Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thoughts From a King

King Artaxerxes, in the twentieth year of his reign

It has happened again. I have once again become entangled in the fate of the Jews and not without some personal risk. Okay, I am king but helping these Jews could cost me the heart of my people. Jews are often hated by my people because of their haughtiness and their beliefs that seem to place them above the rest of the world. The first time, of course, was when I rescued my beautiful wife, Esther, and her people from annihilation at the hands of Haman. Now they have come again asking for my help. This time is different, although, in some ways, I am still be asked to save them. This is not death appointed to a certain day, this would be death that would happen any time their enemies attacked their fallen city, death when they could no longer defend and protect themselves. They not only lost the safety of their walls, they also lost their magnificent holy place, where they went to worship their God. I must say that it was beautiful. Covered in gold as it was it was nearly blinding when the sun shone. It was set upon a hilltop, a beacon to be seen by all. I have heard that the inside was even more glorious although I have never seen for myself. It was said to be filled with fine decorative pieces of gold and silver, the walls covered in the finest tapestries, their was the seven-pillared candelabra which gave light to the whole temple. There were two rooms inside of these walls. The second was the most important and revered part of the whole temple. This was the room where God resided. Their was the Ark of the Covenant with the golden throne shielded by the two golden angels. This was the throne of God. All of this inside of the city of Jerusalem. Although it was an important city to the Jews, when compared to other great cities of the world it was not that significant. It and the Jews had fallen and been captured and enslaved many times. Why would a God chose to reside in such a place with such inferior people? I will never know.
Now this city had been destroyed. Actually it had been destroyed many years ago and the people taken captive. My cup-bearer, Nehemiah, was a son of that city although he had been born elsewhere. I do not believe he had ever seen that city or many of it’s people because his birth had taken place after it’s fall. one day as he brought me my wine he had a frown on his face. Normally, he would have been punished, sometimes to the extent of death, for bringing his troubles before the king in such a manner, but for some reason, that was not to happen today. So, I asked him what the cause of his sadness was, since it could not be illness I knew, somehow, that it was a matter of the heart. For a moment he just looked at me. You could see the indecision and fear in every feature of his face. Then a peace visibly came over him and he replied that he was saddened by the plight of the city of the Jews. The walls had been completely destroyed and he would like permission to go back and rebuild the city.
This was an enormous request and the answer was not an easy one. On one hand, why not? He was just a servant and I had many more and this was a prosperous nation I could spare him some of that prosperity to rebuild the walls of a city. On the other hand, he is my Cup Bearer. That is a position that must be filled by one whom I can trust. I do not trust easily and I was not sure I would be able to find another like Nehemiah. Also, I would have to think of my people and those surrounding my nation. What would they say? Would it be worth the trouble? After all, how trouble was this Jewish city worth? It had already caused quite a bit and there would most likely be more if it was rebuilt. If I had helped rebuild it that could bring more trouble on me. Trouble which I did not need, my own kingdom caused enough of it’s own. I looked over at my lovely wife, who was seated beside, and she looked at me with her sparkling eyes which seemed to hold the mysteries of the universe inside them. I knew then that I would be doing whatever Nehemiah asked of me because it was not really Nehemiah asking it of me. These requests came from the mouth of the Almighty and were being spoken by my cup bearer. Although I do not know as much about Him as my wife does, I know that He has used people before to perform His miraculous deeds. Just think of my Esther. The similarities between these two seemed great. So finally I agreed to grant Nehemiah whatever he wished for the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Based off of the story in Nehemiah in the Old Testament

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