Today’s writing will be an addendum to yesterday’s, and will be the last WP for while, as I need to concentrate on re-writing my astronomy book, The Other Star.
The Book of Esther gives us a magnificent example of the Principle of Negotiation, which was yesterday’s lesson. Briefly, there were three important men in the story, King Artaxerxes, Mordecai, and Haman. Now Mordecai was the chief amongst the Jewish population in the King’s dominion. He was a Benjamite, and could trace his ancestry back to Kish, who was King Saul’s father. Haman, on the other hand was descended from the family of Agag, the Amalekite King, whom Samuel slaughtered because Saul had failed to do so.
Both Mordecai and Haman were aware of their family histories, and one can imagine that Haman would despise and hate Mordecai as a result, and Mordecai would have no dealings with an Amalekite, a people hated by the Lord for their treachery to the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. So much for the background history.
The sequence of the story of Esther is well known, and needs no further elaboration here. But there is one outstanding point that is very important. We are told that any edict of King Artaxerxes could never be revoked, or modified. It had to be carried out to the letter. It was this that created such great mourning amongst Jewish people as they contemplated their total demise on 13th Adar, the 12th month.
What was Mordecai’s reaction? Did he just shrug his shoulders and accept the decree? Did he say, “We have no way of escape. The King’s decree is a final ultimatum that cannot be changed. O my God, it is the end of the Jewish race.”.
No he didn’t. He immediately sought a means of circumventing the decree. His first line of attack was via Queen Esther, his niece. But he said to her, “If you keep silent at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter. . . Who knows whether you have not come to the Kingdom for such a time as this?” (4:14) Negotiation had begun. The time-honoured principle of negotiation used by the Jews was being put into practice. In other words, never accept defeat – put on your thinking cap.
The story goes on to tell us how victory was won through Queen Esther’s subtle handling. The King then had to declare to Esther that his decree “cannot be revoked.” The Law of the Medes and the Persians forbade any changes to be made. Although he was King, he was bound by the laws of his Kingdom. Therefore he had to issue another decree that on the 13th Adar, Jews were to take up arms against anyone who sought to do them harm. This new decree, instead of countermanding the former decree, added a new dimension that enabled the Jews to save themselves from massacre. In fact the new decree induced fear in the Persians, so that they were wary of entering into combat with Jews.
So much for the story. My point is this. Many Christians today treat God’s prophetic word in exactly the same way as the Laws of the Medes and the Persians. They believe that once God has spoken, nothing in this world can change it. Furthermore, they believe that like Artaxerxes, even God Himself cannot change it.
But Biblical history has shown us that this is far from the truth, and yesterday I sought to bring the Principle of Negotiation into focus by drawing several examples from the Bible. Now, dear friends who read these words, will you not join me in praying that the dreadful visionary scenes of God’s Judgments will not prevail, but that some way out may be found. Can we not emulate the magnificent example of Mordecai, and cause the Satanic forces of darkness to bring about their own destruction. Know this, Satan longs to put God’s word into action and bring about the destruction of all God’s people, as well as causing as much destruction of this world as possible. He is all for “the letter of the law”. Remember how he spoke to God about Job.
Let me conclude with a personal reminiscence. My mind goes back to 1940, in the early days of WW2. Nearly a quarter of a million British troops were trapped at Dunkirk as the Germans advanced. I remember King George VI calling for a National Day of Prayer. These were his words –
“At this fateful hour we turn as our fathers before us have turned in all times of trial, to God Most High. Here in the old country I have asked that Sunday next [26th May] should be observed as a National Day of Prayer. It may be possible for many of our brothers across the sea to join their prayers with ours. Let us with one heart and soul humbly but confidently commit out cause to God and ask that we may valiantly defend the right as it is given to us to see it.”
The British people responded on that Sunday, and as a result the miracle of Dunkirk happened, with “Operation Dynamo”, as over 200,000 British troops were rescued by an armada of over 1,000 small boats sheltered from aerial bombardment by a mist that hung over the Channel. Examples such as this are parallel to the spiritual warfare needed now to overcome dark forces. God is looking to us to respond, to negotiate, to save the church, and indeed, the world from disaster.