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GOING WITH GOD
AND NOT WITH HUMANIST PSEUDO-HOLINESS
Esther - The Lively Queen for the Living Lord
Esther is all about God: in weakness, in persecution, in prayer, in performance because of it, in deliverance, in His being a tower of strength, a power of purity, a respondent to zeal, a publicist of peace, an advertiser of salvation and an entrant into alien lands with a divine glory that overcomes kings where armies had not done so.
To the godless, it may appeal as little as medicine to a child, strength to the nerdy asthenic or courage to the coward; but whether in David or Joshua, in Moses of Josiah, in Hezekiah or Daniel, in Peter or Paul, the power of God makes all the difference; but it is 100% inalienable from purity.
This of course does not mean that sinless saints populate the church, whether in the wilderness or subsequently in its New Testament format; and far is it from assuming that even a majority of the people of God are in many modern churches which appeal to self-fulfilment, often scorning the power of God, or have vague, incestuous substitutes through love affairs with alien religions from which they co-opt various idolatries or naturalistic poems to frustration, which become permissiveness of one kind or another.
It does mean that if you are a Christian you are a saint, as Paul makes so clear in the beginnings of so many of his letters, and that this means one wholly separated to God. It is not the preachers only (when they are Christians, and not embroiled in Peter's prediction of II Peter 2 regarding latter-day spiritual pollution), nor the elders, but it is EVERY sinner redeemed who is a saint. You CANNOT be My disciple, said Jesus, unless you forsake all that you have (Luke 14:27ff.). That is not at all a financial prescription, nor a suggestion that you throw your home to some socialistic binge. It means that at the spiritual level, your first priority is Christ, and in your sense of need, your first duty is for Him and for His kingdom, and in your understanding and perspective IN this world, it is not under managerial consultants, in conscience or concept, from what is OF this world. It moves in the light of God, expressed in the Bible, impressed through the Spirit.
It means moreover that the Spirit of God is in you (since as Paul tells the Romans, without this a person is not a Christian at all - Romans 8:9), and it is by Him, in the name of Christ, that you level your sights against the encroachments of the flesh, that worldly self-regarding folly which is partially independent, or worse, of God, and that by the power of God, overcome so that Christian life is your norm.
Nor does it mean that you do not have to grow. You may look back and wonder how you could have been so immature; but it is not that. It is that in your heart your love of God, and not yourself, of His ways, and not your own (whether directly personal or imported from some philosophy, political or personal), and your trust in Him makes of you a different kind of person; and that for this role you have been so changed by divine action that your life is a regenerated one (Titus 3:3-7).
In a sense it is the direct opposite of a house, newly covered with cladding; for that is on the outside, but this is in the inside.
It does not mean that you never fall, for the righteous as Proverbs tells us, may fall seven times, but the Lord upholds him; and as I John 1 tells us, the case is more woeful even than this, for if you think you have no sin, you are a DECEIVER, of yourself; but the blood of Jesus Christ makes you clean. That is, the sacrificial substitution of Jesus Christ, which - if you are a Christian - applies to you because of faith.
Great enough for anyone because of the scope of its offer, it is enough to cover all sin: since He who made it ONCE in the Age for all time (Hebrews 9-10) is alive, so that by confessing to Him your sins and trusting in Him to cover them as once was done by multiple animal sacrifice in a pictorial way, you are awaiting His coming, as recipient of His atonement (I John 1:7ff., Romans 3:23ff., II Corinthians 5:17ff.). Through this, you are washed, freed and restored for action. You are pardoned in peace and refreshed within, because of this truth.
Esther then was a saint - like Christians everywhere. This was so, for even though she was in the Old Covenant situation, yet the same God ruled her life, the immutable Lord, with the same heart and the same coming provision of the same Saviour, the LORD of the Old Testament as so often seen as in Isaiah 45:22-24, and incarnate in the New, as in Philippians 2:10. So was Mordecai her Uncle, who brought her up. Hers was an amalgam of courage and character, grace and tenacity, beauty and determination, wisdom and submissiveness, entreaty and unflinching love, whose works were not all tossed into one challenge, but into persistent continuance and ready risk for His sake, again and again.
