Christianity is under attack! The New York Times this week said that they were tired of hearing “God bless America.” According to BOTT radio on Wednesday February 10, 2016, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas has banned the name of “Jesus” in any communications. How have we gotten to this point in our country where Christianity is under attack?
Although Christianity has been attacked over the years, it has gotten much worse in today’s society. Not since the early church in the first century have we seen a time when the whole world wanted those who are Christians to either disappear or shut-up. But, why is there such intolerance in the world today for Christianity? Well, everyone knows that the opposite of love is hate; so with Satan’s promotion of hate within the hearts of many there are more and more people who think that those who don’t agree with their beliefs are to be hated. Furthermore, we live in a society in which everyone wants things to be their way, so they certainly don’t want to hear that they may be immoral, unethical, socialistic, or a myriad of any other things that are the opposite of Christianity. As a result, Christians are facing hate and intolerance today from many different directions, as not only our beliefs, but our actual persons, in some cases, are attacked.
One of the main reasons, though, that we are being attacked for our belief in God and Jesus Christ is because many Christians have failed to live by God’s standards, and we have failed to spread the Gospel message even within our own families. In addition, we have also failed to use our God-given positive influence to show others what God expects of people, by not setting godly examples and by not speaking up for God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Instead, we all have succumbed in some way or another to the easier path of “live and let live”. Just as importantly, though, we have failed to “stand in the gap” when there have been controversial issues or when political figures and government rulings have slowly eroded our right to worship God and Christ in not only our homes but also in our businesses. It has come to point where living our lives without being badgered or threatened with law-suits that specifically attack our beliefs is no longer possible. Sadly, though, many Christians do nothing to influence others about the Truth or to “stand in the gap” for those that are suffering from political correctness. Indeed, most Christians think, “I’m just one person, and what can one person do to stop the political and personal attacks against Jesus Christ and our faith?”
So, we do nothing, and we let these attacks continue. Unfortunately, these attacks against our faith have gone on for so long without the majority or without even a few Christians stepping forward to defend God, Christ, or even our personal freedoms, that now, we are now at a dramatic cross-road. If, we do nothing to stop this onslaught of negativity and hate, we will all lose our right to worship God and Christ and lose our personal freedoms. Moreover, even though to some it may appear that these hateful attacks against Christianity are just happening sporadically and gradually, that is just another one of Satan’s delusions that he perpetrates. For, in truth, these attacks are racing forward like an out of control train. But, what can we do to stop these attacks?
We can “stand in the gap” by praying, by not keeping silent when we see others’ rights or our rights being attacked, and by taking a political stand if necessary. In addition, though, we need to become an active positive influence on those we encounter and a positive influence on our friends and family. Only by becoming actively involved in living for Christ and by standing up when needed, as well as by clarifying our beliefs when we are falsely attacked, can Christians ever hope to stem the tide of this tsunami that is threatening to overcome the world. If we have an opportunity to speak up against these new laws that denigrate the beliefs of Christians, we also have step forward to “stand in the gap” against the enemies of Christ.
Christ has told us to go into nations and spread the Gospel: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – (Matthew 28: 19, 20. NLT). Certainly, many people have gone into the world and spread the Gospel. That is why there are now Christians throughout the nations of the world. However, with the hate that is permeating the Middles East with ISIS and with the spread of their Islamic fanatical beliefs of hate throughout the nations of the world, Christians are now facing destruction and the loss of life within other nations. But that isn’t the only thing that Christians are facing. For nations that have long been recognized as Christian nations are now facing liberal and pagan beliefs that denigrate and try to destroy Christianity. Why is this occurring? Well, it is occurring because Christians have failed to continue to spread the Gospel throughout our own nation as well as throughout the nations of the world. Oh, we still have missionaries abroad, but there are not as many as their used to be. We also have fewer missionaries to share the Gospel within our own nation. Worse still, Christians have failed to share the Gospel, failed to share God’s commandments and Truth, and have failed to study His Word with their children and the future generations; thus setting the stage for future generations to become self-centered liberals who hate Christians.
