Friday 9 November, 2018

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.

Hasn’t the Jewish race suffered incredibly over history. This passage is yet another account of the severe persecution that the Jews are about to face by this decree to have them all slaughtered in a single day. And why? We need to refer back to what we have read previously in this chapter. The Jews were different. They kept themselves separate, their customs were different, and they did not obey the king’s laws. King Xerxes was therefore advised that this should not be tolerated, and that they should be destroyed.

I ponder with what God is teaching us today by this passage. I believe a key challenge is “conformity”. If the laws of our land changed in a way that was contrary to God’s laws and ways, how would I respond? If our Christian customs, eg being part of a church community, prayer meetings, connect groups etc all suddenly became illegal, would I remain faithful to God, even to the point of death?

I like to think that I would remain steadfast, and it is a worthy challenge for us all to contemplate how we would personally respond.

Thank you Father that we live in a tolerant country, and that our expression of our faith and belief in You is not illegal. Continue to build our faith such that in any scenario of potential persecution, we grow in strength of faith. Amen.

Written by Steve Fell

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