|Posted by Shalem IPC, NJ. on February 16, 2009 at 9:18 AM|
Usually we honor those who do some favour to us. We like to honor those who honor us. For example, the Kings in olden days honored people who helped their kingdom or protected their lives. If an employee has worked in a company for many years and has been loyal to the company, usually the company honors such a person at the time of his or her retirement. Likewise our God honors those who honor Him when we live here on the earth. We must bring glory and honor to Him because He is our creator and sustainer. We must honor Him as holy before the people. We see a beautiful story of how God honors those who honor Him in the book of Esther chapter 6: 1-14.
Background: The passage talks about how the King Xerxes honored Mordecai, the King?s gate keeper. Mordecai was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. He brought up his cousin named Hadassah, who was also known as Esther and now she became the queen. The incident of honoring Mordecai happened five years after the elevation of Esther as the queen. In the background we see Haman?s plot to destroy the entire Jews in the Kingdom (Esther 3:8, 9). This happened because Mordecai was not willing to bow down before Haman. It may be because Haman was probably an Amalekite and Jews were in enmity with them for generations, which was also the command of God to the Israelites (Exodus 17: 14-16)). So it was not an act of disobedience to the King?s command on the part of Mordecai when he did not kneel down before Haman, but obedience to the King of Kings, the God of Israel who commanded them to blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven (Deuteronomy. 25:17-19). As a result, we see Haman?s conspiracy to hang Mordecai (Esther 5:14). In the light of all these events, things were not going well with Mordecai and the Jews. But there is a biblical principle: God works out everything for the good of His people? (Romans 8:28). If God opens a door for His people, no one can shut it. God intervenes at the right time because He is a well-timed helper. Here God works for the good of Mordecai. From this story let?s see how God honors His people?
1. God honors His people at the unexpected time (v.1): ?That night the king could not sleep.? God worked for Mordecai at ?that night.? I don?t know whether ?night? has some importance in the lives of God?s people, but I see something special about it from different examples in the Bible. I see God sometimes works at night for His people when everybody sleeps! For example, we read in Genesis 41:1-5 that God worked in the night when He wanted to save Joseph from the prison. We see in Daniel 2 that God worked in the night when he wanted to lift up Daniel in Babylon. We read in Acts 12 how God worked in the night when He wanted to save Peter from imprisonment. Look at Matthew 14 and see Jesus worked in the fourth watch of the night to save his disciples from the storm. Believe me friends, there is going to be a night in your life too that the Lord will work for your needs. Psalm121:4 says, ?Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.? In our passage, God worked for His servant Mordecai who stood for him and honored him in that heathen land. God will always work for our good if we truly love him and honor him. And He works in a surprising way!
2. God honors His people by working in the hearts of others (vv.2-6): God worked in the heart of the King to do favor for Mordecai. The King found out from the record that Mordecai saved his life by exposing a conspiracy by two of his officials to assassinate the King. This event had actually happened 5 years earlier. In v. 3-6, the King asked, ?What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?? ?Nothing has been done for him? his attendants answered. In vv. 4-6, the King asked Haman, ?What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?? We see a God who moved the heart of the King Cyrus to build the temple of the Lord (Ezra 1:1ff.) and also the King Artaxerxes to build the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:8). Friends, God works in the hearts of authorities for His people. Especially, if we do something good, it will always be remembered. We may not get a reward immediately, or people may not take notice of it at once, or we may not be even appreciated on the spot. We should not do anything just to please someone, thinking that they will appreciate us. We must do everything as if we do it unto the Lord. There is a God who sees everything in secret. He will never forget to honor the one who honors Him even if we think it is too late! He always works at the right time and even in ways that we sometimes can?t understand!
3. God honors His people in front of their enemies (vv. 7-11): We see in vv. 7-11, the King?s command to Haman to honor Mordecai. As per the King?s command, Haman clothed Mordecai with the royal rob and placed a royal crown on his head. Then he put Mordecai on the King?s horse and led him through City Street, proclaiming before him, ?This is what is done for the man the King delights to honor.? Dear people of God, when God wants to honor you, He will do the best for you. Psalms 23:5 says, ?You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.? That is what exactly happened here. Our honor comes from God. If at all people honor you, know that it is not they, but God who works in their hearts, has honored you in front of your enemies. Our help and blessings come from above (Psalm 121: 1).
4. God honors those who humble themselves before Him (v. 12): There is something very interesting in this verse: ?Afterward Mordecai returned to the King?s gate.? If I were Mordecai, I would not go immediately to the security cabin again. I would hover around the palace and demand my rights and privileges and expect others to honor me. Look at Mordecai. He did not show himself off in any such way. He was a humble man (cf.4:1-2). He returned to his place immediately and began to do his work as closely as he had done before. Look at what Haman did. He rushed back home, his head covered in grief. God always lifts up the humble. He hates the haughty and proud individual. Biblical principle is this: "Whoever humbles himself will be exalted; whoever exalts himself will be humbled" (8:15).. Honor is given to those who are not made proud and idle by it, and will not think themselves above their duty
5. God honors His people by destroying their enemies (v. 13): In v. 13, Haman's advisers and wife told him this: ?Since Mordecai is of Jewish origin, you can't stand against him.? They look like miserable comforters. Instead of advising him to repent and ask forgiveness to Mordecai, they were predicting his ruin. It looks like they knew very well about the Jewish people and the God of Israel. Otherwise, his wife would not say, "you will surely come to ruin." Friends, be assured of the fact that we are God?s children and of His origin. No one can stand against His people. The biblical principle is this: "If God is for us, no one can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). Let others know that we belong to Christ and we are His people. Let Satan tremble and the fear of the Lord fall upon the people who come against us. The Lord is going to honor you and lift you up for His glory.
Conclusion: God is looking for many Mordecais in today?s churches, government, business, and work places. He wants you to be a Mordecai in the place where you are now. May the good Lord help us to live a life that will bring glory and honor to His name!
By Mathew Philip