IT WAS ALL BECAUSE OF GOD
The thing became different in an outstanding measure, quite simply, because of God, not the God of going to church, or not going and worshipping instead, vaguely in the trees, or the God of formality and political advantage, as with some, or of self-congratulation. It was not because of these, or any such things, but because of the One who is there, made the earth and will judge it, before throwing it away as spent and finished in its work, like an old car, to the tip (Isaiah 51:6).
Consider the case.
There was a high-minded, low spirited man called Haman. Great in the leading empire on earth, he knew no bounds, it seems, either to pride or ambition, intoxicated with himself and his place. Hence, when Mordecai, dedicated Jew, did not bow to him, giving no homage or expression of submission in such a way as a virtual head of State might expect, Haman took exception. It was because of God, the potentate and lord of Lords, no doubt, that Mordecai COULD not give an blank cheque of obeisance and homage to any man. It could smack of idolatry and the higher the role in view, the worse the bowing might imply.
Many do not think of God as even possibly One for whom you would suffer ANYTHING. He is, to them, all about self-fulfilment, a feel-good situation, an ADD TO ME and to MY LIFE functionary. If not, like mistletoe, like an attachment, then more like interest on a bank account. You GAIN because of him, and hence YOUR life becomes better. In this case, it is not a life for Him, that you live; it is one for you and He is a servant for your accommodation and occasional deliverance. One found one member of a congregation once who apparently left because prayer for a sick person one had never met - focussing on the salvation of that person, but seeking if the Lord should will, for his healing - did not prevent the eventual death. In that, there appeared no sign of seeking the will of God; it was that God had to realise His responsibilities and get going. He had been told. In fact He had not been TOLD, but petition had been made, and salvation sought, with possible healing.
Such a God does not appear to be the recipient of worship. Worship begins when imperiousness ends, and even then, it is by faith and in terms of who He is, and who is the one who prays, friend or enemy, formalist or spiritual functionary; and what the position is, that the case even arises. If for anyone, the time has come and the life has finished its work, whether because it had lacked faith and God had resolved to remove it, or that it was a challenge to awaken it to the fact that it is time to seek the Lord, or that it was a test as with Job, or whatever may be the case, then it is not man who changes God.
We may plead in intercession for mercy if the doom appears spiritual, or help, if the life is urgently sought, but with this caveat: God knows what He is doing, and may appreciate pleading for life extension, but in His design, may not grant it in various cases. With God, one does not give orders, but receives them; but these being the orders of love, they are infinitely better than vacuity; and He DOES listen, if not to the products of self-determination on the part of mortals (Psalm 145:14ff.), then to prayer and entreaty from the heart, and in accord with His own promises and principles.
Nor is it a buddy-buddy situation. Look at Peter, the non-rock, the stone that moved of Matthew 16, who being given a charge, began to forget who IS Lord and had the incredible effrontery (to him, perhaps, based on intense affection and admiration for Christ) to try to argue Him out of something. Oh well, you may say, it did not mean he was perfect.
Perfect ? a leader ? Peter's idea was that the Cross of Christ was a mistake! He evidently felt that Christ should stay alive... And those who erect themselves as counsellors to God (as excluded in Isaiah 40:13-14), those who add to His word and seek to bind it, these are often in the same case, appointing themselves God on earth, like the pontificate as seen in the New York Catechism, instructors to the Church (of whom Christ knows nothing, having limited the teaching arm to HIMSELF, all the rest being BRETHREN - Matthew 23:8-10, I John 2:27, who merely minister). For matter, He even gave a limit, spiritually, to the name of FATHER, suffering only one recipient to the title, God Himself! so that all your 'fathers' in spiritual terminology on this earth, are discountenanced in so many words by Christ.
Sainthood, then, is by no means perfection, but neither is it a life of rebellion, or rebelliousness.
With Esther, with Mordecai, such things were not so. There was, as there is, one God and His commandments are not to be confused with the ideas of any State, be it of people or pontiff or prince, or philosopher; nor are His programs to be imagined to be working when humanist politicians seek to take a few points out of the Bible, apply them out of their spiritual and divine context, and lavish praise on their prowess as they do so, elaborating a Christian humanism as foul as bad breath in a crowded room when the air is muggy. They saw past this type of thing, and avoided it, as one might avoid a host of diseased rats, also hungry.
