Mordecai- Even in exile he stood out
by dumi nkomo
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Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he brought up because she had neither father nor mother.
He was a man who was caring, as he had taken it upon himself to look into the affairs of an orphaned cousin. He was concerned about the welfare of his relative and decided to take her in as his daughter. It is amazing how in exile he decided to watch out for his family. Probably this young lady was the only relative he had and there was no way he was going to let her suffer.
How sad it is today that there are no caring people who will take into account the needs of an orphaned relative. More often than not, relatives will take you in only to use or abuse you. They will only seek to get something out of you but very few will be concerned to see the development of your welfare. We need a people who will cater for the orphans that are scattered around our societies. Who knows? Your child will one day be orphaned and you will need a Mordecai of a relative to take him or her in. Why not start today and safeguard the future of your children when you die?
Mordecai knew that a revelation of her nationally would affect Hadassah and so he decided to forbid her from doing so. Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her. He was very concerned seeing that she was in the running for the vacant post of Queen. He wanted to ensure that her chances were bright. In a way he daily prayed for her. Parents today must pray for their kids in the same manner.
Very few foster parents are concerned about the welfare of their adopted children, but we need a generation of people who will care about what happens to these children. Take on the attitude of Mordecai and start wondering what is happening to your child especially that they are out of your care and reach. Find out what has become of them and ensure that your instructions are still being followed.
With time Esther found favour in the sight of the king and the crown was placed on her head. We need to acknowledge the effort that Mordecai put in to ensure that this dream would come to pass. This meant that Queen Esther was now in a position to look into the welfare of her cousin as well. Mordecai did not want to gain anything from her being Queen but he would unwittingly enjoy throne benefits.
During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana and Teresh, two of the King’s officials who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. The matter was investigated and found to be true. Due punishment was meted on the two and the event was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.
This matter came to light because a concerned son chose to be in the right place at the right time and was correctly positioned to get this revelation. We need sons who are going to be correctly positioned to get the revelation of assassination plots on their president or king. Even if nothing is done in reward for them they should not lose heart because God is watching.
He was well able to hear the plans of the enemy and put in place measures to thwart them. He was concerned about the welfare of this king because in a way he was a son-in-law of his. He knew that the death of the king would have an effect on the Queen and ultimately this would impact his life as well. So he decided to stem the repercussions once and for all. We may say that he had bad luck because nothing was done for him. But he knew deep down that God would reward him in good time.
Even when it seems that your good efforts have not been rewarded do know that God will not forget. In Hebrews 6:10 we are told that, “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” God is watching to see that your good deeds are not forgotten. Your business is to continue to help His people in love. Don’t give up yet. Your day will come in due season.
After these events King Xerxes elevated a man called Haman, giving him a position higher than that of all the other nobles. And we all thought that Mordecai was due for a promotion. Now this man was proud and he wanted all men to kneel before him and pay him honour, but Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honour. He knew that there was only one God who needed to be honoured and not man.
When Haman heard that Mordecai was not paying him honour he was enraged. This kind of behaviour could not be tolerated. He was a man of honour and position and this Jew was not giving him due respect. However Mordecai remained adamant that he would not bow down before this man. Having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way of destroying all Mordecai’s people, the Jews.
Haman deviously covered up and made known his plot to the king to destroy, “a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples …whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them” Esther 3:8. And he got the signet ring approval for his plan to destroy the entire Jewish nation.
Spurred on by the king’s command the couriers went out to spread this murder edict to all the provinces. When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and deeply. He was deeply grieved because his people were at risk of extermination. It was partly his fault because he had refused to honour this man and now the heat was going to be felt by the entire Jewish remnant.
He was a man who understood the importance of the Jewish nation and as such was concerned when a threat was raised against them. It had been his fault that they were at risk and so he took the onus of mourning and raising attention to their fate. But he only went as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. He needed to draw attention and the best person to cry out to was to Esther.
It was now that she was needed, as this crisis would affect her as well. The plan worked as it was drawn to her attention that Mordecai was clothed in sackcloth. She sent clothes for him to put on in place of sackcloth but he would not accept them. There are times when you need to refuse to cover up your bitter distress and sackcloth because your situation demands it. Mordecai could not pretend that all was well and so when the Queen asked him to disguise his grief Mordecai refused. You too need to refuse to cover up your grief because of the urgency involved in the situation.
It was after this refusal that the queen summoned one of her attendants, Hathach, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why. When you refuse to cover up your sackcloth the Queen will be compelled to initiate an investigation that will reveal what is troubling you and why it is troubling you. There will be a special assignment and order given to an assigned aide and he will come and seek the reason for your grief.
Hathach quickly went on this errand and Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. The revelation was stunning. When the envoy is given a revelation as to the meaning of your sackcloth it will involve everything including exact figures of what the enemy has paid for your genocide.
With such information at hand, Hathach was asked to explain everything to the Queen and urge her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people. The envoy went back with a detailed message but Esther dilly-dallied. “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold sceptre to him and spare his life. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king” Esther 4:11.
She was not willing to risk her life seeing that the rules and laws of the kingdom were strict. Here was a woman who held the key to the survival of a nation refusing to play her part. Would this be the end of a dream? In life you too may call to certain influential people for help but they will dill-dally and leave you short of options. What do you do in the event of such an issue? Look to Mordecai and he will provide the answer.
“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14
You need at times to put Esther in her place and remind her that her life is also at risk. No amount of trying to stay out of it can save her skin. And besides if she refuses to do anything about it, help may arise from another source. Remind her that the reason she is Queen is for a time as this. Don’t let her stay out especially after all the teaching you have given to her about the importance of your people. She is not Queen by mistake.
