courage No Comments

     Our congregation just completed Vacation Bible School.  One of the lessons in our five-night VBS focused on the courage of Esther.  In the book of Esther, there are three outstanding examples of courage displayed by Vashti, Mordecai, and Esther. 
     What is courage?  Some believe that courage is the total absence of fear.  This is not correct.  Courage is “mental or moral strenth enabling one to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty firmly and resolutely” (Webster’s Third International Dictionary, 522).  Webster also states that courage is “firmness of spirit that faces danger or extreme difficulty without flinching or retreating” (522). 
     In the book of Esther, Vashti displays moral courage.  When commanded by the king, Ahasuerus, to show her beauty, she refused to appear before a drunken audience of lustful men.  The king was outraged.  Vashti lost her crown, but she retained her moral integrity.  She was not willing to compromise her principles to please the profane.  She risked her life to do the right thing.
     Mordecai displays religious courage.  After Haman was appointed to a high position in the Persian government, the king commanded that all bow before him and reverence him.  Mordecai refused to bow before Haman (Esther 3:2).  Mordecai refused to reverence Haman for religious reasons.  He refused to give a man the honor that belonged only to God.  He was not willing to compromise his principles to satisfy the command of the king!  This is courageous action.  He risked his life to do the right thing.
     Esther displays a devotional courage.  When faced with her own life and death situation, Esther did the right thing.  She and her people were in jeopardy because of the plot of the wicked Haman.  Haman secured an order from the king to destroy all of the Jews in Persia.  When Esther learned of the plot, she was called upon to risk her life to go unto the king.  She said, “If I perish, I perish.”  Her trust in God and love for her people prompted her to act courageously.  She risked her life to do the right thing.
     Haman turns out to be the only coward in the story.  Out of fear and hatred and moved by racial prejudice, he sought to kill not only Mordecai, but all of the Jewish people.  His plot failed and he died on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. 
     Three outstanding people were faced with life and death situations and prevailed through courage.  They acted courageously when they acted upon principle in the face of danger.  One person, Haman, was destroyed because of cowardice.  He acted cowardly based upon prejudice and lost his life. 
     When called upon to live by principle or prejudice, we should choose principle.  Principle, conviction and love will produce the courage necessary to prevail.  When necessary, we must do the right thing no matter what the cost to us personally will be.