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“Well, you may not know this, but there’s things that gnaw at a man worse than dying.”- Charlie Waite 

Some time later King Xerxes promoted Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite over all the other nobles, making him the most powerful official in the empire. 2 All the king’s officials would bow down before Haman to show him respect whenever he passed by, for so the king had commanded. But Mordecai refused to bow down or show him respect.

3 Then the palace officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why are you disobeying the king’s command?” 4 They spoke to him day after day, but still he refused to comply with the order. So they spoke to Haman about this to see if he would tolerate Mordecai’s conduct, since Mordecai had told them he was a Jew.

5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage.

-Esther 3:1-5

The book of Esther is one of my favorite books in the Bible.  There is intrigue, deception, courage, murder plots, and many nods to Jesus Christ.  But as I read this lately, something struck me that hadn’t come to my attention up to this point: Mordecai’s unreserved rebellion against plain evil.  

Make no mistake, Haman was an evil man.  He single-handedly planned for the full-on slaughter of all Jews in the Persian kingdom with no regard for the sanctity of life.  This possibly was due to an old tradition of hatred between Amalekites and the Jews, which is another story altogether.  But his hatred and lust for power was insatiable to the point of it consuming him.  The result? Haman was hung on a gallows in his own front yard.  The same gallows he had had constructed for Mordecai for punishment for not bowing to him.  Irony…

I doubt that when Mordecai decided he was not going to bow to Haman’s prideful command that it was going to result in all Jews being condemned to death.  But I have to respect his salt.  It might have been his conviction that it was a commandment to not give a man the respect that only God deserved, or he could have just been an old man that was tired of being pushed.  There’s a quote in one of my favorite movies, Open Range, where the character Charlie Waite says, “Well, you may not know this, but there’s things that gnaw at a man worse than dying.”  My guess is that Mordecai had arrived at this conclusion also.  And ultimately, his act of rebellion produced honor and wealth for the Jews in a foreign land.

I feel like there is some evil in our land and it is our responsibility to refuse to be pushed. 

“All it takes for evil to triumph is for the righteous to feel nothing, to say nothing, to do nothing.” 

– Alistair Begg