Faced with the annihilation of the Jews, Queen Esther was concerned for her own safety in approaching the king. We see here that God does not include us in his plan because he has no other options. Esther’s obedience has more to do with her future than Israel’s…
1 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.
4 When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.
6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him…
8 he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people. 9 Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
Esther 4:1, 4-7, 8-16
When Mordecai finally sent word to Esther to share that there was an edict to annihilate the Jews, Esther was concerned for her own safety in approaching the king. Entering the king’s presence uninvited was punishable by death. Tough crowd.
What would Esther do? The king, at that time, did not know Esther was Jewish. Would she risk her life to expose herself for the sake of God’s people? We often focus on ourselves in these moments and consider what is best for us: personal safety and well being can trump concern for others when the going gets tough.
Mordecai provides a prophetic word to Esther in her thought process. Esther will not escape just because she is in the palace. If she remains silent, Mordecai tells her that she and her family will perish. In addition, if she doesn’t stand up and be counted, God will raise up deliverance for the Jews from another place.
Holy Wow. Lest we think we are that important, we see here that God’s inclusion of his people in his plan is not because he has no other options. God would deliver the Jews in this situation because he loves them and has a plan for them.
Esther’s obedience has more to do with her future than Israel’s.
Her response frames the right context for our obedience in times such as this. She would only approach the king after her brothers and sisters fasted for her. Esther was submitting her step of faith to God. She realized that she may perish, and she reconciled that her death would be worth it for the sake of the Jews.
Most of us will never be in such a situation, yet there will be many opportunities to be counted in smaller ways in our lives. Put the well being of others before yourself. Step out in faith and in obedience to God. Realize that God’s choice to use you is not his only choice. It’s an honour and a blessing and a faith building assignment…