“When virgins were gathered together a second time, Mordecai sat within the king’s gate. 20 Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him. 21 In those days, while Mordecai sat within the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, doorkeepers, became furious and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 22 So the matter became known to Mordecai, who told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 And when an inquiry was made into the matter, it was confirmed, and both were hanged on a gallows; and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.”
For the past few weeks, we have focused on Esther and the events that led to her becoming the queen. But there is another character in this account, Mordecai. He is a Jew that has lived the majority of his life in Babylon. He is a Godly man who, in spite of living in Babylon, has not forgotten his Jewish heritage; and he has certainly not abandoned his God, the God of Israel. Mordecai obviously was a man of importance, and we are told that he sat within the king’s gate. It would appear that he was an advisor to the king with regard to the Jewish people. He also was able to keep tabs on Esther as she began to take ownership of her role as the new queen. Esther was blessed in that she was loved, and as such, knew what true love was. But she did not forget who she was and the investment that was put into her by Mordecai.
Often, when I have read this wonderful book, it is easy to miss the wonderful nuances that resonate in the story. We get the highlights; we want to get to the plot twists, and we often miss the wonderful lessons to be learned.
- Power Does not have to change you, verse 20
This young lady was raised as a slave/captive in a foreign land. She would most likely have been poorer, maybe not destitute; God takes care of his own. She was unknown to most of the people of the land, and she was humble. Now, even as the queen, having been elevated from poverty to riches, from in need to excess, from slave to being waited on hand and foot, she had not lost her humility. She was still obedient to Mordecai.
Sadly, what happens to many people is that power actually brings out the real person. You begin to see how selfish or how not very nice people are once they have power. But it can also be the opposite in this case with Esther; power revealed more of her character. She was a truly lovely person, even when rich and powerful. She still had regard for Mordecai, still had regard for his instruction, and she respected his authority over her.
All too often in our North American world, we have this idea that once a child has moved out, they do not have to maintain the same regard for their parents as they have before. It is true that when a young woman is married, she is under the leadership of her husband. But there needs to be regard for the elder parents, their wisdom and the sacrifices that were made to get that kid to where they are. There needs to be an acknowledgement that they did not get to where they are on their own.
- Plotting to Kill the King, verse 21
Mordecai sat within the King’s gate and overheard a plot by two men to kill the king. Two men, Bigthan and Teresh, were mad with the king and plotted out loud to kill the king. There are a couple of lessons to be learned here, and we would be wise to heed them. First, anger is a dangerous emotion. In the book of Proverbs, there are dozens of verses warning about angry men. Anger clouds your judgment, and it leads you to say things that you may not have meant but cannot take back. Anger can be good sometimes, but rarely when we are the offended ones. If you are angry at the treatment of another or the injustice done to another, that is okay. Proverbs 15:8; 16:32; 19:11, 19 and others warn us that anger is not becoming of a Godly man.
In this case, these two men plotted against the king and wanted to kill him. Mordecai overheard them and told Esther about it. These two men, we are told, were executed for this outburst. We don’t understand that here in North America and most of the free world. We have people make death threats against our leaders all the time, some very publicly, and yet they live. This is a breakdown of the chain of authority. Over the past few years, we have seen celebrities and others do things such as hold up the blood-covered head of the President, and yet they are not even arrested, furthermore executed. But in the days of Esther and Mordecai, respect for the political leadership was very, very important.
This kind of public respect for authority secures the authority in the home. If one can disrespect the king, the President, or in our case here in Canada, the Prime Minister, then it filters down to the home, the office, and the public in general. This explains the issues we are having with the police and the public in North America. Where I grew up, the police did not try to be your friend; they needed a healthy distance to be able to do their jobs. My father may not have agreed with the politics of the Prime Minister, but he never disrespected him. One is free to disagree, but not free to disrespect.
That leads to another problem that we have here in North America and maybe around the world; the idea that rats (people who tell about crimes) are bad. This gang garbage has permeated into our Christian homes and lives. In Leviticus 5:1, we are told that if someone is called to testify about something they have seen or heard and don’t, they are to be held responsible. It is our duty to reveal if a crime is about to or has been committed. This is not ratting out in the negative sense as far as God is concerned, but this is the duty of all Godly men and women.
Mordecai told Esther of the plot, there was an investigation, and they were executed. Then there was a record made of the people involved in the matter and its resolution, much like we make a recording of all that happens in the parliament here in Canada and the different stations of government in the USA.
- Placement and Plans, verse 22-23
We do not always know why certain things happen, but what we do know is that God oversees everything in our lives and has a plan. Those of us who have read the book of Esther know that God is going to cause the king to have a sleepless night, he will call for the records to be read, and this will lead to Mordecai being celebrated and blessed by the king. But for right now, it was important that the pieces be put in place just like a jigsaw puzzle. God knows the picture on the box, but all we see are the pieces. God has Esther in place, then He allowed Mordecai to overhear a plot to kill the king. He then had the events of the plot, its subsequent events and the persons involved recorded. He planned a sleepless night for the king, and on and on. God is in complete charge of all that happens.
Our job is to be obedient; our job is to be available to God for His purposes, and our job is to do what is right when we are called to act. God will handle the rest. God will take charge of the then; you and I need to be obedient and submissive in the now. God allows us to be in place to be obedient and where He can bless us and use us for His glory. God has you where you are to be, to be of use to Him. Too many of us are so busy wanting to be elsewhere that we do not take advantage of where God has us, and we do not throw our all into it. We serve God half-heartedly expecting to be ‘promoted’ elsewhere. Be faithful where you are; serve the Lord where you are, and give Him all you have where you are and expect nothing.
I have also come to understand that there are no coincidences in the life of a saved person. God places people in your life, and you into people’s lives to reveal Himself to us and them. We often miss the opportunities because we do not live in obedience and do not live expecting to make a difference; thus, we are not prepared to act when called upon. One of the other things that holds us back is that we live by the world’s standards and not the Lord’s. Thus, we do not make decisions based on what is right but on what feels good.
God did not call you and me to be happy; He calls us to be righteous. The two do not always go hand in hand, and there is rarely instant gratification. So be in the place God has put you, be there wholeheartedly, and let God work His plan.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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