She must help you as you try and save the Jews, her life included. There is no way someone else will do the dirty job for others while she stays quiet. Remind her that being Queen is no guarantee that she will survive. She has to wake to the fact that her family is at stake and you Mordecai will die if she does nothing about it. And after all what is there to gain if she survives because one day when they find out her head may as well be on the line.
After such a thorough rebuke Esther decided to act. But she needed Mordecai to fast three days and nights with and for. “When this done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” Esther 4:16. This rebuke worked like a magic portion. And if it worked for Mordecai rest assured it will work well for you.
There is nothing that beats the word of the spoken mouth. Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and reminds him that the Word is, “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” If the Word is useful for rebuking and correcting use it to set the wayward right. And when they ask you to fast for them, do so; they might have an Esther declaration to make.
Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions. On the third day Esther put on her robe and went in to the king and amazingly she received favour from him. This was all because a son had chosen to lay his life down and done away with his choice food for 3 days. There is power in fasting especially when it is done corporately and when there is genuine desire to get the favour of a king who has strict laws.
Esther invited Haman and the King to a banquet specially organised for them. Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and realised that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. Arriving home his wife Zeresh and all his friends devised a plan to hang Mordecai. So Haman had gallows 23 metres high built in anticipation of this.
But that night the king could not sleep and ordered that the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, be brought in and read to him. As the book was read it was discovered that Mordecai had thwarted an assassination plot on the king, but nothing had been done to reward him. Friend, when the enemy has built gallows for you and is ready to hang you in the morning a breakthrough will come your way.
He will cause kings to lose sleep over you and see to it that the record of his reign is brought out. He will find out that something you did many years ago is supposed to be rewarded and will ask your enemy what needs to be done to reward you. In the days of Daniel, Darius lost sleep seeking the welfare of this son. In Xerxes day the same atmosphere prevailed.
The king just had an unusual desire to find out what had happened and he came across Mordecai’s heroics and decided that something had to be done for him. The most exciting part is that Haman, the enemy of the Jews, was the man to take robe and horse, and go ahead of Mordecai proclaiming, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honour” Esther 6:11.
Haman was humbled and infuriated at the same time. How could the king honour his enemy at his expense and order him to fulfil the deed. The LORD will turn situations around for you after you fast and pray. The third day was the day of breakthrough, of resurrection and the “dead” Jews were resurrected when the king decided to honour Mordecai. He will humble the very man who sought to destroy you and that in style.
While Mordecai returned to the gate, Haman rushed home with his head covered in grief and told all those who took time to listen to him what had happened. His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “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
The downfall of the enemy had begun in Haman’s life and it will begin the life of your enemy. Because you are of Christian origin, no one will be able to stand against you. They will surely come to ruin. Mordecai chose to remain humble before all men by returning to his humble position at the gate but that signalled the fall from grace of Haman. The same will be true of you once you leave your battles to the LORD. He is the Mighty Warrior and He is strong in battle because Jehovah is His Name.
The same evening Esther revealed to the king that Haman was plotting to destroy the Jews, she included. This infuriated the king and as such would mark the end of Haman’s life. He was hung on the same gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. The enemy will die on the same gallows he had prepared for you because the LORD will cause Esther to expose Haman for who he is and expedite his fall.
That same day the estate of Haman was handed over to Queen Esther and for the first time Mordecai came into the presence of the king. The king took off his signet ring and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate. Esther pled with the king to reverse the evil plan of Haman and he told Mordecai to write another decree in the king’s name on behalf of the Jews as seemed best to him. He would use the king’s signet ring to endorse this reversal and no one could revoke it.
The message was spread throughout the kingdom and the future of the Jews was secured, at least for the meantime. The edict issued by Mordecai allowed the Jews the right to assemble and protect themselves; to kill, to destroy and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or province that might attack them and their families. They had the right to plunder the property of their enemies. This only came about after a son had given himself to seeking the welfare of his kith and kin in exile.
Mordecai left the king’s presence wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. We are not told what his attire was like when he first entered the king’s presence but what we know is that he left in royal apparel. That would read more like a rags to riches story and would really encourage us to trust more in the LORD.
He will also clothe you with fine apparel when you leave the king’s presence. You need not change your sackcloth until you are clothed with royal garments. You need to be promoted because your season will be at hand and no one should take that fact away from you. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honour. Many people changed nationality and became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.
We read also that Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful. A son who decides to hold his own even in exile, sticking to his principles will eventually stand out. Nothing can cause him to be dulled because at the right time he will rise to prominence and his reputation will grow. He will be a beacon among his people and will show others the way to go.
Mordecai was a light to the Jews and would not let situations dull the brightness of that light. He rose from sitting at the king’s gate to sitting in the king’s palace. What is more he was prominent in that same palace. Maybe this was due to the fact that he was Xerxes father-in-law. But whatever it was, it caused his reputation to grow. Will you grow your reputation and become more powerful or will you remain at the same level? Be like Mordecai and start to shine out. This is your season to arise and shine.
We’ll fast forward the movie to the end and sum up the life of this son. Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to king Xerxes, pre-eminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews” Esther 10:3.
Mordecai was selfless, driven by his people’s needs. A man who wants to get ranked must put his people first, seek their good and speak up for their welfare. There is a Mordecai lying deep down the inside of us. All it will take is the drive and desire to be different, to be marked out and to stand up and be counted in the exile. Are you ready and willing to let the sleeping Mordecai rise?
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