Of course, you know who I am thinking about this morning: “Esther’s cousin, Right?” Wrong!
Well, half-wrong. It is another Mordecai who first grabbed my thoughts today. He is mentioned in the book of Ezra as one of the 50, 000 or so returnees who came back from exile to rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. Whilst he returned, the other Mordecai, the more well known one, stayed.
Why did the less well known one return to the land of his fathers? Well the Book of Ezra tells us the answer. The very first verse tells us Cyrus issued a decree that the people of God should return and build a house for the Lord because the Lord had stirred up his spirit to do so. The same cause is given in verse 5 as to why 50,000 returned, including the lesser known Mordecai. The Lord stirred up their spirits. He did not stir up the spirit of Esther’s cousin.
Use your spiritual imagination. If the two Mordecais knew of one another how did they regard one another? Perhaps they did not understand one another, perhaps their different course of action confused one another or maybe they accepted that for reasons they could not fully know or understand both may have been in the will of God. For sure, we can certainly be thankful one returned to build. We can be equally thankful that the other Mordecai did not return but looked after Esther.
Christians sometimes do not understand how God has led other Christians in a different direction from them. One is led to leave a church another is led to stay. Severe conflict can arise and accusation fills the air as Scripture verses are used both sides of the argument or conflict. Please be clear I am not talking about conflict between those who honour Scripture and are faithful to Jesus and those who don’t. I am talking about differing roads taken by true God fearing and Bible honouring believers and the suspicion and distancing Satan loves to sow into that ground.
Let’s learn from the 2 Mordecais. Something of God’s glory and purpose in the face of the earth would have been lost if there had not been that different response to the same situation. I used to not understand why the more famous Mordecai had stayed. I used to think he was a backslidden Jew as was Esther. They had not bothered to return. They were too settled in an idolatrous world and did not want to lose earthly treasures. Ezra chapter 1 verse 5 made me reassess and see things differently.
I hope some day in the future this post may come to mind and help you to stay free from unnecessary conflict with other true believers when they follow a different course of action than you in the selfsame situation. Thank God there was a Mordecai in Jerusalem. Thank God there was a Mordecai in Persia.
Sometimes even these lists of names the Old Testament delights in stir up interesting thoughts! Perhaps the two Mordecais will even help us not to insist there is only one way for Christians to speak and act in the face of the Coronavirus! Even there I see we Christians can’t hide our propensity for fighting one another or at least putting one another right and grading one another’s faith and character.