The book of Esther ends with this short chapter:

Now King Ahasuerus laid a tribute on the land and on the coastlands of the sea. And all the accomplishments of his authority and strength, and the full account of the greatness of Mordecai to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation. (Esther 10, NASB)

Mordecai, a Jewish man whose niece/adopted daughter, Esther, became the queen of Persia, could have wielded the enormous potential power he had for his own luxury and greatness.  The temptation had to be stupendous from the moment his child was announced to become the next queen.

If your daughter or son became the next president, would you be a little bit excited?  😉

But presidency has very little power compared to the total-authority-royal-reign of the Persia and Media government of Mordecai’s day.  This wasn’t a kingdom that ruled merely one country.  This was a kingdom with power that extended to 127 provinces in the middle-east and even into Africa [see Esther 1:1].

Esther didn’t have supreme power as queen, but, because she pleased the king, she had incredible clout.  As Herodias and Jezebel had tremendous ability to manipulate their husbands like puppets on a string, so Esther could have persuaded her husband toward all sorts of political advantage for Mordecai.  And since Esther had a history of listening to and obeying Mordecai (see Esther 2:20), Mordecai could have easily misused his adopted daughter to be his puppet for anything he wanted within the kingdom.

Furthermore, Mordecai didn’t have to keep his identity as a Jew after his daughter became part of the greatest world power of his day.  He didn’t have to remain faithful to his God, or his people.  He could have cut himself off from his heritage, forgotten his struggling people who were foreigners scattered in unfamiliar lands, and devoted himself to what we in America would call the good life.

The author of Esther goes into great detail at the beginning of the account, elaborating on King Ahasuerus (or Xerxes) wealth and prestige.  If it was luxury you wanted, he had it going on.  If it was public admiration, he had that, too. I would suppose there seemed to be no end to the majesty of his kingdom, or the popularity of his rule (and the fawners seeking favors).

In modern day, King Ahasuerus would be driving a Lamborghini, living in Hollywood, and show off his mansion with its own basketball court, mini-golf course, and three-story water park.  He’d be wearing Armani suits (or something even better!) and he’d have his own personal hairstylist, tailor, chauffeur, chef, maid, accountant, pilot and on and on and on.  He’d be so rich his tennis shoes would have diamond bling on the soles.

He would appear on the front cover of People magazine and win the most influential person of the year in the Times.  The paparazzi would stick to him like flies to flypaper.  E! Tonight would have him as their feature story and Sean Hannity, Anderson Cooper, Matt Lauer, and Diane Sawyer would ask him about his life.  Nooks and Kindles would be overburdened with the abundance of downloadable unlicensed biographies on the great Ahasuerus.

And Mordecai’s daughter was married to him.

What extraordinary temptation.

Mordecai could have abandoned his God and followed the star-studded, gold-bricked path that this opportunity had paved for his life.  He had a free pass to all the wealth, glamor, status, and popularity he could ever lust after.  He could even have rationalized God gave him this opportunity to enjoy the good life.  The concerns of his people and the covenant with his God didn’t have to be disregarded, they just had to take a backseat to his metamorphosis into becoming a great, an admired, a mighty, a lauded world-class rich man.

But what does the story tell us Mordecai really did?

What he really did was dress in sackcloth and ashes and refuse to eat.

Isn’t that the first thing you want to do when you find out you have the once-in-a-million-lifetimes chance of becoming a multimillionaire?

Me either.

But it came to Mordecai’s mind.  It came to Mordecai’s mind because he was following God.  He wasn’t going to use the opportunity he had to become a wealthy ‘worldling’ as an excuse to disregard his God, or his people.  Because he loved his God, he was devoted to his people.  And so, when an irrevocable order came down that all Jews were to be annihilated in the month of December, Mordecai didn’t rush to his computer to update his account and replace the Jewish names with Persian ones.  He didn’t decide to wait to act until he became great and mighty and it was a safe thing to do.  Nope.

He acted right then, right there, on behalf of his people.  He identified himself clearly, unmistakably, and very un-popularly as a Jew by his grief over the news.

Why did he do it?  Because it was more important to him to align himself with God than to align himself with all the greatest powers in the world.

Through the remarkable, extraordinary courage of Mordecai, he blazes a trail of allegiance to the I-AM that his daughter Esther follows in.  His example and his motivational wisdom to her bring out a bravery in her that she had absolutely no idea she had.  Through the brilliance of God’s plot for the story, Esther and Mordecai save their people and are extravagantly vindicated in the eyes of the world for their faith in GOD.

But this isn’t only an account to give honor to Mordecai and Esther.  This account is a challenge for believers, even today.  After I read the last verse in Esther, I was struck by his description:

. . one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation. (Esther 10:3c, NASB)

Christian, for you and I, the question is, what are we doing to seek the good of our people?  Are we speaking welfare for the nation of God?  Or are we waiting for someone else to do that job for us?  Do we care about the persecuted church, our suffering brothers and sisters worldwide, or are we too busy seeking the good life?

“Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Jesus, quoted in Luke 17:33, NASB)


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