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The Message of Hope

"And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews" (Esther 8:3).

A New Decree Needed

Although Haman is dead, the sentence of death still hangs over every Jew in every part of Persia's domain, including those in Jerusalem. The decree he sent forth that Jews may be slain on a certain day is still in effect, and nothing could be done to change the decree. Even the king could not change the law. That presents a real problem. What is the solution?

Esther makes it quite plain to the king that the judgment against Haman is of no avail unless something is done to save her people. "Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew … write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring" (Esther 8:7,8). Mordecai now acts swiftly to draft a decree allowing the Jews to "gather themselves together, and to stand for their life" (Esther 8:11).

The original decree is not altered in any way. It cannot be. It stands. But now another decree is made and sent out just as the first one was, signed by the king. This changes the entire picture. When this new decree comes to the Jews, their hearts are filled with joy and gladness.

God's Righteous Decree

This is probably one of the most wonderful pictures of our salvation in Scripture. God has sent out a decree. It says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4). This does not only refer to certain people on skid row or some criminals; it refers to everyone. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).

We like to think that the problem is somewhere else, in someone else's heart, but it is right in our own hearts. Out of the heart proceed all the evil things (Matthew 15:19). Men are sinners and need a Saviour. Many people don't like to hear that. But it is God's decree, and it stands unalterable. It means eternal death to ignore it.

A Decree of Love

But thank God, another decree has gone out from the throne of God. It is: "Be ye reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20). You do not have to do anything to soften God's heart. His heart is already soft toward us because Jesus has already paid the penalty for our sin. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). What can we add to what Christ has already done?

God has a way to save sinners. You are not good enough to go to heaven, and you never will be. You and I have to come to Him and accept His salvation that provides for us a perfect robe of righteousness. Christ gives us His righteousness—you cannot improve on that! God has to work you over. God puts it this way, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23). It is through hearing and believing the Word of God that we are born again and our lives are changed.

I don't talk to people about "committing their lives to God" as if they had something to commit. Do you think He wants your old life? My friend, He wants to give you a new life. He wants to regenerate you. He wants to save you. The decree has come out, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). If you put your trust in Jesus Christ, who died for you and rose again, you will be saved!

The Jews in Esther's day had to recognize that a decree had been made to destroy them. They also had to believe that the king was on their side and had issued another decree to save them. We too must believe that the King of kings is on our side. I am an ambassador for Christ, and, therefore, on behalf of God I must say to you, "Be ye reconciled to God."

—From Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther by J. Vernon McGee. Copyright 1991 by Thru the Bible Radio.