Lent Devotional: Esther 3-4
by Jonathan Haefs
Esther 3-4 (click here)
Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:13-16)
A murderous plot because of wounded pride.
This is what we encounter in the book of Esther. Because one lone Jewish man, Mordecai, wouldn’t bow the Haman, the enraged leader decided that all Jews must die. Through masterful manipulation and bribery, he received the permission he needed from the king, and it looked as though this story would come to a quick, bloody close.
But… God was at work.
Unlike any other book of the Bile, the name of God is never mentioned in Esther. Yet, God is so very present… providentially at work to save his people. Long before this evil plot was ever being planned, God placed Esther in the palace as queen. She was in a position to be a mediator on behalf of her people and take her plea to the king.
But… this was not allowed.
No one could see the king unless the he summoned them. To come into his presence uninvited would likely mean the death penalty. What would Ether do? God had clearly put her in this place at this time, but the laws of man seemingly tied her hands. Who would she trust? Who would she fear?
Esther called upon all the community to fast and pray… then, even if it meant her life, she would sacrifice herself for the sake of her people.
In Esther’s story we can hear echoes of the Gospel… echoes of Christ’s sacrifice on behalf of his people. Can we hear those same echoes in our own lives? When God calls you and I to sacrifice for the sake of serving and loving others… but man threatens us if we should follow… who do we trust? Who do we fear?
When we cannot see God at all, like his name is nowhere to be found, do we trust that he is still providentially at work. Does our voice unite with Esther’s to declare that we will follow God no matter what and if we perish, we perish!
God has called us to lay down our lives for the sake of our brothers and sisters… and so the world may know him. He has called us to be a cruciform community. Your life has been providentially planned to bring you to where you are today for such a time as this.