We can stop the flow of this volcanic eruption of hate, miss-trust, and liberal ideas by again becoming a positive influence on our children and on those young people who feel lost and are looking for something that will fill the gap in their souls. We can do this by becoming Active Relational Christian Mentors and by “standing in the gap” for those who need someone to comfort, support, and empower them. As women mentors we can positively influence those who need our help and who need to know more about God and living for Christ. Unfortunately, many of you probably think that you don’t have the time to mentor, or the devil tells you that someone else will do it so you don’t have to get involved. But that is exactly what has gotten us into this place and to this point in time. We have failed to mentor our children and future generations about God and our Savior. We have failed to “stand in the gap” for those who need extra prayer and help. We have failed to take a stand when the government or other anti-Christian organizations have threatened our freedoms and beliefs. But, we cannot just give up because we have failed in the past. We have got to take some initiative and begin to serve the Lord and the Kingdom of God by stemming the flow of this volcanic flow of disinformation and hate against God and Jesus Christ and His Christian followers.
One person can make a difference in the outcome of a situation. In fact, throughout the Bible, we are given many examples of the difference that one person made in the life of one or in the lives of many. Some of those individuals even made a difference in the life of an entire nation. Each of these individuals, whether male or female were used by God to influence the outcome of a situation or to “stand in the gap” against evil. Indeed, some of those examples in the Bible are of individual women who have made a difference by influencing others. Other examples are of women who have “stood in the gap” for an individual or a nation.
Last week I talked about two women who made a dramatic difference on not only history but the lives of each other. Those two women were Naomi and Ruth. Had they not helped each other they would not have survived. But more importantly, had Naomi and her family not introduced Ruth to God, Ruth would not be in the ancestral lineage of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. As just one woman, Naomi made a difference in the life of one woman, but that difference changed the world.
Today, I would like to introduce you to another woman who made all the difference in the world as well. Her name is Esther. Esther, not only influenced her husband, but she “stood in the gap” for her people and kept them from all being annihilated. She is a fascinating woman, but she was also just an ordinary woman who was willing to step forward to do that which was right and to make a difference in the world not only back then, but for today as well. Her story is a little longer than usual, but I hope you will take the time to read about Esther for she truly made a difference that is still seen today.
Esther Becomes Queen
Esther lived during the glorious times of the Persian Empire which dominated the Middle East. It was such a large Empire that the King’s wealth was almost beyond measure. Esther’s story, though, begins in 483 B.C. At that time, she was just an ordinary but beautiful young Jewish woman living with her cousin, Mordecai. Mordecai had adopted Esther when her parents died. Although their families were originally from Judah, it had now been over a hundred years since the Jewish people had been captured by King Nebuchadnezzar and taken into his Babylonian Empire as a denigrated minority who had little rights. Later, though, the Persians conquered the Babylonian Empire. They then acquired the Jews and other minorities that were living in the land. But, instead of persecuting the minorities that Nebuchadnezzar had captured, the Persians treated the minorities fairly, even allowing many of the Jewish people to establish their own businesses in the towns where they lived. In fact, the Jewish exiles had great freedom in Persia.
The Persian Empire consisted of 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia and all were under the rule of the King and his governors. Remarkably, when King Cyrus ruled the Empire, he felt a special connection to God and God’s people, so he eventually gave the Jewish people their freedom to return home to Jerusalem if they wished to do so. However, Esther’s parents and Mordecai, like many other Jewish people living in Persia, chose to stay in Persia even after King Cyrus gave the Jews permission to return home.
Esther’s story actually starts in the city of Susa, which also held the winter palace of King Xerxes. It was there after returning from Greece and a battle defeat at Salamis, that King Xerxes held a banquet, which lasted for nearly six months for the sole purpose of getting his governors and generals to agree to back the next military action to conquer even more land. This grand banquet was also a way to plan battle strategies and at the same time show the governors, generals, officials and guests that the King had the wealth and military force needed to go against another country like Greece. Getting this backing was important, because attacks against and the invasions of other countries were a way to conquer more land and gain even more wealth for Persia. In other words, this banquet was used as the epitome of networking for the purpose of convincing people to agree to and follow Xerxes’ plans while still celebrating and enjoying themselves in the winter palace.
