Scripture

Esther 4:9-17

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.”

17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

Reflection

In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). One of the great challenges of life is identifying what time it is. Being mindful of the time we’re in as individuals and as a people is critically important. The gift of discernment is a treasure. Esther has to decide if she is the one God has called to be a liberator. Is this her time? If it isn’t, Mordecai reminds us, it'll be someone else’s then. God is faithful. God’s promise with Israel is an everlasting covenant. He will not let them be completely destroyed. Esther believes God has called her. She is the one. Whether she lives or dies, she will try and save her people. What time is it? What does this season mean for you? What is God calling you to do? What is he equipping you for? 

Knowing what time it is is important but it isn’t enough. Once we know we must prepare. Every kind of season involves different kinds of preparation. If we’re going to fully embrace the time we’re in and fulfill our calling, then we must faithfully prepare. Esther acknowledges she is the one to go before the king and risk her life but it won’t be before she and all of the Jews who are in Susa fast for three days. Fasting helps us focus and hear from God. In order to have the strength to confront the king, Esther needs the power of the King of Kings. We don’t walk this journey of faith alone. God is with us. “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”(Matthew 18:19-20). Esther is united with her people asking God together for deliverance. What is it you’re preparing for? How is the training going? Have you asked others to come alongside you and prepare with you?      

Prayer

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise (from Psalm 51).