May the Lord in His mercy yet save this country from such a spiritual fate! Yet eventually, this world will be under the domain, dominion, authority of the 'beast', an immoral, pretentiously religious, urbane and worldly rule, with false religion a touchstone and the beast with his appointed priest, the false prophet (Revelation 16, 19).
When, therefore, it is not with a pretend or pretentious God that one has affair, but with the One who is Creator of this universe, Lord of all lives whether they choose not to realise it or other, then one might expect sparks to fly when the grindstone of humanist pageantry seeks to rule, despite the reality of divine authority, otherwise directing. Such is the reason, not least, why those who will live in a godly manner SHALL suffer persecution, as Paul indicates in II Timothy 3:12. If a current is running upstream by some profound propulsion, in the midst of a downward flow, then there MUST be a furrow, or commotion, or swirl of contrary forces in the water!
Mordecai was flowing one way; the pretentious and imposingly important Haman was drifting in another. He is moreover outraged. He smokes, but not with tobacco: it is within.
WHO IS this man who dares to obstruct my name, privilege, place, position and power! fumes the godless potentate (or subsidiary to false gods)! A Jew, is he! What are they, these Jews ? what is it, a religious people or some such!
What impertinence. Does he not realise that religion is a functionality of the State, to be controlled like everything else, for goodness' sake, for the glory of the power of the ruling Empire of our day. You can feel even at a distance the heat of the man!
Communism à la USSR and perhaps even China today, from time to time, has seemed to indicate fascination with some such prioritism, virtual sacredness of the Empire, as a substitute for one's own self or one's God: subordination in toto to that nation which is mighty, so confusing position with reality, and opportunity with authority, while frequently acting as beasts and not as men at all. Such is the dynamic which can misdirect those whose hearts are absconding with their own property in themselves, from God Himself, while seeking to carry their nations where they themselves are going, which is not a pretty prospect. Worse, as appeared in Gorbachev's day, even a leader is not necessarily sincere, even at that!
Haman therefore determined on a fitting rebuke to this Mordecai: not showing homage indeed! Too small to be opposed in person, Mordecai would become a type of representative of his race, so that in one sweeping gesture of his hand (or more strictly, that of the King whose the empire was, as Ruler), he might desolate all of the Jewish people in the Empire, as one might swat a fly.
Hitler seemed to have a racially essentialised version of the same thing; but then as with Haman, it did not work out. God has underwritten Israel, not as some paragon, but as a race to STAY AROUND, and indeed to resume as a nation, and so they do (Genesis 17, Ezekiel 36ff., Micah 7, Deuteronomy 32, Matthew 24:34. There is nothing anyone can do about it, but harass and seek to drive and deprive them, as the Madrid Quartet including the USA, is doing (but in it are the EU and Russia and the UN as well). This will always prove costly. Germany lost some half of itself for over 40 years in a squalid oppression by a godless nation - the USSR, and Berlin was raped, industrial machinery even carted off to Russia. Yes, it costs. The present cost no doubt, will be underlined as the remaining years before the return of Christ, spend themselves and the day comes.
There is a little lapse, as with Hitler, when the self-exultant, humanist, reverentially idolatrous powers have their day, in common with other little dogs, some with large heads; but it passes, as seasons do, having made their contribution for good or evil - in this case, for a rising fury of evil which in the midst of growing horrors, will expand itself like Haman, and hang in the end, as he did, but that not merely as a body in flesh, but in judgment (II Thessalonians 2). The Israel adventure by the powers that be, it is merely a symptom; the spiritual sickness, it is more general (as to be seen in II Thessalonians 2 for the culmination, and Luke 17, 21, Matthew 24, for the prelude, or preliminary symptoms if you prefer).
