January 24, 2017

No Plunder in Persia

Esther 9:1-17

But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

—  Esther 9:10, 15, 16

One of war’s tragic consequences in times past was that the victors plundered their enemies. This enriched some generals and the war industry; it also helped to pay soldiers, provide food and drink, and build weapons of war. Most of all, however, despoiling the enemy bled their economy dry and reduced their community to servitude.

But the Jews in Persia did not plunder the enemies who tried to destroy them. No one could stand against the Jews, in part because fear of Mordecai moved many government administrators to help them. The Jews’ main goal was relief from their enemies, not plunder.

Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the ­forces of evil in the spiritual realms. Christians take up the armor that God has decreed for them, as described in Ephesians 6:10-18. Christians are also urged to let God’s Word judge “the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” for that Word is “alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow” (Hebrews 4:12).

May God bring into his kingdom the people from all nations whom he favors through Jesus Christ. Then they too will celebrate “relief from their enemies.”

We praise you, O God, and we look forward to the time when every knee will bow before you and every tongue will confess that you are Lord. 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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