Saturday, September 26, 2015

To whom do we pay homage?

"Mordecai Scorns Haman" - Ernest Normand
"Mordecai Scorns Haman" by Ernest Normand

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Esther 3:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "And all the king's servants who were within the king's gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage." Esther 3:2

The author of Esther doesn't spell out why Mordecai wouldn't bow to Haman—only that he refused to pay homage because he was a Jew. I think we can assume that in this he was taking God very seriously in obeying especially the first of the ten commandments:

"You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image .... you shall not bow down to them or serve them" Exodus 20:3-5.

The pressure mounted as his fellow servants questioned, then reported him, and finally King Ahasuerus, under the influence of Haman, passed a decree to kill not just him, but all the Jewish people. We can only imagine the soul searching Mordecai went through as he faced this horrible consequence of his actions to not only him but thousands of people. Yet he never wavered in his resolve.

Most of us will never face such an ultimatum for giving God first place in our lives. But we will come across the temptation to stray from it along other lines. Josh McDowell, for example, tells how he planned to become a lawyer. Yet one day God came to him and impressed on him that he was to spend his life witnessing to young people. McDowell says in the Epilogue to his autobiography:

"I never saw my early dream of becoming a lawyer come true. Instead I am still fulfilling the call to ministry that I answered more than fifty years ago .... I am in constant awe of what God has done in my life" - Josh McDowell, Undaunted, p. 245.

Mordecai's unshakable resolve and McDowell's modern example prompt me to ask myself, am I refusing to bow to anything but God and His will for my life? Or do I "pay homage" in one way or another, to things like success, personal ambition, money, comfort...? What about you?

Dear God, I have a lot to learn from Mordecai and his determination to give You first place, no matter what it cost. Help me to understand how to do this in my circumstances and then do it. Amen.

MORE: I'd Rather Have Jesus - George Beverley Shea

"'I’d Rather Have Jesus' is a song written by Rhea F. Miller with the tune written by George Beverly Shea. This poem, written in 1922, was left on a piano in the Shea home by Bev Shea who wanted her son to find it and change the course of his life. 

The words, I’d rather have Jesus, moved George so much and spoke to him about his own aims and ambitions in life. He sat down at the piano and began singing them with a tune that seemed to fit the words. Shea’s mom heard him singing it and asked him to sing it at church the next day. 

George’s life direction did change. 

He was offered a popular music career with NBC, but a few years later chose to become associated with evangelist Billy Graham and sang this hymn around the world."   (Read the entire article including the lyrics to "I'd Rather Have Jesus.")

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Drive-Thru

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