Friday, March 25, 2011

The Book of Esther 8

The Book of Esther 
Esther 4:1-8

When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; And came even before the king's gate: for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

 So Esther's maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not. Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king's chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was. So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king's gate. And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king's treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them.  Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people.

In a crisis situation, how would you say you typically respond? Do you become hysterical, fearful, pray, seek counsel, try to run away, or react in some other way? Why do you think you respond in this way? Have you made some decisions that required great courage, humility and trust? Esther and Mordecai are in such a crisis in their lives. As the story unfolds, try to allow yourself to be placed in the same situation and be conscience of the stress they felt.
Mordecai in Sackcloth
The great mourning of Mordecai peaked the curiosity of Queen Esther, who then learned from him the decree that had been published throughout the land. Mordecai realized that his nationality had been publicly announced and this brought Haman’s wrath upon his people causing him tremendous grief. He tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes and lamented loudly before the people bitterly. Wearing sackcloth was an outward picture of what was happening inwardly, suggesting signs of distress, turmoil, and humiliation. In every providence where the decree had arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews with weeping, wailing, fasting and many laying in sackcloth and ashes. (This could be a picture of true repentance and lamentation for personal or national deliverance through prayer.)
Esther Takes the Lead
There was a law against wearing sackcloth in the king’s gate which was not surprising in light of the superficial and shallowness of spiritual life in the royal court. Esther sends clothes for Mordecai to put on but he, in his anguish and torment, refuses them. Esther  then summons Hathach, a trusted eunuch in the kings palace and one who attended to her specific needs, be given special instructions to help Mordecai. Mordecai must have trusted  Hathach too, for he revealed Esther’s true nationality placing her in a dangerous position. Hathach was told of the exact sum of money that enticed the king in allowing this deadly decree to transpire and be executed on the day appointed. The betrayal of the people for the exchange of money was insufferable, extreme, and to perplexing to bear. Hathach was given a copy of the decree and was instructed to show this edict to Queen Esther. Mordecai knew that Esther must go before the king which placed a heavy burden upon her to earnestly, humbly and fervently beg for the lives of her people.
Thought: Communication between Mordecai and Esther had to be done through mediators to protect her during this national crisis. Hathach, and his trustworthiness was impactful and admirable which made him a man of high moral character. When you’re at a crossroads in your life and a crucial decision must be made that will have far-reaching consequences, can it be said of you, “They are without a doubt a person of trustworthiness, integrity and high moral character?”

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