Friday 6 June, 2014

Esther 4:1-17

4 Mordecai found out about everything that had been done. So he tore his clothes. He put on black clothes. He sat down in ashes. Then he went out into the city. He sobbed out loud. He cried bitter tears. 2 But he only went as far as the palace gate. That’s because no one who was dressed in black clothes was allowed to go through it. 3 All of the Jews were very sad. They didn’t eat anything. They sobbed and cried. Many of them put on black clothes. They were lying down in ashes. They did all of those things in every territory where the king’s order and law had been sent. 4 Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came to her. They told her about Mordecai. So she became very troubled. She wanted him to take his black clothes off. So she sent him other clothes to wear. But he wouldn’t accept them. 5 Then Esther sent for Hathach. He was one of the king’s eunuchs. He had been appointed to take care of her. She ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai. She wanted to know why he was so upset. 6 So Hathach went out to see Mordecai. He was in the open area in front of the palace gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him. He told him about the exact amount of money Haman had promised to add to the royal treasures. He said Haman wanted it to be used to pay some men to destroy the Jews. 8 Mordecai also gave Hathach a copy of the order. It commanded people to wipe out the Jews. The order had been sent from Susa. Mordecai told Hathach to show the order to Esther. He wanted him to explain it to her. He told him to try and get her to go to the king. He wanted her to beg for mercy. He wanted her to make an appeal to the king for her people. 9 Hathach went back. He reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then Esther directed him to give an answer to Mordecai. She told him to say, 11 “There is a certain law that everyone knows about. All of the king’s officials know about it. The people in the royal territories know about it. It applies to any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner courtyard without being sent for. It says they must be put to death. But there is a way out. Suppose the king reaches out his gold rod toward them. Then their lives will be spared. But 30 days have gone by since the king sent for me.” 12 Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai. 13 Then he sent back an answer. He said, “You live in the king’s palace. But don’t think that just because you are there you will be the only Jew who will escape. 14 What if you don’t say anything at this time? Then help for the Jews will come from another place. But you and your family will die. Who knows? It’s possible that you became queen for a time just like this.” 15 Then Esther sent a reply to Mordecai. She said, 16 “Go. Gather together all of the Jews who are in Susa. And fast for my benefit. Don’t eat or drink anything for three days. Don’t do it night or day. I and my attendants will fast just as you do. Then I’ll go to the king. I’ll do it even though it’s against the law. And if I have to die, I’ll die.” 17 So Mordecai went away. He carried out all of Esther’s directions.

The Jews were in deep trouble. The date was set for their annihilation. Mordecai knew that Esther was their greatest hope. What Mordecai asked of her was scary; entering the Kings inner court uninvited usually meant death. Mordecai’s response to Esther’s reluctance is significant in three ways.

1. He tells her that she will not escape death as a Jew simply because she is queen.
2. If SHE does not stand up for her people then God will save them by another means.
3. He suggests that God made her queen for this very mission.

Being in a position of influence is challenging, and costly when God asks us to stick our neck out. But not accepting the mission God gives you has down sides too, God will still achieve His plans but you will not be part of it, you will miss out on the opportunity to glorify Him and serve your people. As Mordecai says, this is often not the safer option. You also might miss your destiny, the vital role God chose for you, prepared in advance for you to do. How sad. I think that the joy of knowing that I am doing what God requires of me uniquely, is precious, exciting and worth chasing after.
Esther made a plan, but she knew it would not succeed without support from God’s people through their prayer and fasting in preparation. She doesn’t go it alone. God doesn’t ask us to go it alone, but gives us people to stand with us.

Lord help me to be brave when you ask me to do the hard things. Use me and don’t let me pass up your missions for regrets. Remind me to ask for prayer support from my Christian friends, that we all may see your glory. Thank you.


Written by Dimity Milne

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