King Xerxes put on a magnificent banquet that was not only something for the eyes to see but also for the stomachs as well. The palace was also beautifully decorated with displays of gold and silver as well as exotic animals and flowers. In addition to glorious vistas for the eyes, every kind of food imaginable was served along with the best alcohol that was available for the palates and stomachs. The entire celebration was topped off with the best entertainment available at that time. But as the partying continued, King Xerxes and his guests eventually got very drunk. Unfortunately, as we all know, alcohol can cause a person to do things that that he/she would not do if he/she were sober and thinking properly. King Xerxes was no exception. Then when you add to Xerxes’ diminished judgment from the alcohol the fact that he was prideful and proud with a desire to flaunt and show off his possessions and wealth, you get the makings of a disaster. In this case the disaster would result from his wanting to show off his most beautiful possession, which was Queen Vashti who was not at this magnificent banquet.
At the same time that King Xerxes was giving a banquet, Queen Vashti was giving a banquet for the wives of the Governors, officials and diplomats. But suddenly, on the seventh day of the banqueting after King Xerxes and his guests had become intoxicated and Xerxes’ judgment was at its lowest, the king called for Queen Vashti to come to his banquet and to parade before all the King’s guests. He wanted to show all the other men her beauty. But the Queen refused to come. The King was upset and humiliated that Vashti had refused to come. So, after consulting with his advisers and asking them what should be done to Queen Vashti, the advisers told him to forever banish Queen Vashti from his sight and to then choose a new Queen. So, in his intoxicated and humiliated state this was exactly what King Xerxes did. He banished Queen Vashti from his sight forever, and now he would need to choose a new queen.
Now Mordecai, who was an official at the palace there in Susa, heard about the search for a new Queen. So, he arranged to have his cousin Esther, who was also known as Hadassah, taken to the palace along with the many other women who would be presented to the king as a potential queen. Through God’s providence Esther was indeed chosen as one of the women that would be presented to the King. Then, Esther was placed in the King’s haram that was run by a eunuch named Hegi. Hegi was very impressed with Esther and her beauty as well as her overall demeanor. He felt that she had a real chance of catching the King’s eye. So, Hegi gave her the best room in the haram and assigned her seven maids. But to insure that she would look her very best, Hegi also ordered a special menu for Esther and specially developed beauty treatments. With all this special attention and her natural beauty Mordecai felt that Esther had a good chance of being chosen as the next Queen, but he had told Esther to not let anyone know that she was Jewish.
Then it was Esther’s turn to go in to King Xerxes. “When Ester was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in the winter of the seventh year of his reign, the king loved her more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her the queen instead of Vashti.” -- (Esther 2: 16, 17. NLT).
The King then held a banquet to show off his new queen. But even through all the pomp and circumstance Esther still did not let anyone know that she was Jewish or that she was related to Mordecai. For, everyone knew that Mordecai was a Jew. Moreover, it seems that during the previous twelve months during Esther’s beauty treatments and education in proper decorum before the King, Mordecai’s life position had changed as well. He had become a palace official. So over the past year, Mordecai had become well known by the other servants and officials in the palace as a good man, but Jewish nonetheless. Esther knew that if the servants at the banquet or if any of the other women who were celebrating Esther’s new position as Queen became aware that she was related to Mordecai, they would find out that she, too, was a Jew. So, Esther kept quiet about her ethnicity during and after the banquet.
A few weeks or months later, while Mordecai was on duty, he overheard two of the King’s eunuchs plotting to assassinate the King. So, Mordecai went to Queen Esther and told her about the plot. She then went and told the king. “When an investigation was made and Mordecai’s story was found to be true, the two men were hanged on a gallows. This was all duly recorded in The Book of History of King Xerxes’ Reign.” – (Esther 2: 23. NLT). But, Mordecai was never recognized for his role in saving the king.
Haman Plans to Kill All the Jews
Now there was a man named Haman, an Agagite, who sometime later was appointed prime minister by the King. This made him second in power to the King Xerxes himself. Long ago, though, the Agagites were actually ancient enemies of the Jewish people, and they were genetically part of the Amalekite nation that God wanted destroyed. In fact, the Amalekites were a mean and cruel people, always thinking only of themselves and their gain. Then at one point in time they had tried to wipe out Jewish people. So, God had told the Jewish people to “destroy the Amalekites and erase their memory from under heaven” – (Deuteronomy 25: 17-19 and Exodus 17-16. NLT). Unfortunately, they were not all wiped out and generations later Haman was one of their descendants. But, Haman was not just an Amalekite, as he was actually a descendent of King Agag, who had been king of the Amalekites.
