Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Scepter

The plot had been hatched , and the law passed to authorize the extermination of the Jews.
No, it wasn’t 1939.
It was , in fact, a couple of thousand years earlier, but the intent was the same - to rid the land of the Jews . Strange as it may seem the Jews have always to attracted the hatred of anyone needing a scapegoat, and so it was even back then in the kingdom of Persia.
A man by the name of Haman, filled with a Hitler’s kind of hatred for the Jewish people, tricked the king into giving him the authority to carry out his plot to kill every Jew in the 127 provinces of the kingdom.
Mordicai , lurking in the shadows, heard the whispers in secret places and learned of Haman’s plot. He also gleaned that the king’s seal of authority had already been given and the law was such that when the king had spoken, his word could not be repealed. The lives of the Jews were in Haman’s hand.
There was only one thread of hope and it was held in the hand of a young girl, Esther, Mordicai’s adopted daughter who just happened to be the King’s wife.
Mordicai discretely sent a message to her advising her of the dark cloud hanging over her people. Of course her identity as a Jewess had been hidden and no one, including the king , knew her blood line.
I can’t imagine the angst Mordicai’s news would have stirred in Esther’s young heart. I’m sure the trauma of being uprooted from her humble home living with her uncle/cousin and thrust into the unfamiliar world of pampered royalty as queen to the king was still fresh in her mind. Now she was told that the lives of thousands of people are held in the balance and it was up to her whether they live or die. Questions must have raced through her mind. What could she possible do? She had no influence, she was just one person, and a girl at that. And it was much more complicated than just using her feminine whiles to coax her husband to grant her a favor.
First – the plot had already been empowered by the validation of the decree making it lawful, and the law could not be revoked.
Secondly , she could not even go to the king to beg for mercy without endangering her own life.

In ancient cultures a ruling king had absolute power and such was the power of King Ahaesurus . His power was all encompassing to the point that it was unlawful for anyone to come into his presence without an invitation . That included even his wife !
Anyone who dared to approach the king without having been summoned , played Russian roulette with his life. It all depended on the ‘mood’ of the king. If someone stepped into view of the king in his throne room and the king happened to be in a favorable mood… he would hold out his scepter to them , indicating that they were welcome to come before him and present their petitions.
However, if he was in an irritable mood or if the person entering his throne room displeased him for any reason, by a wave of his hand the guards would immediately remove the unfortunate person from the king’s presence and execute him!

This was the reality of Queen Esther’s world. When Mordecai informed her of the danger her people were in and that she must help them, Queen Esther understandably hesitated to agree to speak to the king, arguing that he had not called for her for thirty days, that fact lessening her chances of pleasing him if she appeared unbidden into his presence.
We find it hard to believe that a queen would have to fear seeking her husband’s company or asking for his attention to any matter… but we need to remember his first wife was disposed of because she refused to come in response to her husband’s request for her to display her beauty. Esther’s position was by no means any more secure… beautiful maidens were plentiful and available.

Esther told Mordecai that she would fast for three days.
Then she would risk her life for the sake of her people, if she perished she perished.

When her fast was ended, she dressed in her finest royal clothes and made her way to the king’s throne room. It is easy to imagine how her heart would have been pounding… her stomach lurching and twisting with fear… her head dizzy from anxiety and fasting….. as she walked down the corridors of the palace…. knowing that perhaps she is walking to her execution. I’m sure she thought of all the other people who had spent their last minutes just as she was…coming with a petition for the king, feeling the adrenalin rush of a life or death crisis --- and then being rewarded with death.
Would she suffer the same fate… or would the scepter be held out to her???

Finally, she comes around the last corner and the entrance to the courtyard is just before her…. I’m sure she took one last deep breath before she resolutely stepped into the courtyard.

Time stopped….yes, the king was on the throne… his scepter was in his hand…. His head turned in her direction…. her heart stood still… his eyes met hers… could she read his expression?? She wasn’t sure…. her eyes fell on the scepter…. did she imagine that it moved ???
Yes- yes, could it be?? Oh , relief…. a thousand waves of relief…. the scepter was being held out to her…her life was safe… her eyes filled with tears…. the king had welcomed her !!

In Hebrews 1:8 we read about another King who sits on an eternal throne, ruling over a vast kingdom. He too has a scepter in his hand. But this scepter is a scepter of righteousness that He holds out to his subjects, He holds it out, not according to His whim or changing impulse…. but according to His justice and mercy.
Justice because the price has been paid for the privilege of His subjects to enter His throne room – and mercy because He paid the price they could never afford.
His subjects are welcome to come into His presence anytime… in fact they are assured that they can come with boldness… rather than trepidation or fear of being rejected….. And EVERY TIME they come…. His scepter is held out to them in welcome!!

Who is this King but our own King of glory … who has saved us and brought us into His kingdom of light !! Jesus, our mediator who opened the way for us to come to the throne room with the abandon of a child running to his father….even though we deserved to be turned away to face an eternal death sentence.
What a privilege , what a joy to be able to approach the God of all Creation without fear!!

“For your throne, O God, is forever and ever, A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom" ( Heb. 1:8)
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need !!” (Heb.4:16)


Demara said...

Amen Sister!!!
I have heard this story many times before
I love how you brought it to life!

Lovella ♥ said...

For such a time as this.

I think that this is one of my favorites. Only a loving God could come up with a plan like that.