Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes preeminent among the Jews and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews. Esther 10:3 NIV
Do you love a good movie? If it’s a heartfelt story about overcoming adversity, do you root for the underdog to come out on top in the end? I love movies about athletes that overcome adversity; a term we usually use in these situations is “underdog.” One of my favorite underdog stories is the Disney movie, “McFarlin USA.” It’s a true story about a Latino track team in McFarlin, California whose chances in doing anything significant in life or going anywhere other than McFarlin are less than favorable. This changes when a coach is hired by the school and turns the tables on the track program helping the students and the community come together.
The book of Esther and throughout the Old Testament we hear story after story about underdogs. The Jewish people of the Old Testament were biblical underdogs; they were persecuted, beaten, enslaved, poor, and desperate. All throughout the Old Testament we see the Jews in precarious positions trying desperately to win out in their fight for survival. Many of us know of the book, Esther. Reading the book one would gather that the book of Esther is all about the protagonist Esther and her rise from a simple Jew to become Queen of one of the most powerful nations of her time. While this is true, I’d like to offer a different perspective. There is one captivating figure throughout the book that is instrumental in helping rescue the Jews behind the scenes. His name is Mordecai.
It is Mordecai, who I believe, God is speaking to throughout the entire book of Esther. There are many instances where Mordecai is quietly working behind the scenes to bring about God’s victory. Mordecai is Esther’s cousin and her guardian. From the very beginning he is instrumental in getting Esther to be in the right place at the right time so she could be noticed by King Xerxes and, therefore, chosen as his next queen. Mordecai uncovers a conspiracy plot to assassinate the king. In another twist of fate, Mordecai does not bow to Haman, the king’s second in command, and, therefore, creates an enemy who wants to have Mordecai killed along with his people, the Jews. Mordecai, armed with this knowledge, tells Esther of Haman’s plot to destroy their people. He then convinces Esther to go before the king to ask for his leniency and save the Jews. Having succeeded to bring about Haman’s downfall, Mordecai and Esther declare the celebration of Purim to commemorate the Jew’s victory over their enemies.
Mordecai was the ultimate underdog, but it’s what we don’t see that is happening behind the scenes as God uses him to bring about the Jew’s triumph over adversity. It is Mordecai, not Esther, who is mentioned in the last chapter of this book. In the final verse there is a familiarity that captures the essence of what makes this underdog story so great. “Mordecai, the Jew, was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.”
Like all good underdog stories Mordecai wasn’t looking out for himself. He was focused on others and was being led by God to help bring about a change for the Jews. Who’s your favorite underdog?
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Is God calling you to speak out for injustice? Is there an area where God is leading you to serve? Take an ounce of courage this week and follow where God is prompting you to make a difference.
Heavenly Father, thank You for men and women of the Bible who are great examples of stepping out in faith to follow Your prompting. Help me to be more willing and obedient to Your call. Train my ears so they can discern Your calling. I am Your obedient servant. Here I am send me.
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