As an Agagite, Haman felt that he was better than everyone else, because he was in a royal line of people. Naturally because the Amalekites had nearly all been destroyed by the Jews, Haman hated the Jewish people. At first, though, Haman just bided his time and did not let on how much he hated the Jewish people, because he felt that he was finally getting the recognition that he so deserved by being appointed prime minister. He felt that he was finally with royalty in the palace where he belonged.
Haman was now the prime minister, which gave him great power, and so as a matter of course and in recognition of his high position in the government, all of the palace officials would bow down to Haman as he passed by them. This gave Haman the feeling of being powerful and respected. However, God had told the Jewish people that they were not to bow down to anyone other than God. So, in honoring God, Mordecai was the one person in the palace who would not bow down to Haman even if he was the prime minister.
Mordecai’s failure to give Haman the honor that he felt he deserved, created great anger in Haman. But, when Haman found out that Mordecai was a Jew, his anger grew even more. He wanted to destroy Mordecai, but Haman decided that it would not be enough to just destroy this one Jew. Now, he finally had the power to destroy his people’s enemies. So, Haman decided to destroy all the Jews in the Empire, and “… during the twelfth year of King Xerxes’ reign, lots were cast (the lots were called “purim”) to determine the best day and month to take action. And the day selected was March 7, nearly a year later.” -- (Esther 3: 7. NLT). Having set a date helped to temporarily appease Haman's anger toward the Jewish people.
Then to follow through with his plan, Haman went before the King and told him that there were a certain group of people within his kingdom that refused to obey the laws of the King. He told King Xerxes that these people did not deserve to live. Certainly, the King could not put up with people not obeying his laws. So, Haman then asked the king to issue a decree to destroy these people. But to sweeten the deal, he told the King that he would give the King “375 tons of silver to the government administrators so they can put it in the royal treasury.” – (Esther 3: 9. NLT). Where was Haman going to get this silver or money? Well, he was going to confiscate the money from all of the Jews that he killed. Not only would this give Haman revenge, but it would give him the honor and a portion of the wealth that he so thought he deserved.
Unfortunately, the King was persuaded, because he was told that these people had refused to obey his laws. So, Xerxes agreed with Haman, but he told Haman to keep the money, “… but go ahead and do as you like with these people.” – (Esther 3: 11. NLT). Then the King gave Haman his signet ring, which gave Haman the authority to do whatever he wished. Little did the King realize, but his own ring would sign the death warrant for his queen, because Haman, in his lie to the King, had not told the King that it was the Jewish people who were refusing to obey the laws. But then, neither did the King know that Queen Esther was Jewish when he was persuaded to kill all these people.
Haman then sent out letters to all the governors of the provinces to kill all the Jews, sealing his message with the King’s signet ring and authority. The letters with the official decree told the government officials that “… young and old, including women and children – must be killed, slaughtered, and annihilated on a single day… nearly a year later on March 7. The property of the Jews would be given to those who killed them.” – (Esther 3: 13. NLT). Obviously, as the decrees went out and the subsequent announcements were made and posted, cities throughout the provinces, including the city of Susa, were thrown into confusion at what the King had allowed Haman to do.
Esther Is asked to Influence the King and to “Stand in the Gap” for the Jewish People
When Mordecai heard the news he became deeply distraught. But, when Esther found out that Mordecai was in sackcloth and mourning, she sent one of the King’s eunuch’s to find out what was wrong. So, Mordecai told Hathach, the eunuch, what Haman was planning and even gave him a copy of the decree. Then Mordecai begged Hathach to tell Esther everything Mordecai had told him and to urge the queen to go to the King and to beg for mercy for her people.
Then Esther sent Hathach back to Mordecai with a message: “The whole world knows that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called me to come to him in more than a month.” Then Mordecai responded to her message with one of his own. In the message he told her: “Don’t think for a moment that you will escape there in the palace when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. What’s more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this.” -- (Esther 4: 11, 13, 14. NLT).