Thus the drama in the day of Esther has modern parallels; but in that day it had one result. God was the basis of it, in this, that He was inconvenient, then as now, for the ruler: that is, when it is HIS sovereignty, and not some thingummy substitute manipulable by the State, which is in view. It is seen in Australia in a recently reported desire on the part of some, to STOP allowing Church Schools to choose their Staff with one inalienable criterion in view, agreement with their religious commitment. If this exception were removed, and atheists could become teachers, it would be like having Communist teachers in a Christian University, or enemy spies in the infantry, paid and authorised. It would mean that you did not really want an army at all, but were just a case of smiling, or smirking pretence. So here: it is of course an attack on God if you want to excise His influence from employes in a Christian school.
Perhaps physiotherapists should not have to be taught their trade, this being discrimination from those who do not know much about it, but have other ideas ? Why, is it not discrimination to insist that some one particular idea, supported though it might be by a world of learning, must be in the mind of a practitioner ? But, you say, at least the world of teaching teaches only one method. Really ? It is not so. Well, you retort, at least it acknowledges that there is a limit to what you can teach. True, and so does the Church School. Yet again, you say, there are endless religions; where do you stop, and can they use State funds to push anything so strictly, that one cannot vary from their desires ?
That of course is the weakness in socialism. It gradually uses its ALL PEOPLE approach, instead of God, for that is really what it is; and taxing profoundly, it makes it harder and harder for those who seek God, to have the funds to run their own affairs. Moreover, it even may engage in the folly of using taxes from those who pay large amounts to have private schools, to establish other schools for their own State ideas. If however coupons were given from the general tax funds, where students do not attend government schools, to allow the money that would have been required to educate them in the State system, to contribute to their alternative schools, then justice might seem to be done.
However, that is only a beginning. IF you are going to ALLOW (as realising, if a State, that you are not God, which some do) that schools without a secular and non-Creator approach, whether by statement, implication or omission, are to be free to exist without discrimination or harassment, then you have to allow them to be what they are free to be; and for this, you need to have a liberty to employ those, who as in the State case, are to be governed by the rules that apply. To differentiate in this, is to discriminate.
If now the State decides that SOME of these schools are impostors, masquerading as educational when they are nothing but ignorant bigots, believing in monstrous nonsense, and it says so honestly (in the sense that it does not try to hide its pre-occupations philosophical in kind), then it has power to say so in legislation, discriminate (that is, here, to show the difference), and decide to eliminate these bodies. However, that will have political effects, though less so if the people have been so doped and indoctrinated for so long that the caricatures of what the Government does not find to its taste begin to stick, and even become bound to the popular mentality.
If therefore, academic freedom is to be lost, philosophy à la mode is to be king, and what is most popular becomes what is right, in a sort of humanist manifesto, then the nation characterises itself as an enemy of God, and its liberty being lost, it becomes a sotto voce Hitleresque abuser of the young as a former of ideology, only masquerading as a teaching task-master.
Hitleresque ? The term is used here to indicate the absolute nature of the delusion, of the elevation of some idea above all, without the God of testable revelation as its basis, and the binding of the mind of pupils by appeal, omission and inclusion directed to the desired model of philosophy, so that there is a delusion of education, and a profusion of ideas limited Government. If not a specific body, it is yet the same in principle: they are governed by Ideas Limited, or Very Limited, a government incorporation, invisible to the eye, but not inaudible to the student. It thus has vast resemblance in KIND and MODE, though here in a less flamboyant fashion, to youth indoctrination as in that so CERTAIN and most SURE model of the so GREAT father of his land!
He did not last. Anti-God stuff doesn't. It has its flimsy fulfilments and pays. That is the way it goes.
That, incidentally, is the way the Empire of which Haman was no mean citizen, went. It took a time to do so, so that the opposition to Haman, seen in Mordecai DARING to serve his God with sincerity, was to be DEALT with, this being rather like the case those Universities which, without debate, remove lecturers who hold to the Creator, and smile, smirk, put back the dirk, or use whatever methodology appeals. As this author had occasion to retort to one potentate on one of these bodies, when lecturing and arraigned for content, in what was an application to field of creation of scientific method: Are not universities or such bodies representative of truth, and is not truth their domain, inspiration and desire ? Therefore what have I done that does not meet it, and where is my error! SHOW IT.
