Yesterday we considered some lessons to be learned from the Book of Esther. Today, there are five additional points to consider.
1. Virtue in being principled (3:3). Mordecai must have been some kind of man. His home destroyed and his family ripped apart. Before him was a little girl (his niece) named Hadassah (Esther). He raises her to be a young woman who understands authority and respects it highly. While he had a prominent position before the king, he was principled enough to lose it rather than go contrary to what he conscientiously believed – though it probably helps when arrogance presents itself. However, even with this Mordecai had much to lose (Keil & Delitzsch has some useful remarks in this regard). What Mordecai could have lost was of less importance than what he insisted on maintaining – his integrity and devotion to the One who loves all.
2. Virtue in location (4:14). Esther, a modest woman, was one who resolved to have great courage. Yet, this courage was not so obvious at the instant of her learning about the destruction planned for her people; it was Mordecai who brought it out in her. If there was a time in which he wondered about what would happen to his niece, perhaps he is now assured that she was raised for this purpose (cf. Romans 9:17). However, this was not obvious to her. Nevertheless, she prepares herself to do the right thing. Reflecting on our own lives, are we in our respective locations for the purposes of the Lord? Whether we are or not; whether we know or not, let us live and serve the Lord as the beacon of righteousness He wants of us.
3. Virtue in self-evaluation (6:7). Arrogance is one attribute that turns people off as quickly as it is recognized. Haman must have been some kind of arrogant man, but because of his position, people feared him and didn’t dare to tell him to “tone-it-down.” There is a difference between arrogance and confidence. When one is arrogant, he (she) thinks much of self in spite of the evidence to the contrary. When one is confident in relation to the Lord, he (she) has assurance because of the Lord who has already walked the path which we are on. This confidence, though, is one that encourages and demands self-evaluation by a standard different that self (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:13; 2 Corinthians 13:5).
4. Virtue in presumption (7:5). The NKJV reads the Haman’s actions were interpreted by the king as presumptuous (though the king did not immediately know it was Haman until Esther identified him). It mattered not whether the king interpreted correctly or not, for he was in position to interpret however he wanted to interpret it. So interpreting as he did, the king could surely see that as ambitious as Haman was, his interpretation was not far wrong. One does not have to be ambitious, however, to be presumptuous. All one has to do to be presumptuous is to attribute authority to self and then begin to move on that self-aggrandizement. Is there virtue in presumption? Not in the way it unfolded for Haman, and not in the way it unfolds for those who presume on the Lord’s authority.
5. Virtue in reciprocity (9:25). Moses told those who prepared to live on the east side of the Jordan River that if they did not follow through with their commitment, be sure their sin would find them out (Numbers 32:23). Justice has a way of tending to those who violate her!