Posted by: genelnicholsblog | April 30, 2015

stolen thunder

In our last article, we talked about Esther, one of the true heroines of Scripture.  Through her bravery she was able to expose a true evil-doer, reveal the truth to the king, and save the Jewish population of Persia.  She is truly the “star” of this narrative (the name Esther is actually Persian for “star!”).  But this short book of the Old Testament is multi-layered in its cast of characters, and there are lessons to be learned from each of them.

Ahasuerus, or Xerxes
The king of Persia who ruled a kingdom stretching from India to Ethiopia.  Many Jews chose to live within his prosperous and peaceful kingdom

Vashti
His queen whose strong willed and independent spirit brought about her replacement.

Haman
The anti-Semitic officer who put his personal, vindictive agenda above his duty to the king.

Mordecai
A Godly Jew who raised the orphan Esther as his own daughter and served King Xerxes with respect.  Mordecai was also a hero in his own right:

Chapter 2
In those days, as Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.
And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai.  When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows.  And it was recorded in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.

This is where the evil Haman comes on the scene – he had recently received a big promotion from the king, and some scholars believe he actually took the credit for saving his life, too!  He ordered the servants to parade him through the square so that everyone could bow down to him as he passed and “pay homage.”  Mordecai, who was a respected Jewish leader in the capital, refused — this would be against Jewish law to bow down or worship anyone except God.  So Mordecai stood as Haman passed, and this enraged Haman.  His anger and wrath rose to such a level that he not only wanted revenge on Mordecai, but on the entire Jewish population of Persia! He even goes so far as to offer a bribe.  Chapter 3 says:

Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not to the king’s profit to tolerate them.  If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talent of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king’s business, that they may put it into the king’s treasuries.”

Have you ever had someone steal your thunder?  Take credit for your hard work?  Seek attention and praise that was undeserved?  Me too … we could share some stories, couldn’t we?  Now, I hope none of you experienced that to the point of your life being threatened, but it’s disheartening, to say the least.  This is why I love this man Mordecai:

  • He never sought the credit or glory for saving the king’s life.  Only Esther knew he was the one who uncovered the plot
  • He never sought payback upon Haman
  • He never compromised his beliefs.
  • And He never hesitated to take action to save the Jews of Persia.

Mordecai now understood that he and Esther were in that place, in that time, “for such a time as this.”  His God, the true God in that pagan nation, was in control all along.

Through God’s perfect plan, the Jews were saved, Haman was exposed and Mordecai was exalted.  If you love a happy ending, read these verses from Chapter 10:

And all the acts of his power and might, and the full account of the high honor of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?  For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.

Their story is our story.

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