Scripture: Esther 4:9-5:3
9 Hathak 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 they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. 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 your 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 attendants 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.
1 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. 2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.
3 Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”
This is one of the famous stories in Scripture which contains the well-known line “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Let’s back up a bit. As you recall the evil man, Haman, has tricked the king into issuing a decree to exterminate all the Jews. The uncle of the Jewish queen Esther learns of the plot and asks his niece to go to the king to ask that the Jews might be spared from annihilation. Her uninvited appearance before the king breaks the law meaning death unless the king has mercy.
In our day, Esther would be a whistleblower! What? “A whistleblower is a person, often an employee, who reveals information about an activity within a private or public organization that is deemed illegal, immoral, illicit, unsafe or fraudulent.” Esther qualifies. In her case, and in some cases today, one’s very life is at stake. If not the life, then continued employment, reputation, harassment, or family safety is at stake. In the absence of the king’s mercy, Esther was dead.
Though God’s name is never mentioned in the entire book, Uncle Mordecai expresses confidence that if Esther decided not to confront the injustice, God’s protection of his people will come from someplace else. In other words, God’s grand plan for his people will not be thwarted by human cowardness.
When you and I have an opportunity to address a wrong, could it be that God has put us in the very position we are in to further his work of truth and justice in our world? Certainly, in the governmental and corporate world we read of whistleblowers frequently. But it isn’t only in those places that God gives opportunity. Every one of us as followers of Christ find ourselves in places where we have a chance to speak up for what is right and truthful and just. When the occasion arises, how do we prepare? Look again at Esther and her uncle.
Esther and Mordecai and friends agree on three days of fasting and prayer in preparation of Esther’s going in to make the request of the king. They completed their fast and Esther was granted an audience with the king who granted her request. The evil Haman, the instigator of the plot to annihilate the Jews, was hanged on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai.
The fasting by God’s people indicated in this instance that of total devotion in submitting to the will of God as indicated in Esther’s response, “If I perish, I perish.” Rejoice. God has put you in the very place you are in this world “for such a time as this” to speak up for his kingdom. If we perish, we perish.
Music: “Once to Every Man and Nation” Classic Hymns Gospel Quintet (Don’t miss this!)
Prayer: God of compassion, you are slow to anger and full of mercy, welcoming sinners who return to you with penitent hearts. We confess that at times we have been cowardly children. We have been silent when we should have spoken up; we have been afraid to speak the truth in love; in fact, we didn’t love enough to speak at all. Our hearts have been timid and too willing to get along, to not make waves. We have failed you, have hurt others, and dishonored your name as a result. Our sin is against you. Grant us renewed courage and receive us yet again as your beloved children, surely not because we are worthy, but for the sake of him who loved us and gave himself for us. Amen. –Daniel Sharp