These or some such words were spoken; but the reply was simple. This had to stop because it was NOT CONVENIENT, reminding one of Caiaphas and HIS ideas, as seen in John 11.
God, this GOD! what has that to do with it. Haman like many modern counterparts had no time for parley. The Jewish nation served and worshipped Him ? so what ? Let the Jewish race (read for our time, the Christian, Bible-believing scholars) be exterminated. Now we do not use blood, as in blood sport, but give an ultimatum: conform or go!
What however has conformity to do with truth ? when its quasi-brother, academic popularity, changes regularly and sometimes riotously, whether in many medical ideas or those of physics! It is what the evidence attests, logic requires, and a perspective sustainable in logic shows, which is to be considered by universities and governments alike; and because very dramatically, this is not so (this State government, though listening to appeal, never having so much as responded to repeated challenge to public debate), and contra-factual materials are pushed where logical basis lacks in this field, there is even military war that is continual, mounting and increasingly hard to distinguish from simple and sampled madness.
War ? but what has that got to do with it ? Teach self-preservation, self-fulfilment, no God, or omit God who is the basis for any sustainable logic (cf. Deity and Design ... , Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ) and put in something else, then you first of all fall from what life is, and then find something else to make in its place, but since this cannot fit, whether it be Hitleresque racism, or atheistic humanism, or Imperial deity, as in the World War II scenario, or self-deifying humanist confusion, as so often now, there will be results.
People with power to break the heads of others, or vaporise their cities, will consider their options. Those with other delusions than those which control so many States, will feel free to implement these, and some States with such delusions, will want to wipe off other nations, or peoples, or ideas, and having exaggerated atomic powers, which are pushed around the earth like students on vacation, they want to try them out. It is all very droll ? rather unholy, dead in wit, and source of the death of (once) milling millions, minions by State subjection in many cases, of foolish philosophy, whether masquerading as truth, or pragmatically deemed necessary, or found to be entrancing intriguing: or having any other format for error.
The trouble imposed by haughty Haman, then, on God-fearing Mordecai, was all because of God. God was inconvenient to Haman. So he took action. The State makes quite a practice of that, and has done so for millenia, in different degrees, with diverse delusions, very often, in the history of nations: very often indeed.
Let us revert to the former time of Queen Esther, then, one so instructive for our own.
AN AVENUE OF ESCAPE
In this idea of Haman, to exterminate as far as might be, the Jewish race, one which someone nearer to the modern site of Persia seems rather close to imitating at this, our own time, there was a divinely wrought provision. There was a way of escape. It was like that in 1948, when the UN decided to let things rip, while various nations invaded scarcely born Israel to exterminate it, when God, having in Zechariah 12, promised a certain outcome, that is, one where His own power was lent to prevent the said extermination, used it and Israel just formed, foraging for identity, won. This amazingly and sensationally, epochally indeed, it over various rich, imposing and established nations who sought to eliminate the Jew, that unprepossessing preoccupation of so many for so long, rather in sound like that of a stuck record.
God has His ways.
Now the Lord had arranged that when the King of that land of the Medes and Persians dismissed his wife in an unseemly affair, he had sought a substitute, and Esther becoming the chief appeal, she took the place of Queen. It was a remarkable thing, given some appearance of formality; but it elevated a young Jewess to a place of potential influence very suddenly, and in a most timely fashion.
That was the first part of the avenue of escape. We read of it in Esther 1.
The next part came like this. Mordecai happened to overhear a plot to kill the king, reported it, and those concerned were reported. His name was entered in the official annals (Esther 2:19ff.).
These simple events, in the overruling providence of God, were to have enormous consequences for the liberty to be godly, in that land, without many being obliterated or downgraded, as is so often done, as in the days of the Romanist Inquisition, or the Scotch Covenanters; and of course, in Sudan to this day, as in many ways, in China, not to say some parts of India, where hundreds of churches have recently been assailed, and allegedly, money paid for killing Christians on the part of one religion, with a special assignment task, to be selective in killing pastors.
