Sunday, March 16, 2014

Stand and Persevere

Haman was dead.

He had been hung on the gallows designed for her cousin Mordecai. King Ahasuerus had given her the house of Haman. In return she had told him all about her family and how Mordecai was her cousin. He had summoned Mordecai immediately. Then her husband shocked her by taking off his signet ring, which a guard had pried from Haman's dead hands, and gave it to Mordecai. Esther then gave Mordecai the house of Haman. It only seemed right. Haman was Mordecai's adversary whom God had delivered into his hands.

Now she was on the ground, bowed before King Ahasuerus, pleading for him to revoke the evil plan Haman had devised against her people.

She peaked up to see the royal scepter extended towards her. Standing up, she issued her plea one more time. "If it please your Majesty, if I have found favor in your sight, and if it seems right to the king, and if I am pleasing in your eyes, please let a decree go forth issuing that Haman's letters to destroy the Jewish people have been revoked." She met the eyes of her beloved. "How can I bear to see my people destroyed?"

This was it. They had come so far. All they needed was for King Ahasuerus to give the order, and this whole ordeal would be behind them.

A real smile graced her lips for the first time in days.

The king started to speak, he deep voice resonating in the grand room. "I have given the house of Haman into your hands, and Haman was hung on the gallows as punishment for his plot against the Jews." His deep eyes held regret. "You may write as you please with regard to the Jews in my name, and seal it with my signet ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king's ring cannot be revoked."

The words took a moment to sink into her heart. Haman had written his edict in King Ahasuerus' name and sealed it with his signet ring. She choked on a sob. Meaning we cannot revoke the law. We've failed.

Sobbing, she dropped to her knees. Decorum and protocol were thrown to the wind. Pulling her hair and royal robs she moaned, "What was the point?"

A hand touched her shoulder. Mordecai was crouched next to her, "There is still hope my dear Esther. We, our people, can fight back."

"No," She started shaking her head.

"Yes!" He took her by the shoulders and gave her a little shake. "Right now, they are waiting to die. We can tell them to fight. Command it with the king's edict. Don't you see? Yahweh's hand is still with us. Don't despair now."

King Ahasuerus moved to look into her eyes again. "He's correct." He smiled, and Esther felt hope burn within her chest again. He nodded to a nearby servant. "Send for the royal scribes at once. You've an edict to write."

Based on Esther 8:1-9

They had taken care of Haman. Instead of being able to brush their hands off, and settle back with a feast for a job well done, they had to figure out this law. What must it have been like for Esther to plea that Haman's law to be revoked, thinking they had won this battle, only for the king to say that any law written in his name cannot be revoked?

Do you ever feel like it's one thing after another? You make it through one obstacle, and immediately another awaits. Bigger and badder then the first.

I imagine that's how they might have felt.

Let's face it. Life is exactly that way. The question is, how do we face those times?

It would have been so easy for Esther and Mordecai to throw their hands up declaring, "Well we tried! Apparently God's hand isn't in this after all."

But His hand was in that situation. While nothing written in the king's name could be revoked, they could add to it. And save their people.

God's hand is in our lives. And when we make it through one thing, He is prepared to use that hand to help us through the next obstacle court. We may get twists and turns and bombs dropped that we didn't expect...but He did. He already has the solution. We just need to trust Him. To keep standing for Him. Don't turn back or give up. He has that but-this-way-we-can-overcome plan waiting for us.

"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7

When we stand before God and His host of witnesses, will we be able to say that we were immovable and steadfast? That we didn't give up? That we fought the fight? That we finished the race? That we kept our faith? Will He compare us to Job-who did not curse God and die, or Abraham-who did not lose his faith in what God had spoken, or Daniel-who did not stop serving God in a foreign land despite trials and tribulation from those around him? Will God say that He can see Jesus in how we lived our lives?  Will He be able to declare that we stood in perseverance and strode towards Him no matter how bleak the situation looked?

Will we stand and persevere?

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