by L. Mudrak
Today I’m writing about the story of Esther, who was a queen. She had been appointed queen during the reign of Xerxes, (in some texts Ahasuerus) and she hadn’t revealed what her nationality or family background was. Her “royalty” came in later, however. King Xerxes’ right-hand man, Haman, had decided the Jewish people would be killed. Esther was a Jew, but she was queen. Here was her chance to be bold.
Now Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, was deeply saddened by this edict and decided that Esther needed to do something about it. It was her “job” to save the Jews. This story is in Esther 4-7. You can read all of the book of Esther in a short amount of time if you would like to read the whole story.
“All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approached the king in the inner court without being summoned, the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” Esther wanted to remind Mordecai what the rule was.
Mordecai replied, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house, you alone of all the Jews, will escape. 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 that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
The pressure is really on Esther because she knows that what Mordecai said is true. There is no safety from Haman, who is out to destroy all the Jews. She knows she needs to step up and help her people. Now that’s a burden!
Esther tells Mordecai to have the people fast, along with her, and she will go to the king. “And if I perish, I perish.” That is bravery most of us don’t have.
Esther dressed in her royal robes and stood in the court to approach the king. He favored her and liked the way she looked, so he extended his gold scepter. It was going to be okay to speak to him. The king said, “Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”
Esther has a banquet and the evil Haman comes along with the king. Here is where her bold request is made. “If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life–this is my petition. And spare my people–this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.” When the king asked who was behind this, Esther revealed that it was Haman. He knew, at that point, that he would now die. In fact, he was hanged for his evil plan.
The Jews were spared. Esther’s life was spared. God intervened for them through her courage. This is also where the tradition of Purim, a joyous feast on the fourteenth of the month of Adar (Hebrew calendar) happens every year. The Jews were spared death, and celebration of it is still held today.
Have you been bold enough to step up and speak up for those who are being abused or threatened? Have you stood up for a child who is hungry or isolated in this world? It will take the nerves of Esther to do it. Some things are easier to stand up for than others. We are all responsible for those around us–the poor, the elderly, the abused, the neglected, and the sick. If you see something that you know is wrong, you just can’t stand there and do nothing. Now is your chance to act–as Esther did.
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” God will give you the strength you need. God will hear your plea. God will help you be bold when it’s needed.
I’m putting on my Esther robes….