What Esther Teaches Us About Doing Hard Things (Come, Follow Me: Book of Esther) – powered by Happy Scribe
One of the most beloved Bible accounts is that of Esther.
You’re familiar with the basic story?
The King of Persia was looking for a new wife, and Esther, a Jewish orphan, was selected to become the new queen.
Everything was going well until Esther’s uncle Mordecai refused. Used to bow down before Haman, the king’s highest official.
Haman learned that Mordecai was a Jew and determined not only to kill Mordecai, but to persuade the king to issue a decree that all the Jews in the kingdom would be killed. Neither Haman nor the king knew that Esther was a Jew, so the king, at Hayman’s insistence, proclaimed that all the Jews in his kingdom should be killed on an appointed date. This caused deep anguish for the Jewish people, including Mordecai, who mourned outside the palace. Through one of Esther’s servants, esther learned of the decree that the Jews would be killed. Mordecai told Esther that she should go to the king and beg for her people to be spared.
Esther explained to Mordecai that the rule was, you don’t approach the king. You wait for him to contact you. Kind of like, don’t call me, I’ll call you. Except the penalty for approaching the king without him calling for you was death. In other words, Esther told Mordecai, I’m not as powerful as you think I am.
I can’t just approach the king. He’ll kill me. Consider Mordecai’s response to Esther. He said, if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall their enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this. Note how Mordecai had complete faith that the Jews would be delivered.
He didn’t say, Esther, you’re our only hope, and said he expressed his confidence that one way or another, deliverance would happen. That’s an important message for us to remember. Deliverance may or may not come today, and may or may not come in this life, but through Jesus Christ, ultimate deliverance will come. We do not need to be afraid. Mordecai’s final statement, Esther, also merits pondering.
He said, who enos whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this. In other words, Esther Mary have become queen at this time for this purpose, to save the Jewish people. As I was reflecting on this phrase, it struck me that maybe the time Esther had been called to wasn’t one she wanted. While we often assume that Esther was excited to apply for the job of queen, the scripture says that she was brought or taken to the palace. Is it possible that Esther didn’t want to go to the palace?
She was an orphan and a descendant of those who had been carried away captive into a foreign nation only a couple of generations previously. Perhaps she was terrified the day she was taken into the palace. I wonder if Esther had been doing her best one day at a time. And now she finds herself in a very difficult position, a place where she never wanted to be. Mordecai tells her, who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
And Esther says, I didn’t ask to be here at this time. Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you have been brought to some challenging circumstances in your life. You might face intense trials with health, family members, finances, loneliness, or other difficulties. Maybe you say, I didn’t want any of this to happen to me.
And the Lord says back, this is part of a divine design in your life, you’ve been brought to the circumstance. Now what will you do at a time such as this? Esther sets the example for each of us by being bold and faithful in very difficult circumstances. She told Mordecai, go gather together all the Jews that are present in the city and fast for me. Neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day.
I also in my maidens will fast likewise. And so I will go in unto the king, which is not according to the law, and if I perish, I perish. What a powerful phrase. If I perish, I perish. Esther’s words remind us of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abandoned, who in essence said, we know that God can save us, but if not, we will still believe.
Because of her faith and courageous action, esther went to the king and saved her entire people. While you and I may not need to risk our physical lives, we might have to make other types of sacrifices to accomplish God’s will for us in our lives. Even and especially when we stand at difficult crossroads, I pray that Esther’s determination to do God’s will, no matter the cost, will burn brightly in our hearts when we each come to our own time such as this.