Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for the Queen who wasn't quiet

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Mosaic Glass Slipper Pins by Margot
Esther 7:4
For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.

I am going to look at the word quiet not from the peace and quiet stand point even though most of could probably stand to have a bit more of that kind of quiet. What I want to look at is the idea of being quiet when we should speak up. Our story today is kind of a Cinderella story. Ester is in a sense the fairest in the land when the king goes looking for a new queen to replace Vashti, who refused to come when he called her. Lest women all over the kingdom began to think they could refuse their husbands commands he had to make an example of her. Quiet frankly I think Vashti did the right thing to refuse to come to her husbands drunken party. You have to look to the commentary to understand Vashti's side of the story. "Reasons for Vashti’s disobedience are not given in the Hebrew text, though early Jewish interpreters explained that she was commanded to appear naked, wearing only her crown, or that she had some disfigurement. The queen’s refusal to obey introduces the theme of obedience and disobedience." Clearly she was a trophy wife who had had just about enough. "Just come in your crown" was enough to push her over the edge.  She however is not the story today she got replaced and in classic fairy tale fashion a call goes through the land for the fairest maidens to come. If you are not familiar with it you might want to read it some time. I'm skipping ahead, Ester is already the queen and she has to decide on several occasions to put her position and life on the line in order to speak up.

Our verse today is near the end of the story. Ester is a young, beautiful Israelite girl who lives with her uncle Mordici. When the call goes out to find a new queen Mordici sugests that she present herself but not say anything about her family nationality.  So she becomes the queen and goes through massive beauty treatments in the kings herrim before she is presented to the king.

During her time as queen there is a man named Hamman who is one of the kings advisors. He pretty much hates the Mordici because he won't grovel before Hamman. Rather than just put Mordaci to death he decides to go after Mordaci's people, having no idea that the queen is part of that people.
So here is Haman's decree from Esther 3.  "Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom 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. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talents of silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business.”

Mordaci hears about the new decree and contacts Esther and tells her what has happened. She sends back word to him that the king has not summend her in 30 days. Now you need to know that the penalty for bothering the king and coming to him with out being summoned was death. So her life is on the line and she must make a decision. If the king is annoyed - its "off with her head" so to speak.  She tries to explain this difficulty to Mordaci. His response is one that we might all consider when faced with a difficult choice of should we speak up or should we be quiet. "“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 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?”

Sometimes God puts us in places where we will need to stand up for what we believe, or for what is right or for justice. God gives us an opportunity to be part of what he is doing but we have the choice even as Ester did, to look out for number 1 or to do the right thing. God will uses someone and the question is will it be you? Will you rise up and do the right thing or will you stay in the background and be silent when you should speak up.  Of course this story has a happy ending at least for Mordici and Ester. Keep in mind that just like when you are facing a difficult decision, they did not know how the story would end. They had to trust that God would make a way and help them, even in the face of very dismal odds.

So Q is for the Queen who wasn't quiet and servers as a reminder to us that we will have opportunities to to speak up. Like Mordaci tells Esther if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place. Don't put off till tomorrow what you should do today. That opportunity my pass. There is a verse where Isaiah is in the throne room of God and he hears God speaking "Who will go for us, who shall we send". Isaiah responds "Here I am I, Lord, send me."Sometimes God is speaking something to many people and waits to see who will rise up and respond.

 Is there something that you know you should do but have put off because it is inconvenient or it may cause you ridicule from others around you? 

Dear Lord,
I pray that you will help each of us to find the courage to speak up when we see injustice, or for truth and righteousness. Help us to not remain silent when you are calling us to speak.

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