This is reported in Israel My Glory, May-June 2009, p. 11. The feature includes a WorldNetDaily report on the matter. God is always inconvenient to those who act as if to replace Him; but like air, you need it, and if you foul your relationship to it with mere pollution, the lungs don't like it. The business of making gods is limited by reality, and payments for delusion, swift or slow, lead to forfeiture of peace, life and order.
Man in religion, is a slow learner; but in him there burns a desire which, if not satisfied with God, follows illusionist adventurisms, misused originalities, making a folly out of freedom, till payments exceed capacity to pay. Always true at the individual level, in the end, this is becoming constantly and consistently more apparent to a world bent on breaching the rule of God, the God of grace and creation, judgment and mercy, of Jesus Christ: the God who though slow to anger.
He is the God who is not deletable, like a line typed, but remains just as He was, with just the same plan, and the same announcements as ever, just as surely fulfilled now as always (cf. Hebrews 13:8, Psalm 102, Malachi 3:6, James 1:17). It never varies. Physics varies vastly; God, not at all. The one depends on man's mind; but man's mind depends on God, its Maker. The results in both cases proceed accordingly, the one changing constantly, sometimes ephemerally, the other not at all.
Thus God set up the play, the drama, allowing full liberty to folly, but providing for payments in due course, deliverance with suffering, and lessons for all. Esther and Mordecai, then, were placed, like pieces in a game of chess, in their sites, ready for action. Dunkirk was somewhat similar, in its day, the boats in their places, soon to be placed in action.
In this sense, the term humanist refers to what is based on man, his proclivities, ideas and productions, which of course include some religions, armies, varieties of concepts for the race or parts of it relative to other parts and so on, all from the little mind of man. Whatever religions ideas Haman may have had, there were not deducible from logic or arraignable from God. They just happened to be his as a man, and being human, they were humanist. Does that mean that all religions without the God of creation, power and redemption are humanist ? Not necessarily: those which palpably subject themselves to some god who rules them, and acknowledge that god above man, beyond man's powers, would not be called humanist, even if in error.
It is when there is no sign or signal in major matters of the presence of someone beyond oneself and one's thought in this world, and over it, that the term humanist may thus be used most broadly, since the projections from man, be they what they might, are human-based.
It can be quite intoxicating, as for that matter can false gods, many of which are made so to compete or find themselves in suchb odd and uncertain situations, that their actual role varies, and man's power to intervene may become crucial.
Haman certainly was intoxicated in spirit. He rejoiced with friends (Esther 5:9ff.) when he had secured from the sovereign a directive to have the Jews assaulted throughout all the dominions of the Empire. He used a little circumvention here. He had reported to the King (Esther 3:8ff.), that -
"there is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people's, and they do not keep the king's laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain."
Clear and to the point, was that, certainly.
The King allowed him to do what he would, to that race. The result was that this same humanist Haman sent out letters that people in all the royal domains should set themselves "to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews." It really sounds SO Iranian to this day, as then, so now. It was like a boil coming up again, in the same place as before.
A time was set. It was, again, like our present time here. Firstly, we have the extermination facilitators. Ponder that a moment.
1) As noted above, we move into
the realm of not allowing specifically Christian employes
2) We have the case where
independent school Principals had to receive
3) It is seen in University
oppression, in many nations, often reported,
4) It is seen in the
longsuffering student body, the victim in this vice.
5) It is met in Socialist
imperialism, which seems from recent reports,
To be sure, some places are fit for government, where the nation as such is concerned; but it needs to tread warily when it uses its disproportionate power to intimidate or dictate: it is not god.
There is always the danger of forgetting this IN PRACTICE, by ignoring the deity, and doing everything on a merely human basis, thus EXCLUDING in principle what is the basis of any principle, as truth, as distinct from human projections on a relativistic, implied basis, as such insusceptible to truth. In practice, the government then takes over administrative, bureaucratic control of increasing areas of life, uses higher taxes to do so, so reducing private capacity to act diversely, or loans which are an indirect form of subjugation after a certain point, leading to loss of national independence and effective subservience to the power of the lenders. Soon, thus it trots, then frequently gallops.
These areas are run, of course, without God whether in appearance and reality, or just in reality, whereas private people would run them in this or that way, with no AUTOMATIC exclusion. Thus humanism takes over, the godless grow, and the State becomes a robot for the zealot. It is common, like dirt.
