Well its a whole new world since I posted last week. The grocery shelves are bare in bread, milk, eggs and toilet paper. We’ve been told not to leave our homes unless its necessary. Schools are closed, resturants and small businesses are closed. Our calenders have been cleared of concerts, sporting games and many, many other things we had been looking forward too. And friends this may just be the beginning. Its easy, very easy when we see our worlds change like this to give into the fear all around us. It is a real qualified fear. But I’ll say it again, God did not call us to live in fear. We should submit to authority. Do what’s being asked of you to stay safe, but don’t live in fear and worry.
Esther gives us a good example of how we should face these unprecedented times. She, like all of us, had a calling on her life and instead of shying away from it she faced the possibility of death to save her people. Esther was an orphan and in the care of her uncle Mordecai. They lived in Persia during the late 1400’s B. C.
The king of Persia, King Ahasuerus, held a very fancy banquet and during the banquet his wife, Queen Vashti also held a banquet. On the seventh day of the banquet the King commanded that the Queen come before him and his guests wearing her royal crown to “display her beauty before the people and officials for she was lovely to see,” (Esther chapter 1 verse 11) Queen Vashti refused and as a result Ahasuerus made a decree that Vashti was no longer queen and could not come before him. After a time when Ahsuerus’s wrath subsided the king decided to look for a new queen and comanded all the young virgins in Persia to join his harem to receive beauty preparations and then be presented to the King. Esther was one of these virgins.
Now I’m quite sure like the crono-virus was not part of our plan for our lives, being in the king’s harem was not part of Esther’s plan for her life. She was a devote Jew, we can see that through the way she handles what comes ahead. She probably had her own plans. But she submitted to authority and under the instruction of her Uncle Mordecai not to tell anyone she was a Jew. Esther went.
We find out that God showed her favor. He protected her. Hegai who was in charge of the harem gave her extra beauty preparations and 7 maids then transferred her to the best place in the harem. When she was presented before the king, God caused King Ahsuerus to fall in love with her and pick her to be the next queen.
Enter our nemesis Haman. One of the King’s men who was over all the officials of the kingdom. Esther’s Uncle Mordecai who sat at the royal gate daily refused to bow down to Haman and pay homage to him when he passed, as was required. When Haman saw Mordecai would not bow down to him he found out Mordecai was a Jew and became determined to kill all the Jew’s in under King Ahsuerus’s reign.
Haman approached King Ahsuerus and convinced him of a plan to kill all the Jew’s since they follow their own laws. A decree was sent out, by Haman’s hand, to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews including women and children. My Amplified Bible says this decree went out on “the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of Adar, or on March 7, 473 B.C.” I love that it’s so exact. I also find it interesting that we are in March now.
Mordecai found out about the decree and sent word to Esther. He also I might note tore his clothes and put on sackcloth before doing this, in prepration for mourning. Jews as they found out about the decree all did the same it says in Chapter 4 verse 3. “There was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing and many lay on sackcloth and ashes.”
Esther was fearful when she received word of the decree from Mordecai. Her first response was to send clothes to him. She wanted to protect him. She didn’t want others finding out that he was Jewish. When Mordecai refused to wear the clothes. Esther sent the King’s eunuch Hathach to find out everything from Mordecai. Mordecai told Hathach everything that had happened and gave him the text of the decree to give to Esther. Esther’s first response was to do nothing. She said that if she approached the king without being summoned and the king did not welcome her by holding out his scepter she would be put to death.
Esther was afraid and a bit hopeless. But Mordecai then told her “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews in another place and you and your father’s house will perish (since you did not help when you had the chance.)” Esther chapter 4 verse 13-14. Then Esther replied with her famous words, “If I perish, I perish,” (verse 16) Now she did ask all the Jews to to fast for her for three days and three nights.
Are you afraid and a bit hopeless. Does this epidemic seem to big for you to wrap your brain around. This was too big for Esther to wrap her brain around. So she took a minute. Three days and prayed and fasted. At the end of three days God gave her a plan. Fasting is something not a lot of us do anymore. I never did until a few years ago. If done right, It brings you closer to God, it toughen’s you up a bit and it allows you to spend more time hearing his voice. I believe during Esther’s fast God gave her the idea to have a banquet with the King and Haman.
Esther was bold enough to approach the King and by God’s grace he extended his scepter and promised her half the kingdom. She asked the King and Haman to the banquet which both accepted. Haman, still furious at Mordecai, had a gallows built 50 cubits high that he planned to hang Mordecai on.
Meanwhile that night the King couldn’t sleep and asked that the book of records be read to him, probably to put him to sleep. While the book was being read it was discovered that Mordecai had reported that Two of the King’s doorkeepers had planned to attack the king. The King realized he had never honored Mordecai for the report. Haman was outside the door ready to ask the king if he could hang Mordecai when the king called for him and asked him how such a man should be honored. Haman, mistakenly thinking the King was talking about him said. “let a royal robe be brought which the king has worm, and the horse on which the king has ridden and on whose head a royal crown has been placed. Let a noble official dress the man whom the king delights to honor and lead him on horseback through the open square of the city proclaiming before him, “This is what shall be done for the man whom the king desires to honor.” (Esther Chapter 6 verse 8-9).
The king then ordered Haman to do all of this for Mordecai. Then Esther’s banquet came and she during dinner revealed to the king that Haman planned to kill her and all her people. As a result the King had Haman hung on the very gallows he built to hang Mordecai. Then the King made a new decree that allowed the Jews to assemble and defend the lives, to destroy and kill and annihilate any armed force that might attack them and to take the enemy’s goods and plunder. And they did. The ten sons of Haman were killed, along with 500 men in Susa. In Esther chapter 9 verse 16 it says that 75,000 were killed who hated the Jews. Because Esther was submissive to God and obedient to him and brave enough to face the King, all things were turned around for good.
We need to be brave in these times. God may call us out to do something uncomfortable or scary. Its important to remember we have a God who its turning things for our good even if we can’t see it right now. I’m sure Mordecai couldn’t fathom being lead around the city in the Kings robe while Haman was building his gallows but it happened. Remember God can turn it around for you too.
Have a prayer request or need? I’d love to pray for you, leave you request in the comments below.