What You Do Counts

Today I'd like to take an incident in the Old Testament and bring out a few points relevant for us today. The main point I hope you'll see is that with God anyone can make a difference!

The story starts with a Jewish lady marrying a Persian King named Xerxes. Her uncle Mordecai even saves the King from a death plot around about this time. You'd think with that going for them they'd live happily ever after! Unfortunately, NOT!

The King's chief adviser Haman became angry because the Queen's uncle Mordecai would not bow down to him when he passed him by. This was his right by law because of his position in the court.

After mulling it over for months and casting lots for a propitious time, this adviser Haman got the King to agree to pass a law allowing the killing of all Jews because they did not keep the King's laws. Killing one man, the one who would not bow down to him, wasn't enough to appease Haman!

So the law was passed and the times being what they were, the law was proclaimed throughout the land. Imagine walking through the market in your town and having the Town Crier get up on his platform and announce that on Saturday week every able bodied man can take up a weapon and kill anyone of an ethnic minority in the neighbourhood. Money has even been earmarked to pay all those interested in the job!

You can understand that every Jew was rather upset. Well, that may be an understatement!

Mordecai was possible the most upset as he realized that the indirect cause of the problem was him. It was wrong of Haman to do what he was doing but that would not have made Mordecai feel any better.

When Mordecai's distress was brought to Queen Esther's notice she asked him what she could do. He talked through the whole situation and asked her to see the King about it. The thing was that going to see the King without an invite could itself lead to death! But Mordecai made her realise that it was the only option.

So Queen Esther asked that all the Jews in Susa should fast for three days and three nights and she would do the same, and after that she'd beard the lion in his den! So Mordecai organized that all the Jews in the city of Susa would fast for three days and three nights, and Ester and her entourage did the same.

So on the third day having completed her fasting Esther goes along to see the King. Fortunately the King was pleased to see her and invited her close. On being asked what she wanted Esther invited the King along to a feast she had prepared for the King and Haman. The King agreed and on that third day they went along and enjoyed the feast. The King would have granted Esther any wish but she asked for them to come back the next day to another feast.

Everything seemed to be going well for Haman. His plans had worked and the law was in place. He was also chuffed about being the only one invited to the feast besides the King. Life was good - but it all turned bitter when Mordecai did not bow to him as he passed him on his way home, despite Mordecai being under penalty of death!

But, there was worse to follow. The next day (the fourth) the King remembered that his life had been spared before because a plot to kill him had been exposed and he wondered if the person who saved him had been thanked. Finding out that the man had not been honored, he asked Haman how someone that he, the King, wanted to honor should be honored. When Haman told him, the King commanded him to carry out everything he'd thought of on Mordecai! Life for Haman had gone from honey to gall.

Later that fourth day the King and Haman went to a second day of feasting in the Queen's apartments and once more the King asked Esther to name a wish and he would grant it. This time Esther told him that her people had been sold to be slaughtered and she asked for the life of her people. When the King realized what had been done and that Haman had organized this he had Haman crucified on the cross he had built for Mordecai (crucifiction was invented by the Persians and picked up by the Romans!). Then, since he could not recind the 'Haman Law', he passed a law allowing the Jews to kill any one who raised a hand against them in all the land. So the people came to fear the Jews because of what they might do and many even claimed to BE Jews so as to avoid any trouble!

So the Jews in Persia were not wiped out and the point is made that where people are willing to stand and take their troubles to God they can make a difference to a whole nation such as here in Israel.

Esther became a heroine. Se called a fast for three days and three nights to ask God for his help in the trial. And on the third day, when the time was over, she broke the fast and acted, and God blessed her actions.

Mordecai became a hero. His stand for God and not bowing down in worship to any human had consequences wider than he would have expected. But he relied on God and prevailed.

The ordinary Jews of Susa fasted and prayed to God for three days and three nights. When they stopped on the third day they must have been on tenterhooks wondering what would happen when Esther went to see the King. But the faith of these unsung heroes was rewarded by God.

We can also see that the things we do have long term ramifications. Haman was a descendent of Agag the king that king Saul spared and obviously not him alone, against the word of God. Mordecai was a descendent of Shimei whom king David did not kill when instigated to do so by men!

So, can you make a difference? YES!

On your own you can be up against seemingly overwhelming odds.
But with God all things are possible.

Attlee Brathwaite.

For more on the work of God Click Here.
For more on the good shepherd Click Here.
How long was Christ in the grave? Click Here.