God’s silent handiwork in Esther becomes ever clearer in chapter 4 as we see how He, in His providence, places Esther in a position for a purpose — to save the Jews from annihilation. This is where the well-known verse can be found: “‘… And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’” (Esth. 4:14 ESV). But what I love about Esther is that God’s sovereign work isn’t too obvious. This series is called “Sovereign in the silence” for a reason.
If you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, I want you to keep reading. If you wonder where God is in your situation, this message is for you. And if you wonder if God is up to something in the silence of your daily life, I hope you find encouragement in God’s Word today. In fact, as you read this article, ask yourself, “How has God positioned me to make a difference for His glory?”
As chapter 3 ends with Haman’s outrageous plan to annihilate the Jews, chapter 4 begins with Mordecai’s desperation.
“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” (v. 1 ESV). Grieving the news, Mordecai and the Jews lay in sackcloth and ashes (v. 3). After offering Mordecai some garments (v. 4), Esther sends a guy named Hathach to hear what is troubling him (v. 5).
“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” (v. 6-8 ESV).
In response to Mordecai’s “command” to plead her case before the king, Esther explains the great risk involved in approaching the king without his permission. Unless the king holds out his golden scepter, the uninvited intruder is killed (v. 11).
“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?’” (v. 13-14 ESV).
Mordecai’s idea is certainly a risky one. But Mordecai sees something in Esther that she evidently doesn’t see in herself. And we all need people like that around us. In fact, we need to be Mordecai for others. As Landon Dowden writes, “Like Mordecai, we should encourage others to leverage their position of influence for the sake of the kingdom.” But it’s not easy. As Esther reveals, sometimes following God’s plan is super uncomfortable. Dowden further writes, “In what ways are we disobeying God by neglecting to do what we know we should?”
God has positioned Esther to make a difference for His glory. But God doesn’t leave her to accomplish this feat alone. I love the way Esther handles her decision to approach the king.
God’s Word says, “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” (v. 15-17 ESV).
Esther realizes she isn’t strong enough to do this alone. In her desperation, she calls on God’s people to fast for three days and three nights. Only then would she approach the king.
I’m not sure what God is calling you to do. I’m not sure what risk God is calling you to take. But God has you alive for such a time as this. And He isn’t calling you to do it alone.
You see, Esther acts as a mediator between King Ahasuerus and her people. But Christ is a better mediator. After all, in obedience to the Father, Christ lays down His life for the salvation of all who come to Him by grace through faith. As His people, we are kept from destruction. And now, by His power at work in us, we are strengthened to serve and obey Him no matter the cost. Let us draw upon the depths of God’s grace and trust Him to do through us what He desires for this time.