Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Esther 3:3-6 - Suffering for Christ's Sake

Then the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king’s command?” Now it happened, when they spoke to him daily and he would not listen to them, that they told it to Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand; for Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai.
Esther 3:3-6

This reminded me of a recent interchange between an American Senator and a Christian man. The Senator was castigating the man for believing something that is central to the gospel. In a series of attacks, formed as questions, the believer kept responding, "Well, I'm a Christian, and..." Several consecutive times, he would be interrupted and silenced at that point.

Well, here is something similar. Mordecai could worship no mere man. When the king's servants challenged him on it, Mordecai's answer was that he is a Jew. It is interesting that, in v4, it seems that the king's servants at least considered the possibility that he might be given a religious exception. Even by the common grace light of nature, they seemed to know that Mordecai ought to be permitted an exemption, but they apparently knew something of Haman's nature as well.

Sure enough, Haman was so far from willing to grant an exemption that he concluded that if following the religion of the one true and living God meant that they would not bow to him, then he would simply destroy all followers of that religion.

This is the mindset that is developing against genuine, biblical Christianity in America. Never mind that these true disciples of Christ love their enemies and are even willing to sacrifice themselves for those who hate them. Unless Christians are willing to approve that which is wicked and immoral, and unless they are willing to bow and worship as soon as those in the current positions of cultural power appear, they can expect the fiercest responses. There are no religious exemptions, except perhaps for those whose religion it actually is to hate and kill us. Instead, Christians can expect that their quiet and conscientious devotion to Christ and His Word may sooner or later result in a determination to expunge us all.

Are we ready for this? Do we love our enemies precisely because we love Christ? And are we willing to be hated and hunted for His sake? We can be comforted that no one can ever take us from His and the Father's hand. We can be sure that nothing that He has earned for us can ever be lost. And, as is the main doctrine of the book of Esther, we can know that God is ruling and overruling everything for the good of His people, for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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