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January 27, 2011 – Esther 4

There’s nothing better than a good theological debate, unless of course we count the good ole MLT. But seeing as mutton is sometimes hard to come by, we can all agree that two wise men stepping into the theological squared circle is the next best thing. Unfortunately, the Bible comes along every once in while and dashes our hopes of seeing a debating 10-count.

Take today’s reading, for example. Mordecai finds out about Haman’s plan to destroy the Jews, and starts in with the mourning. From deep within the confines of the royal harem, Esther hears about Mordecai’s wailing and sackcloth ensemble and sends messengers to and fro to find out what’s going on. Mordecai informs her that she must go to the king and save the lives of her people.

As Esther understandably balks at this suicidal plan, Mordecai prompts her with one of the great one-sentence theologies in the whole Bible. He tells her that “if you keep silent, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place,” but who knows what will happen to you?

TWO MINUTES TO THE GENTLEMAN FROM GENEVA

Anyone who reads church history will no doubt know about the historical and on-going debate between Arminianism and Calvinism. There has always been tension in the Christian faith between the complex ideas of God’s absolute sovereignty and and the extent of free will. How much of our lives are in God’s hands, and how much is our own choice? Are we responsible for what happens to us, or does God have everything pre-arranged?

Mordecai seems to say that this is the wrong question to be asking.  Instead of worrying about if we have free choice over every aspect of our lives, we should trust that God’s will is going to be done and look to see how we can be a part of it. Mordecai fully recognizes both sides of the debate in this passage, with no apparent mental conflict. God’s will (deliverance for the Jews) will be accomplished. If Esther wants to be the instrument of that, so be it. If not, God will use someone else, but His Will will come regardless.

LITTLE FROM COLUMN A, LITTLE FROM COLUMN B

An understanding of this simultaneous reality (and it’s admittedly difficult to get a hold of) can be greatly freeing in our walk with Christ. Maybe our prayers should focus more on knowing God’s Will, instead of praying about all the bad stuff that could happen. God’s will may be inevitable, but He gives us the choice of being a part of it. It’s a pre-determined freedom of choice.

What will you choose today?

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