Text: Esther 6:1-5
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;”
Philippians 2:12 NKJV
I love this quote by Andre Gide. “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.” Standing for what you believe may attract hatred but one may pretend and be loved.
Loyalty is not only demonstrated in the presence of a person but in the absence. Disloyal people may not necessarily openly show disloyalty but can play hypocrisy. They pretend to be loyal in the presence of people but disloyal in their absence. Sometimes, they may even hide their disloyalty by avoiding comments about the person or the cause. Apostle Paul thus charged the believers at Philippi not to play the hypocrite, according to our memory text.
This attitude was exhibited by Mordecai in Shushan. Even though he was in a strange land, he didn’t forget his Jewish religious beliefs. According to our text today, Mordecai refused to bow for Haman. This was not done out of disrespect or rebellion but because of his religious principle. Jewish tradition held that no self-respecting Jew would ever show reverence to an Amalekite, of which Haman belonged. Agag was the king of Amalek (Esther 3:1).
“And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage.” (Esther 3:2).
You see, the issue is not about the posture of bowing but the attitude it denotes. The Hebrew phrase translated ‘pay homage’ is often used to mean, worship of a deity. And Haman’s vanity would have influenced king Xerxes to order such worship. Mordecai saw obeisance to Haman as an expression of idolatry, which he was determined not to do. Even the Persians saw such obeisance as an acknowledgment of the honoured individual as a god. But Mordecai recognized God alone to be worthy of worship and ultimate loyalty! While some would easily have hidden their belief and played along, justifying their actions as this, “When you are in Rome, you behave like a Roman”.
Friends, can you hold to your beliefs in the midst of your relatives, friends and colleagues of other beliefs? If you compromise, hide, pretend or be silent about your beliefs in order to receive acceptance or favour, then you are disloyal. Disloyal people are cowards and cowards will be the first to be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 21:8). Stand up for Jesus today! Stand up for what you believe!
1. Father, please, help me to always be true to You, whether in the presence of believers or in the midst of unbelievers in Jesus name.
2. Father, please, help me to be loyal to You and to the cause of Christ till my final breath in Jesus name.
1. Disloyal people are cowards and cowards will be first to be cast into the lake of fire.
2. I prefer to be hated for who I am than to be loved for what I am not.