New International Version (NIV)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery
For Such A Time As This
"Political Leadership and God’s Sovereignty”
from the Book of Esther
By Darell Mortalla
Many believers today plaintively cite the increasing breakdown in moral values and the rise of atheism and other anti-Christian worldviews to point out that the tide of world events has turned against God and His people. I believe that our failure to use political leadership to preserve and advance our beliefs has put us in this difficulty. Using the Book of Esther, I state unambiguously that we must stop sitting on the fence and start using skillful political leadership as a tool in actualizing God’s sovereignty over His world if we are to survive the persistent attacks against our faith.
Esther’s story tells us that political leadership is not used primarily for what’s right or wrong but for getting what you want (1:13-22). We can bash Xerxes over his treatment of Vashti, but he was the king and he was skilled at getting what he wanted using a consensus among the powers that be. Used like this, political leadership can severely damage those standing against what powerful people want, so it makes a lot of sense to hide what can be your liability (2:10, 20) and ingratiate yourself with the power brokers (2:8, 9; 2:21-23; 5:3-8).
Consequently, if we do not use politics to benefit us, our enemies will exercise political leadership to destroy us. Not everyone will treat us nicely because we ooze with kindness for all mankind, and even our routine practice of faith can incite hatred in others (3:1-4). Alas, some of those enemies will seek no less than our annihilation (3:56)! Like Daniel, Mordecai offends Haman because of his religious practice of not bowing to anyone except God. Haman goes over the top and acts not only to punish Mordecai but to destroy all Jews. When things go this far south, how then must God’s people exercise political leadership to save the day?
For believers, the effective use of political leadership requires the confluence of at least four factors. First among these is consistency with God’s sovereignty (4:13-14). We need to be crystal clear about God’s will for our dire circumstances. Mordecai believed it was not God’s will that God’s people become extinct, so he opposed Haman’s political machinations. God showed His approval by rendering Xerxes sleepless, leading to Mordecai’s unexpected but timely ascent over Haman. Xerxes got what he wanted through influence, but Mordecai got it because it was also what God wanted. Newsflash: God is not dead or impotent just because His name does not appear in the credits.
Complementing this consistency with God’s sovereignty, there must also be the timely use of influence (7:3-6). Esther risked her life to draw nearer to the center of political power, served banquet after banquet, while she slowly but surely fortified her status with Xerxes, and patiently waited for the right moment. While Haman got what he wanted by paying for it in silver, Esther got hers through the most effective use of kitchen diplomacy in all of Scripture. Her actions remind us that women can be formidable wielders of political leadership.
This tag team exercise of political clout between Mordecai and Esther rippled into the unity of purpose and action among all the Jews (8:17; 9:2) as they prepared to fight for their lives. They shared the same feelings of sorrow and joy at their plight, but it did not stop there. The final nail was the permanent and complete disempowerment of their enemies (7:10; 9:1, 13-16). The Jews showed the other nationalities and ethnicities that they were united in their fight and that the fight was for selfpreservation and not material aggrandizement by refusing to claim the plunder. We learn that while the primary use of political leadership is to get what you want, we can use it to establish God’s sovereignty even in highly dangerous situations if we unite in purpose and action to gain supremacy over our enemies.
If our culture is dissing our faith, it is because we have failed to use political leadership to ensure that others respect what we believe. We are at fault, but the good news is that we can do something about it. Instead of surrendering to what appears inevitable, we can use the tool of political leadership to change our culture, not necessarily to enrich ourselves, but at least to preserve our faith for the succeeding generations. In doing so, we also remind the world that a silent God is not a dead God.
It is not too late. Our current situation is not as bad as the one the Jews were in. We are exiled but by choice, and we are not enslaved. I am convinced that if we followed the blueprint of Esther’s story, we can still turn the tables in God’s favor. How do we succeed? The Book of Esther underlines that the desired outcome of political leadership is the realization of God’s sovereignty to the ultimate good of His people (8:5-6, 10-13; 9:18-19). That is what we must aim and strive for.
Engr. Darrell Mortalla served as IVCF staff worker in Southern Mindanao for many years before moving with his family to the US. Darrell presently teaches Mathematics and lives with wife Lula and only daughter Myrell in Brownsville, Texas. Myrell describes her dad as her “go-to guy” and her first love.
by Lilia Salazar-Nigro
Update & Prayer Request
Here's the data on Balikatan Conference 2014 attendees:
New York - 14
Ontario Canada - 7
California - 5
Florida - 4 adults, 1 kid
Virginia - 6
Maryland - 1
Illinois - 28 adults, 3 kids
South Carolina - 2
Minnesotta - 3
Washington DC - 3
New Hampshire - 1
Indiana - 2 adults, 2 kids
Michigan - 2
Vancouver Canada - 1
Total: 79 adults & 6 kids
Let's surround BC14 with prayers.
Balikatan is now accepting new/renewal of memberships starting 1 April 2014. Click here to join/renew
Introducing: Christy Jutare
The new IVCF Philipines National Director
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I am a computer engineering graduate from Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila. I am 42 years old and happily married to Jeff Viterbo. I joined IVCF-PUP, Sta. Mesa, Manila (Kalasag Christian Fellowship) in college and participated in the LCDC camp and the Day of Prayer. I came to know Balikatan through Ate Lheng Salucop Vasil........more>>>