A Loving Rebuke

Esther 4:12-14 (the message)
 When Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai sent her this message: “Don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Jew who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.”

In my previous post I shared how God has been leading me to read the book of Esther.  Today, as I have a few minutes before Leighton awakens and I leave to get Leah from preschool, I open up to chapter four.  At this point in the story the Jews in Xerxes kingdom are in “sackcloth and ashes.”  Wailing and grieving for what is to become of them.  Once Esther learns of the murderous plot, she sends one of the eunuchs assigned to her to go and speak with Mordecai.  What ensues is a back and forth between Mordecai and his cousin —  now Queen!  Mordecai sends Esther a message instructing her to approach the king and intercede for her people.  Esther replies, through Hathach, that everyone knows approaching the king without being summoned first is automatic death unless he extends his golden scepter.  She adds that she has not been called to the king in thirty days.

As I read over this I thought hmmm…what has happened to Esther?  Only a chapter before she was seeking out the counsel and wisdom of her older cousin.  I wonder if somewhere between the lines Esther has become comfortable in her new role.  Perhaps the humble and pliable Esther we met just a couple of chapters ago has become a bit more self-focused.  I can relate!  How easily we can let our lives become about how we feel…what we want…our fears…our needs.  We remember a time when it was all about God.  All about Jesus.  All about others.  And we remember the joy!  Yet, time and our sometimes spoiled and cushy American lifestyle and “church world check it off the list” brand of Christianity can turn our focus inward.

We all have those times.  I most certainly do.  What struck me this morning is the rebuke Mordecai gives Esther.  Mordecai sees the bigger picture.  He has not become convinced (as perhaps Esther has?) that she is queen merely due to her own merits of beauty and charm.  Mordecai sees the hand of God.  He sees that her place in the palace and in the king’s heart is not about her and he tells her plainly that perhaps she has been made queen for this very time and purpose.  Mordecai is unafraid to speak the truth to Esther.  I love Esther’s response to Mordecai’s rebuke and hope to write about it tomorrow…

Today, His whisper in my heart asks how well can you receive a loving rebuke?  See, when you trust that someone loves you it can be a very healthy and life-changing experience if you decide to listen to what they have to say.  Of course many of us have given and received rebukes and reprimands that were not loving, not Holy Spirit led, not born of pure motives but mostly of pride and opinion or misled timing.  However, if God opens a door in your life for someone to share truth in love…are you willing to listen or do you slam the door of your mind and heart closed?

For many years God has been teaching me about humility and having a teachable spirit.  I will be a life-long student and it doesn’t mean I listen and absorb everything everyone wants to say to me or about me!  But it does mean there are times when a person in my life (whom I trust) shares things with me about myself that I need to hear…things that are hard to hear…things I don’t always want to hear!  But, because I really want to change and want to be a healthier person I have learned that it won’t kill me to consider a loving rebuke.

Matter of fact, like Esther, it may just save me…

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