Esther 6:1-7:6 (NRSV)
A royal reversal of fortunes
On that night the king could not sleep, and he gave orders to bring the book of records, the annals, and they were read to the king. It was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had conspired to assassinate King Ahasuerus. Then the king said, "What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?" The king's servants who attended him said, "Nothing has been done for him." The king said, "Who is in the court?" Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king's palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him. So the king's servants told him, "Haman is there, standing in the court." The king said, "Let him come in." So Haman came in, and the king said to him, "What shall be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor?" Haman said to himself, "Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?" So Haman said to the king, "For the man whom the king wishes to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and a horse that the king has ridden, with a royal crown on its head. Let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king's most noble officials; let him robe the man whom the king wishes to honor, and let him conduct the man on horseback through the open square of the city, proclaiming before him: 'Thus shall it be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor.'" Then the king said to Haman, "Quickly, take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to the Jew Mordecai who sits at the king's gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned." So Haman took the robes and the horse and robed Mordecai and led him riding through the open square of the city, proclaiming, "Thus shall it be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor."
Then Mordecai returned to the king's gate, but Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, "If Mordecai, before whom your downfall has begun, is of the Jewish people, you will not prevail against him, but will surely fall before him."
While they were still talking with him, the king's eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman off to the banquet that Esther had prepared. So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, "What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled." Then Queen Esther answered, "If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me - that is my petition - and the lives of my people - that is my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king." Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, "Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?" Esther said, "A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!" Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.
It is so hard to hold your peace when you're trying to do right and people either forget you or scandalize your name.
Even when we have done no wrong, there will be times that people attack, hate, or hurt us, just because they are mean, hateful, ignorant, confused, jealous or misinformed.
It is at times like this that it is VERY HARD not to strike back, take revenge, or seek to clear your name. It is very difficult to remain silent when others are speaking ill to you--or against you--in the presence of others.
Mordecai had actually saved the life of the king, only to be forgotten. Then, to add insult to injury, the king's right hand man sought his destruction, rather than his honor and esteem.
Rather than blowing his own horn, or demanding repayment for his good deed, Mordecai remained silent. He trusted God to exalt him and he was so right to do so!
Mordecai's mortal enemy ended up parading him around town, declaring to all the people, that he was honor-worthy!
Now, I can't promise you a parade given by your enemies, but I can declare to all of us that God is well able to fight our battles. God is well able to convict the hearts of our enemies. God is well able to defend our reputations against slander and God is well able to reward our faithfulness and love toward others when God is ready to do so!
Ultimately, as Christians we have a choice. We can choose to love or we can choose to hate. There is only one correct choice. WE MUST LOVE.
It is not praiseworthy when we love those who love us, anyone can do that! But, it is praiseworthy and a radical declaration of our faith when we choose to love our enemies, even as Christ loved us.
It is an awesome thing when we choose the path of love. There are such lovely blessings along that path--two of my favorites are joy and peace!
Will you choose to do love toward your enemies today?
If so, let us pray: Good Lord, I love you. I find that I love you more than I hate my enemies. Please forgive me for harboring hatred and unforgiveness in my heart. Please cause me to love all of your children, as much as I love myself. I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @ http://bit.ly/JVhaLta