Thus in the Persian case of Queen Esther, daring action was taken.
Mordecai heard of it, being intelligent and informed. He was not allowed to enter the court in mourning, so went close to the King's gate in sackcloth, and indeed, "he cried with a loud and bitter voice" (Esther 4:1). The alert and watchful queen (it IS good to be vigilant in this world, for it is alien to the Lord, James 4:4) asked him, through a servant, what the problem was. Mordecai told of the money Haman had promised to pay to the King's treasury for the right of slaughter of Jews, and gave a copy of the edict, thus showing the place of due DOCUMENTATION.
This went to Esther with a multi-pronged message. She must see the King, came the message. Esther replied factually, pointing out that it was against the law to initiate this sort of approach, and that she would die if she did it. except he happened to extend the sceptre, signifying the imperial willingness to see the supplicant.
Mordecai's reply, likewise, was firm but measured, neither party exploding, both however being very clear-cut. Esther might decline and if so, Mordecai indicated, God would use some other means, but she should not think that her house would escape. Indeed, she should consider that perhaps it was for just such a time as this that God had made her to occupy so amazing a site as that of Queen!
Esther's response was in due form. IF there was fasting and prayer, on all sides, then she would do it after three days. It was like a rehearsal in the 3 days, for the resurrection, for indeed, she was buried in peril till that time, and could arise only by the power of God.
She acted, she went, the sceptre was extended, she arranged a gradual path, but within the time limits, and had a dinner party. Mordecai rejoiced at his apparent elevation in being invited. In that party, however, the truth emerged. Esther being asked for her desire, pointed out that it would be rather nice if she and her people were not killed. WHO! said the king, dared to suggest such a thing. Well, there was Haman... The King, amazed went to the garden to cool down, or rile up, or think, and when he came back, there was Haman seeking help from Esther, on his knees before her, and the King put an unpleasant interpretation on this, and Haman was finished. His face was covered; he had indeed lost more than face.
Thus Haman, in such commotion at the King's gate, came near to peril; Esther came nearer still, and in the light of God's preliminary preparations, the case was met. The Jews were not to be extinguished, for although even the King could not change the law, this being their culture, he could and DID make a new law, giving the Jews power throughout his kingdom, to resist assault. People could read between the lines as well then as now presumably, and the nature of the change could be interpreted. The Jews were successful and their enemies were themselves overthrown.
This, it is like the law of God which cannot be overthrown, and God Himself will not alter it, that sin means death (Romans 5:1-12, 6:23, Genesis 3). When however man is thus arraigned, God sends out another law, the law of life (as in Romans 8:1-10), and this comes because He paid for the death man deserved, by sending His only begotten Son, born of a virgin, to die for it and put paid to it; and resurrected Him, having so met the case, so that the results of the first law were overcome, but on a selective basis.
Where this new law, based on the death of the Lord, and His resurrection, in His own bodily form, from the grave, where He did not remain, does not apply because the basis is not received, so be it. The first law continues to apply. In this limited way, however, the parallel exists.
On the other side, where Christ is concerned, there is not only the case of those who do not want the new law, and the sacrificial reinstatement through the death and resurrection of the Christ, God as man. There is the positive aspect as well.
Thus, a Government may be the one to make laws, contrary to Christ, requiring action as with Mordecai. A Christian may therefore have to reject as false, a law taking over from God and legislating in what is His realm of spiritual obedience and command, for His people; and action may be required to expose it; or need may be for both these things.
It may take a generation to overthrow the fraudulent law, in which man poses as unlimited, contestant therefore with God. It may take years. It is however the only godly option, that this be done. Those who continue where God is expressly or even inferentially demeaned or contravened, and do so in terms of a choice to bow to this world, its masters, manners or ways, they cannot have two masters! as Christ declared. It is One or the other.
That dual approach, it is what Christ did not do, and what His servants therefore are not free to do. Obviously, if you are as in Romans 13, subject to State laws, this is by AUTHORITY of God, and He is not telling you by HIS authority to VOID it, for the sake of another, so that this is the limit placed on man's law to be obeyed, that it does not take over from the premises preserved as His own, by God.
