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The Danger of Standing By

Words of Faith Final

The Danger of Standing By
Words of Faith 6-10-2021
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2008, 2021
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
www.faithfellowshipweb.com
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Esther 4
       [6] So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king's gate. [7] Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. [8] He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to urge her to go into the king's presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.  [9] Hathach went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. [10] Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, [11] "All the king's officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king."

        Complacency is the enemy of character.  Self-interest is the enemy of honor.  Fear is the enemy of faith.  Mordecai knew that there was a small window of opportunity in which to stop the terror plotted by Haman.  He also knew that Esther was the key.  
       The truth is that Esther was probably at least a little complacent, a little self-interested, and a little afraid.  It is difficult to judge whether she would really lose her life if she came into the presence of the King without official invitation but that was the law.  She had not seen the King for thirty days and she may have suspected that she had lost favor with the King.  But would he really have executed her?  We don't know.  It doesn't really matter.  The right thing to do was to do anything and everything possible to stop the insanity of Haman, even if that cost her life.  But such a decision is not that easy.
         We actually live in a fairly complacent, self-interested time and fearful time.  We would like to think that given the opportunity to make a difference we would always do the right thing.  But would we really?  History tells us that many do not.
         Elly Dlin, a Hebrew University Holocaust scholar who works with Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum and memorial in Jerusalem,  asks the question in 20th-century context:  "Why did we allow the killing to happen?" when we are the bystanders, those who were neither perpetrators nor victims.  The bystanders include a very diverse group of people: from the most powerful officials in the Allied governments to the family of farmers next door, and from international humanitarian agencies to simple railroad workers.  The bystanders also display a wide range of responses: from enthusiastic support of the murders to active opposition to the Nazi regime, and from terrified inaction to indifference and to hatred" (Elly Dlin Lecture  "Meanings of the Holocaust"; Jewish University in Cyberspace).
         There is great danger in choosing to be a bystander.  Albert Einstein, a refugee from Nazism, said: "The World is too dangerous to live in not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who sit and let it happen." (p. 267 Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior, 1982 Margo Stern).
         It is a good thing that the story of Esther is human enough to show us her struggle.  We could not identify easily with a heroine who immediately ran to the King with no regard for her own life.  The reality is that this decision was a real struggle. The call of Mordecai to attempt to help the Jewish people disturbed Esther's charmed life in the same way that the rumors of Auschwitz disturbed those who heard of the horror.  The question for us?  When are things disturbing enough to call us to do the right thing?  And if we choose complacence to preserve our "peace", will we ever have real peace?   The answers are clear but they are not easy.  

        Lord, give me courage at the moment when I am called to do what is right.  Free me from the sin of complacence.  Release me from the bondage of self-interest.  Give me the faith to overcome my fear.  Lord, let me by hot for You never lukewarm.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2008, 2021
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)        
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.