Turning the Tables
Father, I come to You today, not because I am strong but because I am weak. Impart Your strength to me I pray.
Read Esther 9:1-17
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him” (Psa. 37:40).
I’m looking forward to attending–again!–the musical Les Misérables. Victor Hugo’s captivating tale of forgiveness and redemption has all the drama of the Esther story. Its reversal of fortunes–for an undeserving criminal, an orphaned waif and a relentless law-enforcer–is a shared theme, as is a besieged minority group seeking justice. The phrase “now the tables were turned” (1) is probably the pivotal point of our story: the Jews, doomed to destruction by hateful enemies, now take the upper hand and fight for their survival.
The battle scene is quite disturbing. Evidently there were sufficient enemies of the Jews still around after Haman’s death–maybe coordinated by his ten sons–to cause mayhem across the provinces. The Jews, who had gained official support through the growing influence of Mordecai, were enabled to survive attacks on the prescribed day. Widespread skirmishes resulted in many opponent deaths, including those of Haman’s sons. The Jews, however, showed more restraint than was typical of ancient battles. They were primarily defending themselves, seemingly attacking only fighting men and not plundering their possessions. At Esther’s request, Susa was given an extra day to finish the job and make an example of Haman’s family.
The cost of turning sorrow into joy was high, but at the conclusion several major reversals were complete. Haman had fallen from honor to shame, Mordecai had risen from shame to honor and the Jews rejoiced that they had been given relief from their enemies. “Thus the intention of Haman to wipe out the Jewish race had the effect of strengthening the bonds between its members, and increasing the communal spirit among them as they remembered their shared danger and deliverance” (Joyce Baldwin).
How do you personally, as a Christian, approach the moral dilemma of the use of violence to resolve social conflict? Does the end ever justify the means?
Holy One, I need Your guidance as I navigate the complexities of life. My heart’s desire is to live rightly for You.
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