I recently re-read the Bible story about Esther, and am amazed at the grace with which Hadassah, later named Esther, seemed to adjust to the many changes she had to face. Exiled with her people, she was left an orphan at a young age, raised by an apparently older single cousin, forced to become one of the king’s many wives, then called to risk her life asking the king to spare her despised Jewish people from annihilation. This remarkable woman obviously had a lot more going for her than just beauty. It seems through all these experiences she grew to know and trust God, and move forward with amazing faith, strength, and courage!
After Mordecai commanded her to plead for the lives of their people before the king, the Bible says Esther feared for her life, as any of us would. When Mordecai admonished her with his famous words—“who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”—Esther immediately called for a three-day fast. She also made a commitment to Mordecai, and to God, saying, “I will go to the king, which is against the law, and if I perish, I perish!”
It is clear that in her fear, Esther’s first thought was to seek God’s special help, pleading with Him through fasting and prayer, plus asking all the Jews in Shushan to join her. From that place of fasting and prayer, God let her know what to do, God imbued her with all the faith, strength, wisdom, and courage she needed to face her dreadful challenge.
Prophets and Kings says on page 601, “The crisis that Esther faced demanded quick, earnest action, but both she and Mordecai realized that unless God should work mightily in their behalf, their own efforts would be unavailing. So Esther took time for communion with God, the source of her strength.”
God worked several miracles that were perfectly timed before Esther presented her request to the king: she postponed her daring question until the night of a second banquet, the king could not sleep after the first banquet, the specific chronicled story of how Mordecai has saved the king’s life was randomly picked to read to the king, and at the exact time the reading was completed and the king desired to honor Mordecai, was the very moment Haman came in, which miraculously prevented Haman from requesting the death of Mordecai that day.
Esther could not know how everything would work out, but her steady faith kept her moving forward step by step, choosing to seek, listen for, trust, and faithfully follow God’s lead as her only hope and course of action.
As we sense mounting unrest and evil in our world today, I think we need the same faith, strength and courage God provided for Esther. I believe now is the time to make prayer and study of God’s Word as urgent a priority as in Esther’s time. Our battles are different, but no less serious or important.
God can do the same for you and me today as He did for Esther. “Who knows whether you have come to [your circumstances] for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
Juanita Edge, Communication Director