How many times have we not done something that the Holy Spirit has prompted us to do or not done something that we know that we should do, only to find out later that our lives have changed dramatically or that someone else has received the blessing that came from listening to the Holy Spirit and following through. Many times we find ourselves at a cross-road, and we don’t know which way to turn, because we have selfishly thought only of our self and what is best for “me.” Esther was at a cross-road. She had providentially been placed there by God to be in a position to save the Jewish people. But, would she “stand in the gap” for the entire nation of Israel and somehow influence the King to do something to save the Jewish people? Or, would she choose to think that someone else could take on that responsibility and then think only of saving herself? Like Esther, we often sit back and hope that someone else will do something so that we can go on with our normal routine or lives. But as Mordecai reminded her, deliverance would come from somewhere else if she refused to act, and then God would punish her for refusing to do what He had providentially placed her there to do.
We all like to think that God is a loving God who won’t hurt a fly. Yes, God is a loving God. But, He is also a just, righteous, and caring Father, who like any good father, will not put up with our refusal to do what He has asked us to do. That doesn’t mean that he will kill us like Mordecai said could happen to Esther, even though God has the authority to do so if he feels it is appropriate, and even though He has the authority to decide what our punishment for disobedience will be. For, God, as our Creator, can do what in His justice is righteous and needed, including discipline and punishment for those who fail to do what He has specifically asked them to do. More often, though, God’s punishment or discipline comes with the lack of blessings, which could have been ours if we had only heeded the Holy Spirit’s promptings. In fact, God has many blessings that He wants to bestow on each of His children. But, we have to be obedient children to receive them. For, “A faithful man will abound with blessings.” – (Proverbs 28: 20. NASB). Furthermore, God wants us to fight the spiritual battles that Satan throws at us and not just sit back and hope for the best. That is why, the Scriptures tell us: “But those who rebuke the wicked will be delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.” – (Proverbs 24: 25. NASB). The blessings will come from a loving God who cares but demands obedience.
In fighting Satan and his minions God has not left us stranded, but has given us help. In fact, He has told us that there is “Armor” that He has given us to wear in our fight against spiritual enemies, which include, Satan and his minions and our own emotional trials and doubts that are egged on by fear and lack of faith. That is why Christians are told to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, For, our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm.” -- (Ephesians 6: 11-13. NASB).
Although God had not yet sent His Son to offer Salvation and Eternal life at Esther’s period of time in history, Esther was not alone either. In fact, she had the ear of God, if she was willing to “stand in the gap” against this evil force trying to destroy her people. God would help her, if she would not fear, and if she would have faith that He would be there for her every step of the way. All she needed to do was to trust in God’s provision, and then fast and pray, and that is just what Esther did. For, Esther sent a message to Mordecai telling him to: “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night and day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I am willing to die.” – (Esther 4: 16. NLT). As you can see, Esther trusted in God to save her and her people.
Esther Risk her Life to See the King
Three days later Esther went to the palace to see the King. She entered the inner court and the King saw her. Then he held out his gold scepter to Esther. She carefully approached and touched the tip of the scepter. (Had the king not held out the scepter for her to approach, she would have been killed by his attendants). Unquestionably, the King must have been in a good mood, because after he had beckoned her to enter, Xerxes said, “… What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!” – (Esther 5: 3. NLT). Certainly, Xerxes must have been surprised, to see Esther, but He was even more surprised when Esther just asked if the King and Haman would come to a banquet that day that she had prepared for the King. The King was not only in a good mood, but he was curious as to what the Queen wanted so badly that she had come to see him without being invited. So, the King said “yes, and then sent a message to Haman to come quickly, so that they could go to Queen Esther’s banquet. Obviously, the King knew there was something on Esther’s mind, but he patiently waited until the banquet to find out what she wanted.
The King and Haman went to Esther’s banquet. While they were eating and drinking the King stopped and asked Esther to tell him what she really wanted. He wanted to know her request, and he again offered her half his kingdom. But, Esther did not want half the kingdom, however, neither was she ready to make her request to the King at that time. Instead, she said, “… This is my request and deepest wish. If Your Majesty is pleased with me and wants to grant my request, please come with Haman tomorrow to the banquet that I will prepare for you. Then tomorrow I will explain what this is all about.” – (Esther 5: 7, 8. NLT). This banquet then was just leading to another banquet for both the King and Haman.
