MDB 17: Esther 3
Chapter divisions in Bible are sometimes less helpful than they might be, and that is certainly the case as we come to today's reading. In order to make sense of all that's going on in this passage, we need to keep in mind what happened at the end of the previous chapter. There we saw Mordecai - Esther's cousin and guardian - uncover a plot to assassinate king Xerxes and even though it was the kind of deed that warranted significant personal reward, he gets nothing more than a mention in the royal annals. We read that and the thought crosses our mind, 'That's not very fair!' It's like those many situations in life where we do something good and expect something good by way of reward - if not from men, at least from God. But that is not how God works. Mordecai knew that and that's what leads us into today's passage.
As chapter three begins another major player in this drama steps on to the stage: Haman the Agagite, who we quickly discover is a nasty piece of work. If the last chapter ended with us thinking, 'Mordecai deserved to be honoured, but wasn't', this next chapter begins with us soon thinking, 'Haman didn't deserve to be honoured, but was!' And back comes that thought, 'God, that's not fair!' It brings us into one of the biggest issues in life that causes many people who aren't Christians to struggle over the message of the Bible and many who are to carry a major chip on their shoulder: 'Where's the justice in it all?' But it all gets so much worse when we see how Haman reacts to Mordecai and what he plots against the Jews.
Through it all, it's more than a little curious to see how unflustered Mordecai is about all these issues. Even though nothing is said about his faith and what he believed about God, it is actually written all over his life. Here is a perfect example of what the psalmist says: 'He who dwells in shelter of Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty' (Ps 91.1). More than that, here is a man who foreshadows the quiet confidence that Jesus had in his Father's control over all things - even on the cross - that allowed him to die in peace in the face of the worst apparent injustice the world has ever seen. God's justice is bigger than we think!
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