Then Esther told Hathach to go back and relay this message to Mordecai: “All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.” So Hathach gave Esther’s message to Mordecai. Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him. Esther 4:10-17
CONSIDERI need a hero! I can’t even say those words without additional lyrics spilling automatically out of my mouth and a host of images popping into my mind in a matter of seconds, how about you? Whether it’s a fairy godmother, a caped superhero, or an 80’s vocalist, we all likely have an image of what a hero looks like to us. I wonder, does your vision of the perfect superhero ever look like the person staring back at you from the mirror in the morning? Many of us wish we had a superhero to bail us out of a myriad of rocks and hard places but rarely do we dream of BEING the hero. And with good reason. Take a moment to ponder your favorite superhero. While it might feel awesome to stand victorious with our fist hoisted high in the air and our cape flowing in perfect drapes behind us, at what cost do we earn that victory stance? What is required mentally and physically to earn the title “hero”? Would we have what it takes to make it happen? I am certain one young Israelite girl named Esther never imagined she might have to consider these things one day. Orphaned at a young age & raised by her uncle as a refugee in a pagan, foreign land, Esther was no stranger to hardship. I’m sure she didn’t realize she was in “heroine school” (Is this like finishing school or the newly popular mermaid school?!?!) as her faithful cousin Mordecai was raising her. But Mordecai clearly set a shining example of trusting God and His sovereign power. And, likely without realizing it, Esther had developed many qualities of a hero that would serve quite useful in her efforts to save her people from annihilation. Queen Esther had a choice. When Mordecai sent word to her about the great danger their people were facing, she could have simply tried to save herself. She could have kept quiet, just hoped for the best, or turned the other way. But she and Mordecai both knew that God had given her great purpose in her position. She was wise; she made a plan and didn’t stay stuck in fear or worry. She prayed and fasted, and she asked their people to do the same. She was willing to act, to follow God’s lead, and to save the lives of her people, even if it meant she might lose hers. Obedience to God’s call is vital. God will give us the courage to do all that He asks us to do. It may even have the power to affect an entire generation of people. We may never be fully aware of how our actions and faithfulness to His voice are working powerfully in those around us. We don’t have to stay stuck in fear. We don’t need to run from his leading, even when we feel incredibly unprepared or inadequate for the job. He will equip us for every task and will pave the way for us to walk through with His power, providing grace for every step and covering us from behind. Tucked away in Esther 8:3, long after Esther’s climactic approach to the throne in Chapter 5, we see that Esther came before the King a 2nd time. Funny thing about obedience…sometimes taking a step in obedience is hard. But when you do, the next steps seem to come easier until it no longer is the hard thing to do but the normal thing to do. While we may never be called to “save our people”, throughout our lives we WILL be placed in challenging circumstances and have to make difficult decisions that will have an impact on those around us. Whatever places of leadership or positions of authority God has given us in life, one thing is true: It was never meant to be all about us. Every part of our lives should point ultimately to God and His truth. We must decide throughout our lives: Will I take pride in my life, my accomplishments, and what God has blessed me with or will I walk in humility and allow Him to shine through it all? Mordecai and Esther both knew the key: “Less of me, more of Him.” Their willingness to live humbly before God allowed Him to work powerfully in saving His people from destruction. God’s name is not mentioned in the entire book of Esther, but the message in her story comes through loud and clear: God has the power to turn trials into blessings, even when flawed humans are involved. (Romans 8:28) In fact, even in the great story of salvation, God sometimes uses His greatest opponents to carry out His perfect will. God is always at work even when we can’t see the whole story. Even when things look uncertain. And that sets the stage for great things to happen (Esther 4:14). What is your “such a time as this”? What are you going through right now that might be hard? What is God asking you to do that is stretching your faith and obedience? May you find courage and boldness in Paul’s words from the book of Ephesians, Chapter 6:
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. Ephesians 6:10-19We already have a hero – no need to hold out!