You can probably imagine how thrilled Haman was to be included in the Queen’s banquet. He felt like he was finally receiving the accolades and honor he deserved. But on his way out of the palace, he passed by Mordecai who again refused to bow to him. Although just moments before he had been on cloud nine at having again been invited to eat with just the King and Queen, now Haman was furious! When he got home he told his wife and his friends about Mordecai’s disrespect, and they encouraged Haman to kill Mordecai and to do so by hanging him publicly. But, to make the event even more spectacular than an ordinary hanging, they suggested that Haman build a gallows seventy-five feet tall and then to go to the King the very next morning to ask him to have Mordecai publicly executed for his failure to honor the second in command.
During that same night, though, the King had trouble sleeping, so he asked an attendant to bring him the historical records of his reign to read. While reading them, the King ran across the record of Mordecai thwarting the assassination plot against him. But, the records did not say anything about Mordecai having received a reward or some kind of recognition for his actions in saving the king. The king wanted to rectify that oversight by doing something for Mordecai.
When the morning came, the King heard someone outside his chambers. When he asked who was out there, his attendant told him that it was Haman. At that, the king told the attendant to bring Haman in. Maybe Haman could help him determine what kind of recognition that Mordecai should have. “So, Haman came in, and the King said, ‘What should I do to honor a man who truly pleases me?’” – (Esther 6: 6. NLT). Immediately, Haman assumed that the King was talking about him. So he said to the King, “If the king wishes to honor someone he should bring out the king’s own royal robes, as well as the king’s own horse with a royal emblem on its head. Instruct one of the king’s most noble princes to dress the man in the kings’ robe and to lead him through the city square on the king’s own horse. Have the prince shout as they go: ‘This is what happens to the those the king wishes to honor!” – (Esther 6: 7-9. NLT).
The king liked Haman’s suggestion, but to Haman’s surprise it was Mordecai and not Haman that the King had been talking about. Now, the King not only wanted to act upon Haman’s suggestion, but he also told Haman that he would be the official that would dress Mordecai and place him on a horse. But, the worst part was that Haman would be the official who would have to walk beside the horse shouting “This is what happens to those the king wishes to honor.” God really does have a sense of humor!
Humiliated and dejected, Haman did as the King wished and then went home to tell his family of his ordeal. But, he didn’t have much time to dwell on the matter, because just a little later, the King’s eunuch arrived to bring Haman to Queen Esther’s banquet. Haman must have felt at least a little better, as he was actually going to be eating with the King and Queen again, but his comfort, happiness and pridefulness would not last long.
Esther “Stands in the Gap” for Her People
The King and Haman arrived at the second banquet given by the Queen. Certainly, the King was intrigued about the two banquets that his queen had arranged for him and Haman. What could she possible need? So, King Xerxes again asked Queen Esther to tell him her request, and then he again offered her up to half his kingdom if she wanted it. But, Esther said, “If Your Majesty is pleased with me and wants to grant my request, my petition is that my life and the lives of my people will be spared. For my people and I have been sold to those who would kill, slaughter, and annihilate us. If we had only been sold as slaves, I could remain quiet, for that would been a matter too trivial to warrant disturbing the King.” – (Esther 7: 3, 4. NLT). Naturally, the King was horrified! “‘Who would do such a thing? King Xerxes demanded. ‘Who would dare touch you?” -- (Esther 7: 5. NLT). Then, Esther looked over at Haman and told the King that the person who was going to kill her and her people was wicked Haman who was eating with them at that moment at the banquet.
You can imagine how furious the King was, but instead of immediately hitting Haman or calling for his attendants to kill Haman, Xerxes went out onto the patio to think. But, Haman stayed where he was to plead for his life from Queen Esther. Unfortunately, in his pleading despair, he fell onto the queen’s couch where she was reclining. At exactly that moment the King came back in the room. It appeared to the King that Haman was assaulting Esther. Immediately, the King shouted, “Will he even assault the queen right here in the palace before my very eyes?” -- (Esther 7: 8. NLT). The attendants standing around in service immediately ran over and threw a cloth over Haman’s head, which signaled his doom. Then one of the attendants told the king that Haman had erected a seventy-five foot gallows in his own courtyard. So, the King ordered Haman to be hung from his own gallows.
On that same day, Xerxes gave Esther Haman’s estate. Esther then told the King how she was related to Mordecai. Mordecai was then brought before the King, and the King gave Mordecai his signet ring that had been taken back from Haman, now making Mordecai the second in command. Esther also gave Mordecai charge over the estate of Haman’s that she had received from the King.
