Mordecai was a Jew. The king’s decree against the Jews would bring about his death. This was Haman’s intention. When Mordecai and the other Jews throughout the Persian Empire heard about the king’s decision they fasted and wept. Mordecai mourned openly about the fate of his people.
When Esther heard of Mordecai’s distress she sent word to him hoping to learn the cause of his anguish. One of her servants returned to Esther with a copy of the king’s decree against the Jews. The queen was given word of Haman’s role in bringing about this murderous plot. Mordecai also sent his instruction to Esther that she go before Ahasuerus and plead for the lives of the Jews.
Esther sent her initial reply to Mordecai that she could not do what he requested. Approaching the king without his summons was extremely dangerous. If the king chose not to hear from her she could face death as a reward for her boldness.
Mordecai’s word back to the queen provided a very necessary rebuke that changed Esther’s mind. Had Esther forgotten that she was a Jew? Did she imagine that all her people would die but that she alone would be allowed to live? Mordecai expressed his own certainty that if the queen missed this opportunity for courageous service, help for the Jews would come from someone else. What would become of Esther if she did not obey Mordecai’s instruction? “You and your father’s house will perish.” Mordecai concluded with this word of hope: “Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
This was a good word from a true friend of the Lord’s covenant people. Esther heard Mordecai’s instruction and responded appropriately. She only asked that a three-day fast be organized among the Jews before she approached Ahasuerus. Why would an entire group of people deny themselves food and drink for three days? They had to believe that the Lord their God would see their earnest tokens of mourning and that He might move the heart of the king as only He could do. Esther was resigned to accept the consequences that could come from her action. “I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”
Esther would be a savior of her people at the risk of her own life. That required much determination and courage. She could not know whether she would live or die. When Jesus came to save us He knew for certain that He would die. His death was necessary according to the ancient Scriptures. He asked His Father if there were any other way to achieve the Father’s good plans. He added the words “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Esther’s settled determination to go before the king was a Jesus moment. Her courage prepared us for His much greater display of bravery.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father, what can we do to express our grief concerning the persecution of Your church throughout the world? We mourn in Your presence for the attacks against Your kingdom. The details of the plans of the wicked are deeply disturbing to us. We bring our plea for help to You. We know that we have a duty to pray for our brothers and sisters who are in distress. Help us to do this work with diligence. We will not keep silent. Perhaps we have come to the kingdom for such a time as this. If we perish at the hands of Your enemies, we perish. Our bodies and souls are always in Your hands, and we trust You.