Esther: The Darkness Rises (3/5)

Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them.

 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents[b] of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.”

Esther 3:8-9 NIV

We like to think about the good part of being a hero—the applause, the good press, maybe our name in bright lights. But heroes are made in the face of extreme opposition.

Esther would be no exception.

Haman was an old enemy of the Jewish people, much like the Church has an old enemy. His plot to destroy the Jews of Susa is much like the devil’s plan to destroy lives, ruin families and overturn the authority of God’s Word.

It is important to note that Haman himself was not the problem. He was the instrument of a much darker force that remained unseen. Today, we see the same. It is not those with liberal ideologies—or churches that water down God’s message to soothe the ravaged consciences of those who practice ungodly lifestyles—that are the problem.

It is the spirit of the devil that motivates them.

With malicious, militant intent, Haman worked his way into the government, bringing himself to a place that no politician, priest, or citizen dared oppose him. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

From schools to churches, free speech was no longer “free.” There was a price to be paid as anyone who opposed his rule automatically became a threat to the social order. As Esther’s kinsman Mordechai shows us, refusing to bow made one a social pariah–an outcast that became a target of the very government he served.

What a picture of the 21st century United States of America!

Faced with the looming threat of government persecution or political suicide, many in the capital city (think Susa or Washington D.C.) chose to yield to Haman’s wishes. But as the darkness grew, so did the little spark of light.

This backdrop of menace set the stage for one woman to show her true character. Esther is often criticized for her delay in acting in the defense of her people. In her defense, I maintain that anyone in her position would do the same.

The point is, that in the critical moment of decision, she made the choice to show her true colors—to identify herself with the both her people and, by extension, her God at the risk of her life.

I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.

Esther 4:16b NIV

Esther is once again an example to believers everywhere. We too must identify ourselves with God’s Word, no matter the cost. Our world is crumbling. Powerless, our Christian communities as bowing to the rising darkness that snuffs out truth and steals souls.

Scripture is decried as “hate speech” and those who publicly quote it are labeled “misogynists, haters” and such like, just as Haman labeled God’s people “different” and “separate.” While we Christians are expected to kowtow to liberal influences in the name of “tolerance,” where is the tolerance for Christ, His people, and His Word?

As was the case in Sodom, we see a surge of militant intolerance for anyone who avows convictions that defy social trends.

It is important to note that the Jewish people had become a key part of Persian society at this time. Despite this reality, Haman’s message of hate was actually viewed as a message of liberation.

The Bible records that thousands throughout the empire took advantage of the government’s new policy, to give vent to their hatred of those whose “customs were different” and who “kept themselves separate.”

So strong was this hatred for those who didn’t fit in with the social norms that Esther herself was at risk (Esther 4:14, 7:3-5). Not even the Queen of Persia would escape the hatred spawned by a liberal interpretation of the law. The law of Persia was not intended to be misused in this way, just as our Founding Fathers didn’t intend for freedom of religion to become “freedom” from religion.

It was in this climate of political and social upheaval, this age of “bend or die,” that God chose to work in a way that defied human explanation. But, for His plan to succeed, He needed someone willing to stand with His Word… no matter what the personal cost.

A few weeks ago I stood outside Dachau concentration camp in Germany. I realized then that the darkness is gathering and God is once again seeking heroes—those who lovingly but firmly refuse to back down from His law.

Will He find one in you?

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