Bible Insights

Mordecai’s Plea

Psalm 176 from Beyond Psalm 150

There are two versions of the book of Esther. The shorter version, found in most—but not all—Protestant Bibles, is based on the traditional Hebrew text.

The expanded version of Esther, found in most other Bibles, contains five additional passages as found in the Septuagint, the collection of Scriptures commonly used in Jesus’s day and which he quoted from.

If considering these additional passages from Esther disturbs you, skip this post. Or continue reading to explore what you might learn about God from the Bible’s other psalms.

After Mordecai learns of Haman’s plan to exterminate the Jews, he communicates the plot to Esther, and they plan how to proceed. Mordecai will gather the Jews in the city to fast for three days.

Then Esther will approach the king, though without an official summons she risks execution for disregarding protocols.

Mordecai then pleads with God in prayer and requests deliverance. Mordecai’s prayer parallels Psalms 17, 86, 90, and 124.

“O Lord, you are the Lord and King of all creation, and everything obeys your commands. If you wish to save Israel, no one can stop you. You made heaven and earth and all the wonderful things on earth. You are the Lord of all, and there is no one who can stand against you. You know all things. You know, Lord, that when I refused to bow to that arrogant Haman, it was not because I was arrogant or trying to impress people. I simply did not want to honor any human being more than I honor God. I refuse to bow to anyone but you, my Lord; and this is not because of pride. If it would help to save Israel, I would be willing even to kiss the soles of his feet.

“And now, O Lord, God and King, God of Abraham, spare your people; save us from our enemies. They are determined to destroy us; they are looking for a chance. Long ago you chose us to be your people and rescued us from the land of Egypt. Do not abandon us now.

“We are your chosen people, so listen to my prayer and be gracious to us. Turn our misfortune into joy so that we may live to sing your praises. Save us from death so that we can keep on praising you.”

Esther 4:19–27 (GNTA)

Reflections on Mordecai’s Plea

Sometimes our role is to act, like Esther. Other times our place is to fast and pray, like Mordecai—and Esther as well. Sometimes seeking God is the best thing we can do.

What we want to avoid, however, is acting on our own accord without seeking God first and moving under his power

  • When have we acted first and prayed only after things fell apart?
  • When have we prayed and then failed to act, even though we had the opportunity to do so?
  • When our role has been to pray, have we done so? Have we been content with that?

May we discern when to pray, when to act, and when to do both.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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