The die is cast,. The decree signed by the king has gone out to every province and fear and grief strike home in Susa. Mordecai ‘tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went into the midst of the city and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry.’ (4.1)
He then went to the entrance of the king’s gate but he could go no further (v.2) dressed as he was. The same outpouring of grief was replicated across the provinces.
But there was in existence a line of communication into the palace for Esther’s ‘young women and her eunuchs’ kept her informed of what was going on among the people.
Although queen she was not party to what the king was doing so she sent Hathach to find out and the following information was brought back to her.
Mordecai told Hathach all that had happened, the precise details of Haman’s promise of money for the king and furnished him with a copy of the decree to be explained to Esther.
But there was something more!
Mordecai commanded Esther to go into the king ‘to beg his favour and plead with him on behalf of her people’ (v.9)
At this point Esther drew back. She had not been called into the king’s presence for thirty days and to enter without being called resulted in death unless the king held out the golden sceptre.
Mordecai’s response brings us to one of the great challenges presented in the pages of God’s Word.
“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?” (4.13-14 ESV)
Her response was:
“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.” (4.16)
Everything was at stake and Esther responded in humble submission to her guardian and the result we know but that is for the next instalments!
For today though the same challenge confronts God’s people, strangers in the world, as were Esther and her people in Persia at that time in history. They were under threat and salvation lay in the hands of Esther who has been described as a ‘mere slip of a girl’ albeit elevated, without her seeking it, to high office.
There she had a choice. Do nothing and let her people perish or lay her own life on the line in the hope that the decree could be overturned.
All men and women are under sentence of death for all are sinners and ‘the wages of sin is death’ Romans 6.23 but there is a way to life for
`God did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all’ Romans 8.32
but as Paul asks in Romans 10.14
‘How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?’
Is that why you, the reader of these words today, are where you are?
The situation is just as serious, indeed more so as the eternal future of man and women, young and old is at stake.
Will you balk at the risk or follow the example of Esther?