SECURITY OF PHYSICAL LIFE
Recall that in the previous issue, I had touched upon the subject of "security," bringing to the fore the 'security' God provided in the lives of two devout women (Ruth & the Shunamite lady - I Kgs. 4: 8-37 & 2 Kgs. 8:1-6) in His own miraculous way, when these helpless ladies were up against what seemed apparently insurmountable problems.
You would recall that, in both these cases, the Bible does not even explicitly state that God's hand was there in deliverance of these women from their respective problems, so much so, there may be a temptation to attribute them all to pure coincidence or a stroke of fortune; however, for the spiritually discerning, His role would have been a bit too obvious to miss.
I would like to place before you two more cases of God's unique security pertaining to the lives of two devout men, namely David & Mordecai. Here again God's deliverance of these men from life-threatening problems would seem coincidental, but His hand would be a bit too obvious to miss for the discerning. So, what are those incidents in the lives of these men where God intervened miraculously? Let us go in a chronological order.
1. David (around 1000 BC): We all know the troubles, this King-in-waiting (before his ascension to the throne) experienced from an enraged, jealous King Saul, the incumbent of the throne of Israel, who was hell-bent on liquidating his potential competitor to his throne. For much of the time till the demise of King Saul, David was roaming the countryside as a fugitive fleeing from his murderous enemy (though David himself harboured no grudge against him, in fact two times he spared his life - I Sam. 24:7,8 & I Sam. 26:11).
In a lighter vein, one is reminded of the Tom & Jerry cartoon show whenever the story of David Vs. Saul is recalled. Just as Jerry would always escape the clasp of Tom, David would always, albeit very narrowly at times, remain out of reach of Saul's grasp. However, in the incident-yet another episode of Saul in David's pursuit-, David's time seems to be clearly up.
We will pick-up the action from I Samuel 23:19-26. Betrayed by men of Ziph (who leaked to Saul, David's exact whereabouts), we see David is once again on the run for his life with King Saul snapping at his heels. This time all escape routes seem to have been cut-off as verse 26 explicitly states: "Saul & David were now on opposite sides of a mountain. As Saul & his men began to close in, David tried his best to escape, but it was no use." Curtains, at last for David? NAY! Not by a long shot. Can the troubles of His dear ones escape God's notice? Never! Only that the timing of His intervention, which to our limited vision seems a trifle delayed is always perfect. Verse 27 states: But just then, a news, a message reached Saul that the Philistines were raiding Israel again, so Saul quit the chase & returned to fight the Philistines"… as his kingly duties required. Continuing to chase David, when a bigger problem loomed large before his nation, would mean his political popularity would nosedive, which populist Saul could ill-afford. In order that no one (especially his army which was with him at that point of time) would cast aspersions on his patriotism & his royal responsibilities, he was constrained to call-off the "Eliminate David operation," albeit temporarily. "Whew! That was a close one,"… we can almost hear David sighing. No wonder, David called that place, where he experienced God's deliverance 'Sela Hammahlekoth' which means 'Rock of Escape'.
Now, the news of Philistines raiding Israel that reached Saul just as he was closing in on David, was that a case of mere coincidence? No way! Rather, God's act of providential security to his dear one, David.
2. Mordecai (around 475 BC): This benefactor in Queen Esther's life (he adopted her when she was an orphan) who was also a government official under that Mighty Persian King Xerxes had a bitter enemy in Haman, the Agagite, whom the King had promoted to the post of grand vizier (modern day Prime-minister, virtually second-in-command to the King); the enmity stemming from the fact that Mordecai refused to make obeisance to the higher placed Haman on religious grounds (Esth. 3:3,4).
Before Haman's vengeful mood reached its boiling point (Esth. 5:9-14), culminating in his conspiracy to eliminate Mordecai, we should note that Mordecai had once exposed a plot to assassinate King Xerxes, which was duly recorded in the Royal chronicles (Esth. 2:21-23). Haman's conspiracy, on the inspiration of his wife & relatives, to eliminate Mordecai (by hanging him on the specially built gallows measuring 75 feet high) was quite simple. Being such an important part of the state's affairs, he was merely going to use the power of influence he wielded on the King by simply recommending (the first thing on the next meeting with the King) Mordecai's death by hanging. The King would no doubt oblige, considering Haman's personal equation with him. All very simple, it seemed, so much so, Haman had the gallows built to carry out his nefarious designs.
Everything planned to the last detail, what Haman, however, did not take into account was that God was overseeing the entire situation. He who protects His dear ones from dangers coming not only from the front, but from the rear too (of which we would not be even aware - Isa. 52:12) was not going to let the unsuspecting Mordecai (he never knew that he was next door to death) fall prey to the wicked scheming of Haman.
So what did God do? Let us once again pick-up action from the Bible… (Esth. 6:1-3). It says the King had trouble sleeping that night; hence, to give some exercise to his eyes (perhaps many of us in his place in modern times would switch on the TV) and, to pass time, he ordered that royal records be brought for his reading. There he comes across the incident where Mordecai saves his life from two royal conspirators & with sentiments of gratitude, instantly aroused in him, wonders aloud whether Mordecai was adequately rewarded for this life-saving act. Hey presto! Who should walk into the King's presence at that time other than Haman with his request seemingly ready on his lips to hang Mordecai, but with King posing a question to him, ''What should be done for the man, the King delights to honour?" His chance to put forward his evil recommendation is thwarted, at least temporarily.
Ever the egotist (it is joked that whenever an egotist goes to funeral, he is sorry that he is not the corpse; so deep is his craving to be the centre of attraction at all times), Haman quite naturally surmises that King is planning to fete him, hence comes with a befitting recommendation to that effect stating, "Let him be robed in royal clothing, let him be carried in a royal horse in a stately parade through the streets with a very high noble prince leading & heralding the way." Haman would have frozen on his tracks when he heard the King retort, "Go at once & do all that you have recommended to Mordecai the Jew who sits at the King's gate." So, in utter frustration, the Bible says Haman (sic) did just that (v. 11). What a turning of the tables! How God frustrated the evil schemes of wicked Haman & saved the life of His precious Mordecai! But notice where it all began, in verse 1… "That night the King had trouble sleeping…." This paved the way for the rest of the events to occur, as they did.
This restlessness of the King in the night, just before Haman was to carry out his evil plans; was that a case of mere coincidence? NO! Not by any stretch of imagination. It was yet another providential act of God providing "security" to His precious ones, just when they needed it.
Later, in the seventh chapter of Esther, we see God's judgement finally catching up with Haman; he is hanged in the very gallows he had built for hanging Mordecai, with Mordecai going on to replace him in the King's court. The very definition of poetic justice, if there was one!
Dear friend, that's our God for you, the omnipotent, omniscient One. Nothing escapes His notice. He is always on the lookout to come to the aid of His precious ones, ever willing to put His protective hedge around them. Shouldn't we trust Him for providing security to and in our lives? It would be foolhardy, not to!