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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Bowing the Knee (Esther 3)

Whether we are thinking about current day or 2,500 years ago, the world will always try to tell you who or what you are to bow down to. Each of us has to decide for ourselves where the line is. If you are a follower of Jesus, where is your line?

The book of Esther is an interesting story. It's setting is Persia after King Cyrus had issued a decree that the Jews could return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. Many Jews chose to stay in Persia rather than return to Israel. Mordecai and his younger cousin, Esther, were in the group of Jews who stayed in Persia. Persia, in Mordecai's time, was now under the rule of King Ahasuerus (aka Xerxes the Great).

King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, an Agagite, to 2nd in command in the kingdom and commanded that all were to bow down and pay homage to Haman. Most obeyed this command except Mordecai, a Jew.

Esther 3:2,4 All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage. Now it was when they had spoken daily to him and he would not listen to them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew.

Mordecai by stating that he could not bow down to Haman as a Jew was not trying to show disrespect to a government official or disobey the law; he was simply obeying God.

Exodus 20:3,5 [3] You shall have no other gods before Me. [5] You shall not worship them or serve them;

Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men."

But Haman was furious. How dare this Jew not bow down to him. Haman was so enraged that he convinced King Ahasuerus that all the Jews needed to be exterminated.

But surely that's not something that would ever happen today, right? Surely we would never see Jews or Christians hated because they are unwilling to bow the knee to anyone but God? Actually modern history and even current events around the world tells us we are still fighting this same battle today.

It's a fine line. As a follower of Jesus, I need to do everything I possibly can to show love to all people, regardless of their beliefs. I need to pray diligently for both those around me and for my government officials to turn to Jesus. But there is also a line as a follower of Jesus which I cannot cross. I must only bow the knee to Jesus. I must "obey God rather than men." And I must do it in the most respectful and loving way possible.

As time goes on and we get closer to the end of the church age, the world will turn into Haman trying to exterminate both the Jews and the Christians who are not wiling to bow the knee to anyone but God. But just like in the story of Mordecai and Esther, God has a perfect plan of redemption and we can trust in His plan.

Dear Lord, If I wasn't spending time with You in Your Word, I wouldn't realize when I am being asked to compromise my faith, to bow the knee to someone or something other than You. Thank you, Lord, for the guidance You give me daily in Your Word. Lord, please guide me in how to show Your love and grace while never compromising my faith and making sure I am only bowing the knee to You and obeying You in all things.

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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