One University lecturer once fatuously made it appear that Give to Caesar the things that belong to him, and to God the things belonging to Him, meant nothing. WHICH things are which!
However a few minutes reading the text, the Bible, of which he had probably heard, would suffice to show that God has commands NOT to do things, called sin; thus if the State said you MUST do these things, it is quite distinct enough. You do not do them. God also has commands as to things you MUST do. Hence if the State says you must not do them, or that you will pay if you do, you still do them. It is not difficult to discern the case, and millions have died in exemplifying this case.
Esther and Mordecai, who was given immense power for his pains - and his earlier deliverance of the King did nothing to reduce the impact of his reliability, were examples of this zeal, application and sacrificial willingness. Cranmer, in denouncing Romanism before it burnt him, in burning first the right hand with which he had signed a merely temporary recantation, as he sought nation unity, did something also of vast note and courage.
In the field of lively service for the Lord, such people are distinctive. You have to be so, if you are Christ's, not taking the lead, necessarily, but not willingly being sent to the chaff cutter, to be sliced into bits of politically palpable ex-human conformism. That, it is not a thing to be spiritually vital, or even obedient, or even competent.
Incidentally, fascinating is the fact that to be humanist is in the end, to cease to be human, just as to gorge with food may soon mean you cease to have stomach, in death through fatness. Putting things where they do not belong can end them, like a dancer in irons. If you make man first, then you are in practice to anything man's inventive mind and sick spirit may think up, or produce from the magic notions of a reversion to some kind of childhood. You then become a thing, a manipulee, and your only appeal, in the end, is from man to man, which does not take you very far.
The case is most clear, then. The cost is most clear for either step is clear. If you are a Christian, then taking up a cross and following Christ is not a symbol; it is a setting for the GPS of life. Squalor happens; but it is not to be desired. To be double-minded is an option, but man has only one mind, and to divide it does not work.
Acting in obedience to God, however, as attested in Christ, this is the way of holiness, and as Peter and John long ago pointed out, "God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him" (Acts 5:32). In other words, go His way and He goes with you ... rebel and you rebel alone, though you may have time-servers and fellow-travellers enough and even aplenty. It depends - whose society do you follow, that of man, or of God! It needs to be resolved, and its results will be seen. Man! but as to God, His is wisdom and His is beauty, and peace is His; and war on Him, it is a militancy of madness. If one's heart is set against the King of Love, who IS love, so that its opposite does not govern Him, though justice may have its place on what destroys the race, the heart and the spirit, then such is the setting, and such its destiny.
A better way is provided. Esther and Mordecai, they were illustrations of following it. Jesus Christ IS it (John 14:6). It is in HIM that it is travelled, who is also the life and the truth. These are companions indispensable to peace, and indeed to being what it is made for, this thing, humankind.
Five things remain to observe as we behold the principles and criteria of lively living in the Lord, through this epic scene.
The first is this: Esther did not languish in doubt. She acted.
The second: when confronted, she did not dilly-dally, shilly-shally, but set in
place splendid spiritual conditions and then faced peril.
Thirdly, when she saw
the King at her banquet, following the merciful sceptre result, and Haman was
hanged, yet Esther did not rest in any style of personal satisfaction. Her
PEOPLE were the point, and until she had them cleared, nothing could intervene.
It is apparent from Esther 8:2ff., that a SECOND TIME, Esther risked her life
and was shown mercy by the King, so enabling her to make what was by its very
date for action, an urgent plea for her people.
Fourthly, when she did so, it was not only a timely crusade but an earnest and intense entreaty with emotion and words to match, as if it were herself that was in danger still (Esther 8:6).
In view of the still standing letter, as commissioned through Haman, to destroy the Jews, written to the imperial authorities in many places, Esther spoke like this to the King:
"For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people ?
Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen ?"
The King was very moved, and acted, as noted.
Fifthly, even when the Jews had been
authorised to fight back against their enemies,
The lessons are not difficult. Do not be double-minded about duty; do not be lulled into inaction when the matter is less pressing; be heart-felt and do not consider the oppressed brethren as disposable!