Having said what I did about Esther and Mordecai yesterday, some of you may think that I have little respect for them.
Nothing could be further from the truth. While I’m not sure I can agree with all of their decisions, there is a lot to be said about their overall character. I could say the same of many of the great characters in the Bible, including Abraham, David, and Paul, among many others.
And here we see some of the character of Mordecai. He hears a plot against the king by two men who seemed to have a grudge against him. He then warns Esther, who in turn warns the king, saving his life.
One wonders what Mordecai’s true feelings concerning Xerxes were. He knew about Xerxes’ ill treatment of Vashti and of Xerxes’ attitude towards women in general. (Just think about the number of women that passed through his bedroom doors during the contest alone). Xerxes also certainly wasn’t a God-fearer, nor was he a peaceable man according to history.
And yet, Mordecai, regardless of his personal feelings, nevertheless respected the office of the king, something that the two would-be assassins definitely didn’t do. So when he heard of the plot, he immediately took steps to prevent it.
We find out later that though he saved the king’s life, the king didn’t give him a second thought until much later. Yet we see no hint of resentment or bitterness in his heart. To him, he was only doing what was right, namely, honoring those in authority.
The apostle Peter wrote,
Show proper respect to everyone…fear God, honor the king. (I Peter 2:17)
Sometimes, we feel that the people in authority don’t deserve our respect. We complain about the things our president does, or our boss does, or our parents do. But here, God makes it clear that we are to honor them anyway. Why? Paul adds these words,
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Romans 13:1)
In other words, we honor those in authority out of our fear of God, and the fact that he is the one that ultimately put them in authority over us.
Are there people that God has placed over you that you struggle to submit to? God doesn’t call you to submit out of your reverence for them necessarily, although it certainly helps if you can do so. He calls you to submit out of your reverence for God.
Submission can be a difficult thing. But let us submit ourselves to those in authority, and in so doing, show our reverence for God.