The Importance of Natural Law - It Does the Will of the King

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, June 25, 2014 1 comments

by Logan Ames

I think it’s safe to say that our culture is and always has been obsessed with the idea of kingship. Two of the most popular board games out there, chess and checkers, involve kings as the most powerful pieces. Popular movies and books involve kings or the quests of others to gain kingdoms. We have a popular fast food restaurant called Burger King whose slogan tells us what we all want to hear, that we can “have it our way”. As kids, we played a game called “King of the Hill” long before it was a TV show. A popular song from several decades ago was called “King of Rock”. Sports are no different. This month, the favorite in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals was the Los Angeles Kings and the best basketball player in the world, who also happened to play in the NBA Finals, is affectionately nicknamed “King James”. In other words, we give our attention to just about anything that has the word “king” in it. Ultimately, most of us probably wish we could be king or queen of something.

Stop and think about why that is. If you could be king or queen, what would be the best part of it for you? Sure, the money and material wealth would be nice. But I know for me, the thing I’d enjoy the most is getting to make the rules, not just for myself but also for all those under my authority. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. If you get to make the rules, then no one can tell you what to do and anyone who disobeys you experiences the consequences. It may at times seem like people are getting away with things they shouldn’t, but they always end up reaping what they sow because of the laws set by the king.

God’s natural law is certainly at work in one very interesting book of the Bible. I say that it is very interesting because God is actually not mentioned even one time in it. I’m talking about the Book of Esther, so named because it is the story of the rise of a Jewish captive girl all the way to queen of the powerful Persian Empire. Esther is not her birth name, but was given to her in captivity. Take time to read and familiarize yourself with the story. I will try to give some highlights, but there is so much I will have to leave out. Parts of the story will absolutely disgust you and even make you question why God would allow them. But let’s face it – sin is disgusting and sometimes the WHOLE picture is needed to see how God’s natural law is at work.

The story takes place after God has already allowed the Jews to be taken captive because of their disobedience. When the enemies of God and his people have the power, bad things happen. King Xerxes gets angry when the current queen disrespects him and essentially removes the throne from her. He then orders that all the beautiful virgins within his realm be brought to the palace, where they will undergo a year of beauty treatments just for the one night they will each go in and sleep with the king. The virgin who pleased the king the most would be named queen (2:4). I’m not going to sugarcoat this. Whether it was legal in that kingdom or not, this is rape. Esther was a captive girl whose parents had likely been murdered, and the only family we know of that she had left was her cousin, Mordecai. Now she was in a foreign land, controlled by those who do not worship God, and was forced to sleep with a crazy king. This is where many of you wonder how a loving God could allow such atrocities in the life of an innocent girl.

Let me say again that natural law says there are consequences for not obeying God. There is no evidence that Esther’s consequences were a direct result of her own sins, but what happened to her and many other innocent Jews was in fact a direct result of the nation’s disobedience toward God and his laws. But even in the midst of their oppression, God and his law were still at work. The king was pleased with Esther more than anyone else and he made her queen (2:17). She didn’t know it yet, but God was using her submission to the evil worldly authority and the wickedness of the captors to bring Esther into a position where she could save the Jews from being wiped off the face of the earth. Mordecai, also a captive Jew, enters the scene and we see that he sits outside the king’s gate. He uncovers a plot by the king’s officers to assassinate King Xerxes. Trusting that God is still in control over the whole thing, he tells of the plot rather than let the evil king die. His actions to save the king are written down, but nothing is done for him at the time. Instead, one of the king’s arrogant nobles, Haman, is honored. The king issues a decree that everyone kneel down and pay Haman honor, but Mordecai refuses. This enrages Haman to the point that he essentially becomes Hitler way before Hitler’s time. He seeks to kill all Jews and has a gallows built 75 feet high on which he plans to hang Mordecai. He makes a deal with the king and all of these evil plans are put into an edict.

Mordecai hears of the edict to kill all the Jews and asks for Esther’s help since she has been elevated to such a position. Esther initially expresses fear, knowing that even approaching the king without being invited is punishable by death unless he extends the golden scepter (4:11), which serves as a foreshadowing of Christ, who allows us to be spared from the wrath of the King. However, Mordecai shows his faith and dependence on the natural law of God, who promised to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel (Genesis 12:3). He tells Esther that if she chooses to remain silent, she will not be spared but “relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place” (4:14). What faith! Did God speak to him on this matter? It’s possible, but it seems to me that Mordecai just had faith that King Xerxes isn’t the TRUE King, and that the true King’s will is going to be done no matter what! His reminder of that truth spurs Esther to courage and heroism. She decides to go to the king, saying, “And if I perish, I perish” (4:16).

The rest of the story shows how God was in control even when it appeared that King Xerxes and Haman were. The king can’t sleep one night and asks an attendant to read him the record of his reign, probably to satisfy his vanity. In the midst of this, he is reminded of how Mordecai exposed an assassination plot. He realizes Mordecai was never honored and orders Haman, the very man who built a gallows on which he was to hang Mordecai, to pay honor to Mordecai. Haman is obviously upset and tells his friends and wife about it. Even they have begun to see that you don’t mess with the natural law of God. They tell him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him – you will surely come to ruin!” (6:13) They recognized that, even with all the wealth and power of the world, they were up against God and they had no chance. His purposes will be fulfilled no matter what!

The king grants Esther peace for all of her people and asks who had arranged to have them killed. When Esther reveals it was Haman, the king is filled with rage. Haman chooses to beg Esther for his life and in doing so, appears to be falling on top of her. The king then orders Haman to be hanged on the very gallows he had planned to use for Mordecai (7:10). It doesn’t end there. The king issues a new decree that authorizes the Jews using force to attack those who had planned to destroy them, and it “just happens” to be for the same day that Haman had originally had the king issue a decree giving them a right to kill the Jews. Wow! God might not be mentioned in the book, but the good and bad consequences related to those who adhere to natural law and those who don’t could not be more obvious!

Just in case you are wondering, King Xerxes was not spared his consequences. In terms of leadership for his people, he was a failure. His people were mostly destroyed by the Jews. His reign as king was then cut short by his assassination by one of his guards. The book ends with the telling of how Mordecai, who once put on sackcloth to mourn what was legally ordered to happen to all the Jews and sat at the king’s gate every day, was exalted to second in command of the entire kingdom. When trials and troubles were at their worst, the faith and courage of Mordecai and Esther rested on God’s promises and his natural law that determines what will happen FOR those who obey him and TO those who don’t. It should be a lesson for us in the world today as we look around and see the degradation and destruction of the world. It may seem like things keep getting worse, but our choice is still the same – to obey God or to go against him. If we disobey, God’s natural law says we can’t win, no matter what temporary comfort we receive. If we obey, his natural law says we can’t lose, no matter how desperate our circumstances seem. Let us remember that God is the true KING over all and his will SHALL ALWAYS be done.