Yesterday it was the name of Hadassah, aka Esther, that caught my attention. This morning it’s the faith of her cousin Mordecai. I’m guessing he was a lot older than Esther as he had actually been one of those who had been carried away from Jerusalem when it was razed by the Babylonians (Es. 2:6). He had lived through the siege and fall of God’s holy city . . . he had been among those trampled and then transported to a foreign land. He had seen a lot . . . he had lost a lot . . . he may have even spent his own time weeping by the rivers of Babylon as he remembered Zion (Ps. 137:1). But, it would seem, he never stopped believing that, though the people had been unfaithful to their God, their God had promised to remain faithful to them.
In Esther two, Mordecai’s cousin is chosen to be queen of King Ahasuerus, the Persian king now ruling over the provinces of Babylon. In Esther three, Haman rises to prominence in the king’s court and grows in his disdain for Mordecai and his people. Consequently, he essentially tricks the king into making an edict that will turn the Jewish world upside down.
The fourth chapter of the book of Esther records the Jews response to the king’s edict that, in all the king’s provinces, his subjects were “to destroy, to kill, to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month” (Es. 3:13). In every province there was great mourning among the Jews. There was a run on sackcloth and ashes as the people of God fasted, wept, and lamented before a heaven which had been silent for decades. And in the king’s city, Mordecai tore his clothes and joined the national lament. He also gets word to Esther that she must go before her husband, the king, and appeal for mercy on behalf of her people. Esther hesitates . . . you don’t just go see the king . . . depending on his mood, it could cost her her life. To which Mordecai responds . . .
“Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
(Esther 4:13-14 ESV)
Esther, says Mordecai, if you don’t intercede before the king, “relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from the another place.” The question for Mordecai wasn’t IF God would rescue His people but IF Esther would submit to being His means of deliverance. And I’m struck by the confidence a transported, culturally-assimilated son of Abraham has in the faithfulness of his God to deliver His chosen people. He had no doubt that God would somehow turn the tide on Haman and his wicked intent. The only thing He didn’t know, for sure, is who would be the intercessor . . . who would rise up as the agent of deliverance. But he was guessing it would be she who had access to the throne.
It would be crazy to liken any trial I have undergone to the apparent plight of the Jews at that time, but I can’t help be stirred by Mordecai’s faith . . . as well as be stirred by the reminder that, whatever my trial or testing, I too have an Intercessor with access, . . . with free, unrestricted access, to the throne of the God who has promised to faithfully gird up His people.
Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a High Priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. (Hebrews 7:25-26 ESV)
Jesus, my Savior . . . Jesus, My Lord. Even now He is at the right hand of the Father interceding for His people. Relief and deliverance will rise for God’s people, I can be sure of that. Mine is to believe . . . Lord, help my unbelief. Mine is to look up as I bow down. Mine is to know afresh the God who saves to the uttermost.
By His grace . . . for His glory . . .