Mordecai and Esther Save the Jewish People
There was still one problem, though. The problem had to do with the Laws of the Medes and Persians. When a King made a law, the law was written in the books forever, and that law could not be changed. So, how were they going to stop the slaughter of all the Jews after Haman had already sent out the order to do so on March Seventh? Could they find a way to change the law?
Within a few days, Esther again came before the King about Haman’s plan to destroy all the Jews. She asked the King to send out another decree stopping the slaughter of all the Jews. Unfortunately, the King could not reverse the previous decree. But, he told Esther and Mordecai that they could write a decree to save the Jews. They just needed to remember that whatever was sealed with the King’s signet ring could not be reversed according to the Laws of the Medes and Persians.
Mordecai then sent out a decree to the princes, governors and local officials in all the provinces of the Empire. This new decree was written in all the languages of the Empire as well, so that no one would misunderstand it’s meaning, and it was sealed with the King’s signet ring, which he had given to Mordecai. Unequivocally, the King’s new decree gave the Jews in every city and province the right to unite together to defend their lives. Furthermore, they were told that they had permission to kill, slaughter, and annihilate anyone of any nationality who might try to attack them or their families. Moreover, they then had the right to take the property of the person or enemy who had tried to attack them. This event was to take place on March 7th of the following year, occurring on the same day that the previous decree to kill all Jews was to take place. This meant that anyone coming against the Jews to kill them would be killed instead, and their property would be confiscated by the Jews. In essence, this new decree nullified and countermanded the previous decree. The Jews were saved.
Many of the Jew’s enemies were killed on March 7th throughout the Persian Empire. Because they were saved by Mordecai’s decree on what was supposed to have been their total annihilation day, the Jewish people to this day celebrate The Festival of Purim. It is a day to commemorate the day when the Jewish people were saved from a wicked scheme to kill every Jew. Haman had used “Purim” or the casting of lots to determine the exact or best day to kill all the Jews. But, instead of it being the day of their destruction, that chosen day became the day the Jewish people received relief from their enemies, and it was a day for gladness and joy. Forevermore they would call this commemoration day “The Festival of Purim”.
One Person Can Make a Difference
One person can make a difference in the lives of one or many. But we have to actually step forward to “stand in the gap” or to influence and empower another person. Esther was put in her position by God. She was chosen for her character and her ability to get the job done. You, too, are put in positions or places by God so that you can speak to someone, so that you can make a difference, or so that you can “stand in the gap” when no other person would be able to accomplish what you can do. You just have to be willing to listen to the Holy Spirit, and to be obedient to God and His Word.
All Christians need to “stand in the gap” through prayer for our country. We also need to “stand in the gap” for those who are being persecuted throughout the Middle East and beyond just for being a Christian. But we also have to use the influence that we have to speak up and stand up for Truth and God’s Word. Don’t let political correctness scare you so much that you will not stand up for Christ or for the Truth. In fact, each of us needs to stand up legally against laws or against the implications of what could happen because of a politically correct law. There is no law yet that schools have to ban Christianity in schools and Universities. But, when we hear stories of a principal or dean pushing Christianity out of school, we need to stop what we are doing and get involved in telling the Truth before the Truth is obliterated and new self-serving laws are put in place to discriminate against Christians.
We need to make sure that we stand up and vote this year! But, before we vote, we need to do our research and not just accept what the media or someone else says about a candidate. We need to gauge a candidate’s words with their previous actions and also try to determine what they really plan to do in the future. So, many of the those who are running for president have their own power hungry agenda that has nothing to do with honoring God or helping our country, even though they would like for you to think that they just want to help the American people. As strong women, and like Esther, we need to do that which God has called us to do. He has called us to vote. Your one vote has influence. Your prayers are part of “standing in the gap” for our country and for others.
You can do it! You can Actively and Relationally Mentor another for Christ. You can influence and empower another woman, and you can “stand in the gap” for spiritual battles against the enemy. Right now the enemy is trying to destroy our Christian nation and destroy our right to worship the way that God wants us to be able to do. Please speak up and have conversations about God and Jesus Christ with your friends and neighbors. Tell your children about God and influence their lives for Him. Then “Stand in the Gap”!