Scripture

Esther 3:12-15

12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.

15 The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.

Reflection

“Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” This popular description may be legend but it accurately describes the wickedness of Nero who was an evil and ineffectual Roman Emperor in the late first century. He cared not for the suffering of his people while a great fire consumed Rome leaving half of its population homeless. Just like Nero was an Anti-Christ, we are warned more will come before Christ comes again. No matter how powerful and wicked they seem, no amount of destruction and suffering they cause will lead to victory. They will not prevail. In a single day, Haman plans to execute the entire Jewish population. In a single day, his desire is to annihilate the people of God. Like Nero centuries later, Haman and King Xerxes drink while the kingdom falls into chaos and death hangs over the empire like a shadow.  

Prophesying about the future glory of God’s kingdom, the prophet Isaiah says, “...no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17). Because we aren’t persecuted or being hunted or deposed for our beliefs, we can fall into the illusion that we’re living in a neutral world where there are no such forces of evil against us. The schemes of the enemy aren’t always violent and loud like in Esther. They are equally quiet and subversive. C.S. Lewis reminds us we live in enemy occupied territory.  “Enemy-occupied territory---that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage” (Mere Christianity). Where do you find yourself being tempted lately? How is the enemy working against you? How is your relationship with your spouse and kids through this time? Call upon the name of the Lord. Seek him first. And refute every tongue that accuses you in Jesus’ name.    

Prayer

Heavenly Father, though sorrow and trouble come our way, though we endure the sting of failure and defeat, though we spend years waiting for a breakthrough, it is only a night. Joy comes in the morning. Your light breaks through the darkness and we are made new. Thank you Jesus. Your love never fails. Help us to love each other as you have loved us. May the works of our hands make mercy and justice and words of our mouths speak grace and truth. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory before all ages, now, and forevermore. Amen