An Unyielding Grief
Esther 4:1-3
When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes…

I. THE SUFFERING CAUSED BY ONE EVIL ACT CANNOT BE ESTIMATED. It was easy for Haman to draw up the instrument of destruction, and for the king to let him affix his signet to it, and then for both to sit down to drink; but very soon through that easily-performed act thousands of families were plunged into an agony of terror and grief. One sin committed lightly may extend widely, and descend to many generations in its disastrous effects. There is no calculating the issues-of evil. The chief enemy to the happiness of men is man, through the evil that is in him. "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn."

II. A RELIGIOUS VIRTUE MAY BE BROUGHT TO SPECIAL SUFFERING BY GIVING OCCASION TO THE MALEVOLENT WRATH OF AN EVIL MIND. We can understand how Mordecai, when he learned the diabolic scheme of revenge which Haman had set on foot, should have been almost unmanned by his horror and grief. Was not the decreed slaughter of all his countrymen the result of his own conduct towards Haman? This thought would bite into his soul. Israel might have been in safety and peace but for him. Of all the griefs awakened by the king's proclamation, Mordecai's would be the greatest. See here -

1. How grief varies in its outward manifestations. To us Mordecai's behaviour may seem wild and unreasonable. But in the East such signs of mourning were the rule, and even amongst Western peoples wailings in times of bereavement are not uncommon. Real sorrow is glad to embrace any outlet that may ease its inward burden. Differences of temperament also, as well as of custom, have much to do with differing expressions of grief.

2. How deep grief kills every sense of danger. Mordecai raised his "loud and bitter cry in the midst of the city," and at length seemed about to enter the king's palace, when he was reminded that sackcloth was not allowed to show itself there. Such conduct was very bold; the king and his favourite were set at nought by it. But it must be attributed to the fearlessness of a profound grief which could not but tell itself forth in spite of consequences.

3. How vain the attempt is to enclose any spot or circle of human life from the inroads of suffering. Esther's elevation to the throne did not make the happiness secure which it brought to herself and Mordecai. Neither did the foolish law that prohibited sackcloth or any sign of mourning from entering the king's gate prevent the intrusion of sorrow into that guarded sanctuary of ease and lust. Many hope to avoid grief by avoiding its signs and scenes, and by surrounding themselves with all that is pleasant and joyous. But the hope is vain. Whatever may be their success or failure, there is one visitor which cannot be warded off. Into every palace and cottage alike death perforce enters, and brings its own solemn gloom. Every human life, however resplendent in worldly attributes, must in the end succumb to that assailant. Happy the soul that possesses the life eternal, God's gift to men in his Son, which swallows up death in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

III. GODLY PRINCIPLE SHOWS ITS STRENGTH BY REMAINING FIRM IN PRESENCE OF ANY SUFFERING WHICH IT MAY BRING ON ITSELF OR ON OTHERS. Amidst all his grief and fear Mordecai never entertained the idea of withdrawing from the stand which he had made against Haman. We find him some time afterwards still maintaining his erect and defiant attitude, and thereby increasing the malignity of the favourite. His example is a noble one, but it is not singular. Our Lord himself forewarned his disciples of the sufferings they would have to endure for his name's sake (John 16:1-4), yet he calmly pursued his course, and laid on his followers all the burden of his cross. Nor were his apostles unlike him. Taking up his cross, they freely laid it on others. They were never weakened in their labours by fear of the persecutions, cruelties, losses, and deaths which resulted from the reception of their gospel. If we do our duty to God we may safely leave results in his hand. Mordecai's firmness in obeying religious principle at all costs ultimately taught him and others this great lesson. - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;

WEB: Now when Mordecai found out all that was done, Mordecai tore his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and wailed loudly and a bitterly.

The Irregularities of Human Conditions
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