January 11, 2017

Good Citizen Mordecai

Esther 2:17-3:6

Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate . . . .

—  Esther 2:19

In the days of Ruth and Esther people went to the city gate for advice, for legal decisions, for wisdom. All the worthwhile news and gossip were available there also. Mordecai spent time sitting at the king’s gate, and while he was there, he overheard plans to assassinate the king. Because he let the right people know about this plot, Mordecai saved the king’s life. Good citizen Mordecai.

At this gate Mordecai also refused to kneel to Haman, the newly elevated, second most powerful official in Persia. Haman, we learn, was a descendant of Agag, an Amalekite king, and God had declared the Amalekites his enemy long ago because they had attacked his people when they were weak and vulnerable in the desert (Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:19). We also know that Mordecai was from the same clan as Saul, Israel’s first king. Mordecai refused to honor God’s ancient enemy.

The apostle Peter teaches us to honor human authorities for the Lord’s sake (1 Peter 2:13-17). Servants of the Lord who live by these instructions are good citizens. But Peter also warns against God’s ancient enemy, the devil, who seeks to destroy us. Servants of God who resist the devil, along with others around the world who undergo suffering for Christ, are good citizens of the kingdom of God. And God promises that he will strengthen us and give us courage to face what lies ahead (1 Peter 5:8-10).

Strengthen me, Lord, to be a good citizen of heaven as I seek to live wisely here on earth. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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