Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help
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. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
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, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and 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.”
17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.
Which verse(s) caught your attention as you went through chapter 4 today?
In this short chapter, there is SO much. Let’s look overall what’s happening here. We see Esther hesitate about what to do and Mordecai remind her that even in the kings palace, she would not be safe. We see Esther make a decision to risk her own life for her people. Our application tells us that “her courageous act gives us a model to follow in approaching a difficult or dangerous task. Like Esther, we can, 1. calculate the cost, Esther realized her life was at stake (either way!) 2. Set priorities. She believed that the safety of the Jewish race was more important than her life. 3. Prepare. She gathered support and fasted. 4. Determine a course of action. She didn’t think too long about it, allowing the interlude to lessen her commitment to what she had to do.” What is a situation you may face where you could use this advice?
One of my favorite scriptures, with all it’s variations, is verse 14. I don’t believe in coincidences and I believe that we are all here in this exact time in history for a reason. That God intentionally placed us here. Just as he purposely had Esther in her position to accomplish his plan. “When you face challenges in life seek to know what God wants you to do, and then do it, confident that he will do his part. You don’t know ahead of time how he will accomplish his will. Trust God and prepare to be surprised by the ways he demonstrates his trustworthiness. What would it mean if we looked at every day as an opportunity that the Lord has given us to accomplish a part of his plan, that this is the time he placed us in history, what part do we play?
Let’s end our time looking at verse 16. I love how Esther tells everyone to fast and pray. This shows not only the importance of the spiritual discipline of fasting, but also the importance of community. It wasn’t just her and Mordecai praying and fasting, it was their community. I don’t believe God created us to face our battles alone, but rather he gifts us a community that can pray and be a support in the difficult times. I want to end reflecting on what our application tells us about this verse: “Save your own skin and watch out for number one are mottoes that reflect our world’s selfish outlook on life. Esther’s attitude stands in bold contrast to this. She knew what she had to do, and she knew it could cost her her life. And yet she responded, ‘If I perish, I perish.” We should have the same commitment to do what is right despite the possible consequences. Do you try to save yourself by remaining silent rather than standing up for what is right? Decide today to do what God wants, and trust him for the outcome.”
Heavenly Father, Lord, thank you for this example that Esther sets. Help us to have a posture like hers Lord in difficult times, help us to stand up for what is right, even when it is hard. Lord we want to do what you desire, help us to trust that you have gone before us and that you already know the outcome and will guide us there. Help us to live in the truth that you have placed each and every one of us in the world right at this very moment, this very specific time in history, for a reason. Help us to hear you and be courageous enough to act in obedience to help accomplish your will in this time. We love you and we trust you for what is ahead. In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN!