The presence of God’s people within an unbelieving culture impacts that society. But will we learn from history and stand firm for the truth in our day?
The couriers went out hurriedly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in Susa the citadel. And the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion. Esther 3:15
And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. Acts 5:11-13
Through fascinating circumstances, Esther, a Jew in captivity, becomes the queen of the Persian king. About this time, a pompous man named Haman becomes second to the king. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin and guardian, causes proud Haman to become infuriated by his refusal to show him homage. Haman, learning that Mordecai is a Jew but unaware of his relationship to Queen Esther, decides to use his newly acquired power to exterminate, not only Mordecai but, all the Jews in the empire. With the decision announced, the king and Haman relax with a cool drink while the capital city turns chaotic. Tomorrow we will learn how the faithful believer Mordecai fared.
In Acts, the early church was alive with passion for the gospel and with love for its members. Enter two hypocrites, Ananias and Sapphira, who pretend to give all their wealth to the apostles. Their truth comes out and they die for their lie. The news spread and fear gripped everyone both inside and outside of the church. The word was out: don’t trifle with these Christians! No one dared to join them, but, on the other hand, “The people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women” (vs. 13-14). No one joined them unless they truly believed. Who would enter a group where you might die if you were a phony?
Think about it
Do you, like me, long for a revival in the Church of Jesus Christ, where the level of commitment to God and His people is such that hypocrisy would melt away? If we are steadfast, like Mordecai, we may yet see that. Be ready. The obedient church wins. Ananias loses. The faithful church impacts culture. God is glorified.