Esther: The Making of a Queen Day 5: Esther’s Courage and God’s Plan
Scripture reading: Esther 4:12–8:17
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?” 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.” (Esther 4:13-16, ESV)
If we were in Esther’s position, it is hard to argue that we would have been immediately ready to face the king on behalf of fellow Jews. In verse 11, we can practically hear the terror in Esther’s message to Mordecai; she knew that going before the king unsummoned meant possible death and she had not been summoned to him for a month. However, it took the wise and honest words of Mordecai, her beloved guardian, to challenge her to look at this crisis through an eternal lens.
Mordecai had full confidence that if Esther did not intercede for God’s people, God would bring them deliverance from somewhere else. Only her household would bear the shame and punishment for failing to use their influence to save the Jews. He also points her to the providence of God by asking, “Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” In other words, he wanted her to think about whether this terrible situation was not, in fact, the very answer to her question of why she had been chosen as queen. Had not God been working out every event up to this point? Why would He not then honor her faith at this critical moment? Esther’s courageous response is profoundly moving, as it was likely communicated in a breaking voice:
“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” (v16).
Esther resigned herself wholly to the will of God, she sought God’s voice and protection and urged her local faith community to join her, and she took decisive action to place God’s rule above everything else. Put simply, even when the circumstances around her felt impossibly hopeless and the cost felt impossibly high, she trusted in God and obeyed.
The king held out the golden scepter to his queen, Haman’s plot was exposed, Haman was hanged on his own gallows meant for Mordecai, and Mordecai was lifted into Haman’s high place in the kingdom. All that remained was for the destruction of the Jews to be stopped:
Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.” And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring…. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king’s service, bred from the royal stud, saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods, on one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar (8:7-8,10-12).
On March 17th of the year 2022, Jews all around the world—like countless generations before them—will celebrate the feast of Purim in honor of the choice Esther made. Amazingly, a day that should have ended in desolation and despair has been marked in the tapestry of time as a day of victory and celebration.
I wonder if the same will be said of the days in which we face seemingly insurmountable odds. Will we allow God to turn our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11) as we trust in His authority over all others? Amid the wreckage of our own hopes, will we find a renewed strength and purpose in God’s unfolding story? May He transform our crises into conquests and our trembling into triumph as we seek His face and submit with joy to God’s divine authority over us.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers…with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Peter 1:13-19, ESV).