Vol. 8-12 – 03-19-2023 – Generations
And every day Mordecai walked in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and what was happening to her. –Esther 2:11
Do you get a sense of how much Mordecai cared for Esther? He paced. Back and forth. His heart ached to know how Esther was doing. Would you not expect Mordecai to be the hero? He is not. Actually, God is the hero; yet He chooses to work through Esther. You know the story. You have heard preachers and teachers work through the book of Esther. She is found in every published book on the history of women in Bible times.
Courage. Strength. Faith. Willing to be sacrificed. Love for people. (Did I get them all? Probably not.) There is no doubt she is a beautiful woman. There are other characters. A good-looking king. Evil villains (one in particular). There will be an epic battle. Sounds like a movie. They did have visions back then, but there is no evidence of movies. This is real life.
Today, this would be painted as a chick story. God paints it as instructional for our faith.
If you are looking for some goals in raising children, you do not have to stray far from the book of Esther. What is found is not a checklist; you know, those lists with the little check boxes. What we find is a style of writing called Hebrew stair-step parallelism. People who are carpenters understand this form right off.
When you build steps, each step supports the next step. When you move to the next step, you are not done with the previous steps. They are what you build upon (the first few verses of Psalm 37 are another example of this kind of writing).
We do not know what happened to Esther’s parents, only that they died (2:7). What we do know is that Mordecai took her into his heart as a daughter. I know about that. Donna and I had sons, no daughters. Three of my sons married; the great gift was at their marriage I gained daughters (not simply daughters-in-law; daughters to love, blessings).
Over the years I have had great conversations with my daughters (in person, by email, by text, and by phone). It is humbling to have the love of daughters.
King Xerxes took Esther for his harem; she eventually became queen. Mordecai never stopped loving her as a daughter. He was faithful to God. He refused to bow his knee to the idol gods. In steps, Haman angered Mordecai for his faithfulness to the Almighty God. Haman plots. Sounds like today. Haman plotted to destroy every Jew.
Esther has an opportunity to speak for the Jews (including Mordecai). She does. Her courage and faith prepared her to rest firmly on her godly foundations. It should always be that way when we raise children, ours, or as a ministry to other children. I recently read an obituary for a man who died suddenly at age 77. He and his wife cared for 53 foster children during their marriage. When he died, he was ministering in a food bank to care for the needs of a community. 53 kids!
Now, Mordecai had some experience that God wanted to make sure appeared in the story. Important because those experiences were valuable in teaching the younger generations to be prepared for what would come next:
- Be of good courage. Mordecai sought to live according to what God expected of him. You can only learn courage as you live it; you can only pass it on if you are faithful to it. We live in a world that is hostile toward faith, it was that way in those times as well.
- Be a person of prayer. One must watch in order to pray. It is not an activity of sudden little thoughts. With children, prayer does not stop when they go off to the university. A parent needs to be a person of watchfulness (you do that from a distance so you will be ready to step in with sought-after advice). You might have to pace back and forth some.
- You, yourself, will have many opportunities to stay faithful to your faith. For Esther, it was life-threatening. For us it can endanger our relationships; even with our children (4:13).
- Recognize God has people He draws to effectively accomplish His will—His will is most keenly available in His Word. That requires familiarity with God’s Word (4:14).
What is He Doing?
Behold, these are but the outskirts of His ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power, who can understand? –Job 26:14
Have you ever sat down in gloom, thinking, what is going on with God? Life is just crazy—out of kilter. Frustrating.
You can probably create a list. I can make a list as well. A long one.
It was good that Job had a wife and family that were great supporters. Not! And what about his children—he lost 10 in one day. And then he had those comforters—right? Not!.
Yet, his faith did not falter. When you read the book of Job do you wonder how Job did not wind up in the local institution for mental help? He had foundations regarding his God (26:7-13).
Reread his conclusion (26:14). Who is this God of Job?
What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. –1 Corinthians 2:10-11
For now, we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. –1 Corinthians 13:12
We are not able to see all of what God is doing. We see, perhaps on the edges. Just a glimpse. We only get a whisper of His thunder.
We can, however, look back on the times God has obviously entered our lives to undertake what must be done so that His will would be fulfilled. He has such a vested interest that He makes that proclamation in Jeremiah: for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you. –Jeremiah 29:11-14a
Since God has a prevailing interest in you, how could He not have the same interest in your child (children) and your spouse?
These passages are not simply stories to read of another time. God is likewise working in our lives and within those we hold dear. If we only see the edges, what if we would see the whole of His work? We do not need to, this side of heaven.
He is absolutely trustworthy.