But Mordecai bowed not. Esther iii. 2.
THERE was stern stuff in this old Jew. He was not going to prostrate himself before one so haughty and so depraved as Haman, albeit that he was the king’s favourite. To be the only one in a city office that does not laugh at the questionable story; to stand alone on shipboard against the gambling mania; to refuse to countenance cleverness which is divorced from cleanness, and genius which is apart from goodness this is to do as Mordecai did in the gate of the king’s palace.
Only God can give this power, since of ourselves we are as reeds shaken by the wind. Sooner might a single ear of wheat resist the breeze that bends all its companions in the same direction, than we stand alone, whilst all our associates bow, unless God Himself enable as. But God is prepared to enable us. Listen: “I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” But the mistake we are so apt to make is to brace ourselves up by resolution and firm determination, in anticipation of some impending struggle. To do this is to fail. Live in Christ, look up into his face, derive from Him strength for the moment and at the moment; and often wrap about thee that exceeding great and precious promise, “I will make him to become a pillar in the temple of my God; and he shall go no more out; and I will write on him the name of my God.” Oh to stand pillar like amid men, bearing up the temple arch of truth, and inscribed with God’s name, whilst the crowds go and come on the pavement beneath!
“Greatly begin! though thou have time
But for a line, be that sublime
Not Failure, but low aim, is Crime!”