Esther 3:1 – 4 “After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor. Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behavior would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.”
This is an interesting twist in the story. Mordecai, who has told Esther to conceal her identity as a Jew, has taken a stand. He has refused to bow down to Haman, although he apparently had no such qualms about bowing to Xerxes. To understand his stubborn refusal to bow to this man, we need to take a closer look at history.
Haman was an Agagite, a descendent of King Agag the Amalekite. When the Jews left Egypt, they were attacked by the Amalekites. For this reason, God condemned the Amalekites to extinction, and declared them to be eternal enemies of the Jews. He committed to wipe out all memory of them from the face of the earth. This job was given to King Saul, but Saul fudged a little. He spared the animals. And he spared King Agag. He said he wanted to sacrifice the animals, and who knows why he spared the king. But whatever the reason, the Agagites were still around in Mordecai’s day – arch-enemies of the Jews. And Mordecai, a descendent of King Saul, refused to bow to him.
His friends bugged him and bugged him. “Mordecai, why aren’t you bowing down to this guy? You’ve done so well in the kingdom. You’ve become a judge, and who knows where you could go from here? Don’t you think you ought to play by the rules, and just bow down to the guy?” But Mordecai had a stubborn streak a mile long, and he refused to bow. He was probably right about standing by his convictions, but it is interesting that he would choose this particular battle to fight. He had obviously hidden his Jewishness up to this point. He had most certainly made many compromises along the way.
Generations before, Saul had made a little compromise. Now, a man had risen to power who had a deep hatred for the Jews. If Saul had only obeyed God completely. If only.
Now Mordecai had made compromise after compromise. He had concealed his identity up to this point, and blended right in with the pagans around him. He had told his adopted daughter to hide her Jewishness, though he had no way of knowing what was coming. He just wanted her to fit in with the pagans. But bowing to an Agagite was just too much to ask. It makes me wonder if it was truly a spiritual conviction on Mordecai’s part, or if it was just his stubborn pride.
Don’t we all do that, though? We have our pet sins which we will not tolerate, but we often compromise on much bigger issues. We don’t dare use foul language, at least not in front of other Christians who might judge us, but we will sure tear each other apart with gossip! We are too holy and spiritual to go see a certain movie. We don’t drink, or smoke, or chew, or run with those who do. But all the while we are unkind and judgmental; we slander one another, and don’t seem bothered one bit.
I’m glad Mordecai took his stand against Haman. I just wish he had taken his stand as a child of God much sooner. And as I look at my own life, I must ask myself, “Am I being consistent in my actions? Am I living as a child of God should live in every area of my life? Or am I picking and choosing my battles, based on my own pride and stubbornness?” If I am squeaky clean morally, yet I am unkind and judgmental, then I am a hypocrite. If I walk and talk and dress with all the appropriate Christian attire, but I gossip and slander, then I am not who I say I am.
Mordecai took a stand, and everyone was surprised at the news that he was a Jew. I want my life to be consistent, so that when I need to take a stand, no one is surprised.
Dear Father, Please help me to live for You in all things. Help me to recognize areas of inconsistency in my life.
CHLOE UPDATE: (Copied and pasted from previous post) I just spoke with Jennifer, and you will not believe this! They have already taken many of Chloe’s tubes out. She simply doesn’t need them. And they decided to move her out of ICU already! Except, there was no bed available, so she will stay in ICU one more night, and move to a regular room tomorrow. They expected her to be in Intensive Care for a long, long time, but we are seeing the power of prayer in her life!
Chloe has always had a bit of an olive complexion. Lovely, lovely girl. But now, her mother says she is as pink as a rose! Her counts (don’t ask me what counts) are dropping, which is proof that her new liver is already doing its job!
Today, Chloe has been awake, and has said, “Mama,” “eye,” “meow,” and countless, “What’s that?” “What’s that?” “What’s that?”, while pointing at various things.
She has not smiled yet. But under the circumstances, I don’t blame her.
We need to continue to pray that she does not get any infections or illnesses; it is crucial that she stay very healthy in the coming weeks.
Also pray for sleep for Jennifer and Mike.
Thank you all so much for your continued prayers! God is answering them, big time! Love you all.
This is so true Renae. I often hear people making comments about others while they’re still on their way out of church!!
And thanks for researching the background to this story – I love knowing all the details which led up to the events!
It does add much to the story, doesn’t it, Jackie! I enjoy finding out these little tidbits. 🙂
Happy to hear about Cloe progress. May the Lord heal her completly
you are good explaining and painting a full picture showing a wide screen of how things were lined together.
In many ways I find myself sitting listening to the good preachers of my childhood’s Pentecost Church. (There were bad ones as well, they were boring and made the Sunday evening a torture.)
I love the way you’re speaking of an engaged, open heart.
This way you’re hitting bull’s eye with me.
(Even though I do drink some occasionally glasses of wine, spend money on far too expensive art and what do I know. My wonderful Dad was very tolerant about these things, but not about breaking the ten commandments, so I guess he still is my best role model. Come to think of it, he did cry when he learned that I was smoking tobacco. Luckily I finally managed to quit smoking, when I understood that daughter Serina was troubled by me doing so. It cost me a lot,but it sure was worth it. As she became a teenager, she knew how addictive nicotine was, and wasn’t even tempted to try.
Now, that was a chit chatty personal testimony, far away from the good Mordecai.
What an insightful post. Thank you, Renae. One day I hope to meet you face to face.
Thank you so much, Amrita, for your continued prayers. They are working!
Felisol, I love your chit chat! I wish we could sit in your lovely kitchen and talk for hours. You are welcome in my kitchen as well, but I’ve seen pictures of yours, and it’s much nicer! 🙂
Your father sounds like a wonderful man.
Jean, yes, I agree. Ouch! As I read and write about the flawed people of the Bible, I seem to become more aware of my own flaws.
I hope we can meet face to face as well one day. I have a feeling we will meet at some writers conference at some point. Won’t that be fun? We probably won’t get a thing out of the sessions, because we’ll be off “chit-chatting” as Felisol says. 😉