Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Esther 4 v 4 - 17

Again, I'm still mega busy so sorry for the lack of normal blogs! However, here is the next instalment in the Esther series.

Esther 4 v 4 – 17
4 When Esther's maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.
    5 Then Esther summoned Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.
    6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king's gate.
    7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews.
    8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to urge her to go into the king's presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.
    9 Hathach went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said.
    10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai,
    11 All the king's officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold sceptre to him and spare his life. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.
    12 When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai,
    13 he sent back this answer: Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape.
    14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?
    15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:
    16 Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.
    17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther's instructions.

Esther 4 v 4 – 17
So last week we heard about the law passed that meant that all the Jewish people would be killed. We heard of the confusion and mourning that was going on amongst the people and this week we see Esther’s response.
(Verse 4)
As queen, Esther was not told about anything outside the palace that may cause her to be unhappy. This meant that she wasn’t told about the law that had been passed and was therefore very surprise and confused to hear of Mordecai’s mourning. In response, she sent him new clothes to try cheering him up. Not unlike how we tend to offer people cups of tea to cheer them up. She had no idea what had been ordered and so was very confused and distressed by her cousin’s behaviour.
(Verses 5 – 11)
When Mordecai sent back the clothes, Esther sent back a personal servant to find out what was troubling him. Hathach found out the problem and Mordecai sent back a copy of the law so that Esther would be in no doubt of what had been ordered. This wasn’t because he didn’t think she would believe him but to make sure that nothing would be lost in the passing on of information.  With this, he sent a request: Go to the king and beg for mercy and plead for the Jewish people.
This was a very risky request. If things had stayed as they were, it was unlikely that Esther would have stayed alive as she was not known to be a Jew. However, this request meant that she had to put her life in the hands of the king’s mercy. In Esther’s day, even the queen could not enter the king’s presence without being called for and if she did appear uninvited, unless the king extended his golden sceptre to show that he was happy for her to be there, she would be put to death. Her choice was between saving her own life and losing the lives of the Jews or risking her own life to save her fellow Jews.
Esther’s reluctance is understandable in this situation and there is no doubt that she would have been very scared! Similarly, we can be scared of how people may respond to our beliefs and be afraid of standing up for our faith. However, we should pray to God to be with us and remove our fear. There is no reason to fear people if we are on God’s side!
(Verses 12 – 14)
Mordecai’s response was firm but fair. He had confidence in God that he will, somehow, bring deliverance for the Jewish race whether Esther acted or not. However, he also suggested that Esther had been put where she was by God for a time like that. He saw how God could have been working for the good of the Jewish people by putting Esther in such a dangerous position.
Although Mordecai didn’t mention God specifically, it is clearly implied that he believed that Esther’s becoming queen had been God’s plan all along so that she would be in a good position to help her people when the time came and that time was now! He told her with urgency that she must act and it was clear that he fully believed that everything happened for a reason.
Remember, we too may have times that initially don’t make sense and we don’t understand why they have happened. However, if we trust God, he will use these situations for good and eventually reveal to us why we have gone through what we have.
(Verses 15 – 17)
Esther listened to Mordecai and her first request was for her people to pray and fast for her as she would be doing also. I know it only says ‘fasting’ in the passage but the whole point of fasting was to spend time praying to God rather than getting distracted by trivial things like preparing food. When people fast, it shows that they are truly earnest in the cause they are praying for, to the point of coping with hunger and thirst so they can dedicate that time to God and prayer instead.
Of course, fasting is hard and takes a lot of dedication but that doesn’t change the fact that prayer is very important. How can we expect God to help us through difficult times if we never ask God earnestly to help us, assist us, and comfort us? God likes for us to turn to him and talk to him and he also has the power to help us. God’s wisdom is perfect and although he may not help us in the way we want and expect, if we ask he will help us in the best way. Like Esther, we should turn to God first, not last, and pray to him whenever we have hard decisions or are going through tough times.
Once three days of prayer and fasting was over, Esther said she would go to the king. She said “If I perish, I perish” showing great resolve to make the stand and leave the outcome in God’s hands. She trusted God with her life and her trust was with God, nothing else.
We are now left with a bit of a cliff-hanger and next week we will find out the king’s response to Esther’s uninvited visit.


Current book I'm reading:  'Friends like these' by Danny Wallace
Listening to music? If so, what?: ALL CAPS' Nanowrimo song appropriately enough!
Last thing I watched: A youtube video... not sure which one...
Current NaNoWriMo count: 28,424
Words left to reach the daily goal of 2000: Urm, I'm even more than just a bit behind so it's a bit more complicated than that! I'm 11576 behind the cumulative count for today... yeah....

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