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Sackcloth and Ashes

"When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out to the city wailing loudly and bitterly.” – Esther 4:1

In Esther Chapter 3, King Xerxes raised up Haman. As a result of his new stature, Haman commanded that everyone bow down to him. Mordecai, however, refused. Shortly thereafter, Haman convinced King Xerxes to enter a decree. After Mordecai learned of the decree that all Jews be killed by a specified date, his heart sank. He was brought to a moment of emotional and spiritual weakness due to his impending death. He knew this was a time that he didn’t have any answers on his own. Instead, this was a time for Mordecai to draw nearer to God.  The sackcloth and ashes that Mordecai exchanged his clothes for were a symbol of apology and mourning.  

God allows some things to happen as a way of opening our eyes. Have you ever had a situation in your life where God called you nearer to him? A time when your spirit was broken to the point where you weren’t sure it could be repaired? Situations of homelessness, adultery, death, unemployment, or illness can sometimes catch us off guard. The times when gut-wrenching heartaches were upon you. Those are the times when we are to draw nearer to God and listen for His still small voice. God uses many of those situations to bring light to a dark place. To increase awareness of our wrongdoings, those both in thought and in action. To strengthen the weakest parts of us.  

How do you handle those times? Do you become a hermit and hide until God seeks you? Do you seek out God with your whole heart? Mordecai knew that he needed God’s grace and guidance in that very moment and was not afraid to make a public display of his needs. The same can be true for you. Know that you are never alone. Push pride aside long enough to know you can come into agreement with. There’s someone out there with the same pain. When God says so, be ready to repent and share.

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