When we talk about whether we're allowed to "fight back" against God or not, whether living by faith simply requires us to accept whatever we think He throws our way, this is hard for a lot of Christians. We've been raised on a doctrine that "God is in control" and "God does whatever He wants because He's wiser/smarter/stronger/more glorious than us." And we've been taught that we should just be thankful for that.
Besides, much like the Jews in the exile, we have this understanding that the King has signed these orders, that they are somehow official. It's an edict with His own mark on it. What can we do?
And while it's true that God is in control and that He can do whatever He wants, we must be a people - of faith - who hold even these understandings accountable to the heart that God has revealed to us from the very beginning, from the very first breath. We must hold the notion of God's control accountable to the truth of God's love.
I don't know what the Jews thought of the King. I don't know how much they even really knew about him. Maybe it was a surprise to them to see such an order signed with his ring. Maybe they were shocked that the king they thought they knew would sign off on something like this. Maybe it was completely out of character for what they understood of him.
Maybe there were whispers in the kingdom that Xerxes had lost his mind. That something was happening to the old man.
We get a little bit of a glimpse into the character of him when Esther talks about what it would take for her to be willing to go into his chamber and speak to him. There was a rule in the kingdom that no one came to the king without him calling them, and if they did, they were beholden to however he would respond. If he held out his scepter, he received them, and all was well. If he did not..., well, bad things would happen.
Esther said there was no way that she could go into the king; he hadn't summoned her. In fact, he hadn't summoned her in a long time. She might not even have been sure what was going on in the king's realm of things . The only thing she knew was that she was his wife and, at least at one point, he loved her. He probably still did.
Here's where we see a little bit of the king's heart. (Remember when I said that even minor characters have something to teach us? Here is a king who teaches us about God.) Esther, after three days of prayer and fasting, goes into his throne room, unsummoned. And what she finds there is not a king drunk on his own power who is offended by being disturbed.
No, she finds the king who loves her and is gracious to receive her presence. And I suppose this is not a huge surprise to Esther; she knew Xerxes loved her. She knew his character. She knew his heart.
Sure, there was always a chance he was a power-hungry, self-absorbed, authoritative sort of guy, but Esther knew there was more to him than that; she'd lived it.
So it is with us and God. At every turn in our journey of faith, we should expect to find a King who loves us and is gracious to receive our presence. That shouldn't be a surprise to us. He has revealed to us His character; He has revealed to us His heart.
Sure, there's always a chance He's a power-hungry, self-absorbed, authoritative sort of God, but if you've known Him, you know there is more to Him than that. He is, at His core, love. He is, at His core, grace.
And if that's not what we see of Him, if that's not what we receive of Him, if those aren't the things that He is doing in our life, then we have every right to "fight back," to press in, to hold Him to His own standard of goodness.
He's okay with that.
We should be, too.