware of the relationship between Esther and Mordecai. So, for the first time, the king recognizes that the edict he signed was not only directed at his queen but also her family.
The king, however, did not let that stop him from elevating Mordecai to the position that Haman had held. And Esther put her cousin in charge of Haman’s estates.
But the edict made by the king at Haman’s request to annihilate all of the Jews was still in place. In that time and in that part of the world, the king was considered to operate as a god and therefore could do no wrong. That also meant the king could not rescind one of his rulings because that would mean that ruling was wrong. In other words, the edict to wipe out the Jewish people was still in place.
As much as we might wrestle with this it is important to remember that the same principle holds true with God. Early in Genesis, He plainly says that when we disobey Him we will die. That principle held throughout the Bible and still holds today. The soul that sins will die. God, in His great grace and mercy, has allowed Jesus to die in our place and redeem us. But the law of God is still in place and will continue to be in place.
That didn’t stop Esther from making her request. Esther couldn’t do everything but she could do something. So, she did something. She pleaded her case with the king. In response the king gave Mordecai the right to issue his own edict, empowered by the king’s signet, on behalf of the Jewish people.
It is important at this point to think about the imagery of Esther going to the throne of the king and interceding for her people. There is actually a theme of this working its way throughout the Bible. Moses interceded for Israel as did David and Elijah, Nehemiah, Ezra, Daniel, and even the Apostle Paul. So, we have a lot of examples of people interceding for others in the Bible.
We must not negate or try to lessen the importance of interceding for people. Our King is gracious to let us come boldly to the throne of grace. Our King is always willing to listen to our petitions. Our King is able to help in ways that we cannot imagine. But all of that starts with our willingness to intercede on behalf of others. We should not shy away from the great responsibility to pray in behalf of others believing God hears and is more than able to respond.
Because of the edict that Mordecai wrote and the king supported, the tide turned for the Jewish people. As you might imagine the Jewish people rejoiced in this deliverance and were glad. It is this joy that they had in God and expressed in such public ways that caused other non-Jews in the empire to turn to Judaism. Pure joy in our relationship with God is an undeniable testimony to all who see it. And many of those who do see it, will be remarkably drawn to it.