January 18, 2017

Persian Wisdom

Esther 6:12-14

Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!

—  Esther 6:13

Zeresh, like Vashti and Esther, is no push-over. She tells her husband Haman the truth: You pulled on the ears of the wrong dog! Haman’s advisers agreed. We don’t know how Zeresh and the others knew what Haman was up against, but we do know that God was working behind the scenes to protect his people.

There is much irony in these words from Zeresh. It’s as if they are spoken to God’s ancient ene­my, Satan. But God’s ancient enemy, though he knows his end will come, will not stop wreaking havoc where he can. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

God chose the weak and foolish things of the world to shame the wise and strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). Mordecai and Esther were only two distant relatives of old Jewish royalty trying to stand against the Persian elite. It was laughable.

But look further: the world today continues to mock a Jewish descendant of another royal family, Jesus Christ, the Son of David. And it wants to silence his followers’ testimony.

Yet only a fool would refuse to take this Persian wisdom to heart: “You cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin.”

God of heaven, comfort today your persecuted followers wherever they confront the folly of this world. And may those who do not experience persecution continue to lift them up and seek justice for all. 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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