We’re at the halfway point in our study of Esther: Trusting God’s Plan. Open your Bible to Esther 4 and join us—even if you don’t have a copy of the Bible study, this post still applies to you! —Samantha, LYWB.com blog content manager
The Jewish people were sitting ducks. Haman was bent on destruction. The law restricted Queen Esther from approaching the king without being summoned, and King Xerxes had a hot-headed temper.
This is the situation in which Esther found herself.
Mordecai pleaded with Esther to courageously act on behalf of God’s people. That is to say: Mordecai asked Esther to risk immediate death.
In the midst of difficult circumstances, it’s hard to see what God has planned, but Mordecai and Esther’s response to a life-threatening edict paints a picture of what it looks like to cling to God’s promises in the midst of a crisis.
First, they grieved.
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. (Est. 4:1–4)
They expressed godly lament in response to the sin and evil they were facing. This reminds us that it’s not wrong to grieve your pain.
Then they declared faith in God’s promises. Consider what Mordecai said to Esther in verse 14:
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?”
Mordecai didn’t tell Esther that she was their only hope, but rather, he declared his faith in God’s covenant with Abraham. God will not allow His people to be wiped out. God could have used someone or something else to rescue His people. But maybe this was why Esther has been chosen as the queen at this time in history. Maybe it was her time to do something.
Rooted in God’s promises, they acted in faith and wisdom.
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. (Est. 4:15–17)
Esther asked her people to join her in a three-day fast. This was a declaration of their humble dependence on God. She trusted His providence so much to bravely say, “If I perish, I perish.” She had come to the point of total abandon and surrender to God’s purposes.
Wisdom in the Waiting
When Esther entered the king’s inner court and he extended his scepter toward her, she wisely did something that’s incredibly difficult to do in the middle of a crisis: she waited.
On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, in front of the king’s quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.” And Esther said, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.” (Est. 5:1–4)
Esther stood steadfast in a risky place. She didn’t present her case immediately in an effort to end the ordeal as soon as possible. She rested in God’s providence.
In this waiting period, she allowed God to arrange more details.
Movement is occurring on two levels. On the divine level, God is restraining Esther from speaking what’s on her mind, because He is still working behind the scenes. On a human level, Esther seems to realize it’s not yet the right time. Her restraint, patience, and wisdom is truly amazing. (Esther: Trusting God’s Plan, 61)
We’re so quick to duck away from pain. We want the escape hatch to relief. But that’s not what Esther did. She entered a scary place, and she stayed there for a little while. She bravely trusted that God would continue to give her favor in the king’s eyes—and He did! (I am so curious to know what inspired the king to hold out his scepter to her, but we can leave that mystery up to God’s providence.)
Esther allowed God to create the circumstances that would halt Haman’s plan, rather than attempting to change the tide on her own.
Her steadfastness in God’s promises, her bravery, and her wisdom blows me away, and I would love to develop character with those same qualities.
For Such a Time as This
No matter the circumstances we’re facing, Esther and Mordecai’s unflinching faith reminds us that it is possible to face hard things in dependence on God and His timing.
If you’re tempted to despair today, if you’re wondering if God has any purpose for you at all, if you’re ready to give up and walk away, hear this: it’s not by chance that you are where you are today at this time and place.
You + this position + this time = God’s providence
You are not a mistake. Your life is not a hiccup. Yes, sin breaks things and makes us hurt and messes us up. But God sees every detail that’s going on in your life, and He has a purpose for you today.
Just like Esther, God has placed us in our homes, our jobs, our culture, and in this time of history on purpose for a purpose. May your eyes be opened to His purpose for you, in “such a time as this,” so that you may help to further His kingdom. (Esther: Trusting God’s Plan, 50)
Let’s Dive Deeper
Grab your journal and think about what God has given you and entrusted to you to fulfill your purpose for His glory:
Then watch this week’s Women of the Bible video with Erin Davis, Dr. Venessa Ellen, and Betsy Gómez:
Keep studying! This week, dive into Week 5, and we’ll be back to discuss what comes next in the story next Wednesday!