Reading in Esther this morning. Typically, while enjoying the story and marveling afresh at God’s “behind the scenes” presence, I’m not marking the pages very much. Not much on my list of “watch for’s” showing up on the pages of this story about secular Jews in a secular land with a big secular problem solved by a heavenly Father.
But something caught my attention this morning. Something I shaded in red, my color for “The Church/The People of God”. And it’s got me thinking that if anything marks the child of God it’s that they march to the beat of a different drummer.
Then 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 kings laws, so that it is not to the kings profit to tolerate them.”
(Esther 3:8 ESV)
Ahasuerus has a new bride (2:1-4). Esther has a new home (2:17). Haman has a new job (3:1). And Mordecai has a big problem. He won’t bow down to Haman and Haman won’t stand for it.
The reason Mordecai gives for his refusal to bow the knee to this Agagite? “He told them that he was a Jew” (3:4). Haman’s solution to such insubordination? Get rid of the Jews.
And so Haman goes to the king with a plan to remove a people who have, in the past, proven themselves to be trouble-makers. To eradicate the descendants of Abraham who have demonstrated beforehand a difficulty with bowing to other gods. And his charge against them? “Their laws are different from those of every other people.” They march to the beat of a different drummer.
Peterson’s Message may take a bit of liberty with the original wording when he translates it, “Their customs and ways are different from those of everybody else”, but I think he’s capturing the essence of the indisputable claim Haman is making. These people are different. They are driven by a different internal compass. They are motivated by a different set of unseen objectives. They are living now in light of a different set of promises. They are different from every other people.
That’s how the people of God should be known–as different! And not different just for different’s sake. Not different as in quirky. But the people of God should be known for being different because they follow the ways of God to advance the kingdom of God for the glory of God. And if someone has a problem with that–even if they complain to the king–so be it!
A different people than every other people. True then of God’s chosen nation. True today of those called to be “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1Pet. 2:9).
We march to the beat of a different drummer.
Because of grace. For His glory!