Lenten Midweek Reflection - Mar 13 2013

Lenten Midweek Reflection - Mar 13 2013

We continue our Lenten Midweek Reflections.  Worship is held on Wednesday night at 7pm.  We will have a light meal before services, starting each night at 6pm.  There is no post for last week, Mar 6th due to our being out of town for a funeral.

The story of Esther is an interesting tale of how God puts the right people in the right place, for the purpose of protecting and caring for his people. This story takes place when Israel was still captive in Babylon and Xerxes was the King of almost the entire world. Xerxes needed a new wife, and finds Ester, and she becomes Queen of the Babylonian Empire. Ester is a Jew, taken from among the people who were brought to Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem, and God puts here in a place where she can avert disaster for the Jewish people

All stories have a bad guy, and in Ester, the bad guy is the court official Haman. Haman has a problem with the Jews, one Jew in particular, Ester’s uncle Mordeci. Everyone is supposed to bow down and give homage to Haman as he passes by – but Mordecai will not. He is a Jew, he bows down to no one except the one true God.

This fact enrages Haman. So much so that he wants to not only have Mordecai killed, but all of the Jewish people in the Babylonian Empire killed. He arranges this with the Emperor, telling Xerxes that there are these disobedient and stiff necked people who Haman believes should be eliminated, and if the King will let him destroy these people, Haman will donate 10,000 talents of silver to the kings treasury. This is an unbelievable amount of money.

Haman is buying a genocide. He wants all of the Jews killed and convinces the King to let him do this. Thus an edict goes out to the entire empire that on March 7th of the next year all of the Jews in the Empire are to be killed. Remember that at that time, the Babylonian Empire covered most of the populated world from Northern Africa to India. That is primarily where any Jewish people could be found. So Haman wasn’t just trying to destroy the Jews in the Empire – he was effectively trying to destroy all of Judiaism with this act. Haman is not a good guy, God’s people are facing a crisis.

But God has already provided for his people. The Queen of Babylon is Ester, as we said she is Jewish. Also we are told that Mordecai, her uncle, earlier saved the life of the King when he discovered an assassination plot against him.
What happens: Ester tells the king. It might seem like a no brainer at first that she would go and tell and all would be fine – but the problem is that there has been a royal decree. Once the Emperor says something – that is just the way it is. Under the law at that time, Ester could face execution by revealing her Jewishness to Xerxes. The King had pronounced death. She took her own life into her hands.

But Ester tells of Haman’s treachery, and the King is enraged. He realizes that Haman has tricked him into something that would call for the death of the Queen, and of the man who had saved his life. So the King has Haman arrested, all of his lands and possessions are given to Ester and Mordecai, and the murder of the Jews is averted.
Now we hear that and it seems a very simple story. But I think there are some things that we can take from the story of Ester, that illustrate to us how our Lord works and is working in our lives

First and Foremost – God is working to care for and provide for his people. No one would expect the daughter of people who were enslaved in Babylon to become the Empress of the Babylonians but God made that happen. By doing that God did what needed to be done (though we might recognize that God took extreme action here in extreme circumstances) to make sure that his people were safe.

Though this is an extreme situation, it reminds us that God is always at work. God is always working to protect, to lead, to call, to shield his people. GOD IS ACTIVE IN AND AMONG US. We do not have a God who sits on the sideline, but we have a God who became flesh and lives among us, show up here in his body and blood, who sent his Holy Spirit to lead and guide us everyday. God is here. God is moving, God is working in this place.

What God is doing, is the same thing God has always done, he is working to save this world and he is allowing us to be part of that. It may not mean that one of us needs to become the Queen of the World to prevent destruction. But it does mean that God is working through us in Newry and Geeseytown. God is using us, using you and me to share his love and mercy – with food, and quilts, and things collected, and prayers shared, and all the ministries that he calls us too.

That God who worked to save his people is still working to save and call all people. He is calling us to be the ones who follow him who strive to reach out in love grace and mercy. In that he may just lead us to help call others to him.


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