Esther 4

Esther 4

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Esther Agrees to Help the Jews

When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He went up to the entrance of the king’s gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth. And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.

When Esther’s young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was. Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate, and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him on behalf of her people. And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”

And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 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.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

(ESV)


Esther 4 Commentary

by Hank Workman

Sometimes we are called to make hard decisions.  Sometimes we are compelled to speak truth or confront where loss of relationships is possible.  Sometimes we are called to act upon something that places us way out of our comfort zone and the risk is great.  But what if we found ourselves in this position by providence?  What if God had orchestrated us to be the one who would speak or act or risk it all?

What would you do?  How would you respond?  Would you risk it all?

The storyline of Esther comes to one of the first great fork in the road moments.  The decree went out to kill all the Jews within the 127 provinces.  Mordecai filled with unspeakable grief goes into mourning by even the clothes he wears, the ashes upon his head, the sorrow tangibly shown.  Queen Esther, who by her role and being away from the public eye had word of this but could not meet with her beloved relative due to cultural roadblocks.  Correspondence flies back and forth as she learns of what has been decreed by the King (as far as she knows), what is about to happen to her people.

The problem Esther had was access to the King had to be by his request.  In a man’s world, she could not freely enter into her husband’s presence without him asking for it.  Persian rule was strict and if she ventured before him without a summons, she would be killed.

Mordecai challenges the Queen with strong words.  “If you don’t do anything what makes you think you will be protected?”

He adds, “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Stop a minute.  In regards to all you’re doing, the calling you have burning upon you, the way you feel something has to be said or done or whatever – what if you are in this same position for such a time as this?  What if God is bringing all things to a head for you to be the one, the one He’s chosen to speak up, act out stand boldly?

What would you do?  How would you respond?  Would you risk it all?

The fork was in the road.  There was an immediate decision at hand.  But her response to her next move is what we must take to the bank.  As Esther responded to this pressing need before her, so must we.  She calculated the cost of even acting.  She realized her life was at stake and something needed to be done.  Her priorities were laid out through what she would do next.  In a very important move – we see she prepared for what she felt compelled to do.  She gathered support from people, she fasted.  She prayed.  Finally, she determined her course of action.  This wasn’t putting the most risky thing off but upped the ante of her commitment and knew she had to do something.

As has been stated here the past chapters, the sovereignty of God is inter-playing within this story.  He is in control, not man.  But this fork in the road called her to act – and the acting was required and couldn’t be put off long.

Look, God chooses to work through those who are willing to act for Him.  As the famous statement goes, “We should pray like it depends on God and act like it depends on us.”  We can’t do everything – but we can’t do nothing either.

What are you currently facing?  Where may you be feeling called to confront a hostile audience?  What about challenging a friend on some subject that you would rather not have such truth talk?  What within your family is in need of change but you’re afraid of how your mate may respond or not accept the issue being addressed?

This difficult situation you have been placed in may be for such a time as this.  As Esther’s example shows the steps to take before the scariest moment of her life, what is your next step along these lines?

The fork may indeed be in the road.  How will you move from here?


Esther 4 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

“…if I perish, I perish”

Don’t miss these words. Don’t gloss over them. I know maybe you have read them before when you’ve studied this story, but take a moment and let that thought sink in.

If I lose my life, then I lose my life. This is what Esther has decided. In other words, her obedience to God is more valuable to her than her own life. Just think about that! She is willing to risk her life to save others. The stark contrast between the King and Esther illustrates for us the attitude of those in the world and those in the Word.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  13  “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:12-13 NASB

What happens when we face a situation where we potentially lose something very valuable to us if we stand on the foundation of Christ? Maybe it’s a job. Maybe it’s our family. Maybe it’s our life. Would we do it?

“Ahasuerus is the type of swollen self-indulgence, which always degrades and coarsens; Esther is the type of self-sacrifice which as uniformly refines, elevates, and arrays with new beauty and power. If we would reach the highest nobleness possible to us, we must stand with Esther at the gate, and not envy or imitate Ahasuerus on his gaudy throne.”

Alexander MacLaren

Faithful action is preceded by prayer and genuine courage. This is the key to the passage. Esther does not walk it alone. She engages her community in prayer and fasting. Yes, she has made up her mind she will follow through, but fear is a beast. There is no doubt over the next several days the “what-if” scenarios would amp up. Esther knew that it would be the dedicated prayers of her people that would light her path to obedience.

So, how is your prayer life? Are you engaging others or walking alone?

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