Imagine that you are forced to live in a foreign country – one ruled by an absolute dictator. You have a niece, whom you have raised as your own child, and she is your only family. One day, the dictator’s thugs arrive and take her off to the palace, putting her in the dictator’s harem without reference to you. They give her beauty treatments for a year before the king violates her, then decides to make her his queen.
After the wedding, the dictator leaves her in the harem for weeks on end – he has many concubines to satisfy his lust. Your niece’s life is in danger if she angers the king by word or deed (his last wife disappeared because she wouldn’t perform at an all-male banquet). All this time, you can’t visit your niece. You communicate through third parties. Because you want to protect and help her, you wait by the palace every day for news of her and the chance to send her a message. Servants find your presence annoying.
One day, you hear of a plot against this dictator that will end his life. Instead of letting it happen, taking your niece and getting out of there, you alert the proper people and avert the assassination. And the only reward you get is the continuation of the status quo.
When I listen to westerners talk about their political leaders, the tone varies from angry to contemptuous: “Should we hate _____?” “Another dumb move by ______.” “DC is full of idiots.” I get the feeling from a lot of people – Christian people – that if they had a chance, they’d put some politicians in a dunce cap in the corner, or run them out of town. And that in countries where the leaders are bound by law and democratically elected. Regularly. I’m not confident that a lot of believers would save the life of a political leader who had personally abused a close family member. Seems there’s not a lot of Mordecais around these days.
When you read the book of Esther, there is a deep sense that Mordecai was both wise and trusting. He understood the volatility of the political situation of ancient Persia as well as God’s providence. Without bitterness, anger, or complaint recorded, he patiently went about his own life, seeking to care for his family, obey the law and, when he had the chance, take advantage of a political situation to do good. Mordecai understood that the heart of the king is like a stream of water in the hand of the Lord, who turns it wherever He wills (Proverbs 21:1).
During this cycle of American elections, it might be good to meditate a bit on Mordecai and the providence of the King of Kings, not only for the sake of our leaders, but also for conscience. Because no matter what happens in an election, our citizenship is in Heaven.