The First 15

Wednesday May 20, 2020

by First Methodist Mansfield

Violence Begets Violence


Esther 9:1-10

1 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them. 2 The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them. 3 And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them. 4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.

5 The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. 6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. 7 They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.


Passages like these are difficult for me to interpret. It’s hard to know what I, Shea Reyenga, am supposed to receive from these violent words. And yet I believe wholeheartedly that God has something for me and you here. All of scripture is God breathed. Even the parts that are hard for us to apply to our lives. It isn’t clear whether or not God is pleased by the killing. Throughout scripture and all of human history, we see over and over again how violence begets more violence. The power of sin and evil that Jesus came to destroy includes violence. The reality of violence in our world is another testament to the creation groaning as in the pains of childbirth (Romans 8:22). What, then, are we to do with many of the passages where it appears God not only allows violence but endorses it?

I’m in no way fully equipped to answer that question. There are many mysteries God has given us to remind us that we are creatures and not the Creator. In the words of the late Rich Mullins, “We must be awfully small and not as strong as we think we are.” We know the fullness of God is revealed in Christ. If we want to approach any difficult text in scripture it must first and foremost be through the fullness of God that has been revealed to us. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19-20). Ultimately, we know this is God’s will for the world. Whoever believes in Jesus and faithfully follows him is forgiven of their sins and set free to live an abundant life in the Spirit now and forevermore.

Prayer for Today

Prayer (on YouTube)

The Lord bless you
And keep you
Make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you
The Lord turn His
Face toward you
And give you peace

May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And their children, and their children

May His presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
He is with you, He is with you

In the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you

The First 15

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