READ: Esther 4-6, Psalm 148, Luke 15, 3 John
AGAINST THE LAW
Our palaces cannot protect us. There is no retreat from the advance of evil, for evil breeds within and evil is spirit that cannot be barred by physical gates. Mordecai warns Esther that she should “not think in her heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews…and if you remain completely silent at this time…you and your father’s house will perish” (Esther 4:13-14). Our countries will not protect us from the advance of Islam. Homeschooling does not protect us from worldliness. The church bubble does not protect us from humanism. If we are not proactive, we will perish.
God’s action sometimes requires us to act contrary to convention at cost to ourselves. Esther realizes this when she sends a message to her cousin Mordecai saying, “I will go to the king, which is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” (v. 16). When salvation is on the line, God’s law trumps man’s. We don’t stop witnessing in Muslim contexts, even if that violates a law. We don’t stop giving out bibles in communist countries, even if that violates a law. We don’t stop calling sin what it is in the West, even if that violates emerging hate speech laws. We don’t make our survival the aim, even if our actions jeopardize our position or our safety. If we perish, we perish. We take our objection to the powers that be, even if our objection is against protocol, even if by objecting we die.
We think mission is only for the salvation of others–which it certainly is–but our own souls are also at stake. To not obey God’s great desire is to damage our own heart. We disobey at peril to our own spirits, and our own house. When we disobey, God is not at a disadvantage [for relief and deliverance will arise from another place (v. 14)]. When we disobey, WE are disadvantaged.
C.S. Lewis points out that God commands praise, not because He is insecure (He is altogether unlike us), but for our own good. In the natural world we praise what we enjoy. Good food, great athletes, beautiful creation, all are verbally praised. In fact, enjoyment is consummated by our praise. When we praise God, our enjoyment of Him is completed and we are fulfilled. It is the magnanimity of God that commands us to praise. When we praise Him, we are fulfilled, and when we praise Him together, our fulfillment is broadened.
Thus it is in times of peril and in perilous mission. Mission is about the worship of Jesus–not because Jesus insecurely needs the feeble affirmation of man (Lewis likens our praise of God to the barking of his dogs at his books) but because all peoples need the praise of Him! Every person from every people was created to enjoy God. When they enjoy God, they are completed. The peoples of earth are to praise Jesus, for in praising Him their life joy is fulfilled. We therefore live against all laws that would hinder the completed joy of mankind. If we perish in the obedient pursuit of their completed joy, we perish. The joy of all peoples in Jesus is something worth dying for.