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Read Esther 4
Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help
4 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants 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 Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.
6 So Hathak 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 instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.
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.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhat is the most momentous decision you have ever had to make? Was your decision to go ahead, or to turn to a different path?
Mordecai’s faithful action in refusing to kneel to Haman has resulted not just in potential harm to himself, but to his whole nation (3:13,14; 4:1). The Jews respond accordingly (3). And in Susa, when Esther hears about Mordecai’s actions resulting from his grief and despair and realizes what the implications are for her, she is presented with the challenge described in verse 11.
Verse 14 (“For such a time as this”) is the pivotal verse of the whole of Esther’s story. Events have led up to this challenge, and then ensue from her response and decision. Esther found herself in a unique position—the one and only person who can do anything to remedy the situation the Jews are in, and the one and only person who will pay the price, should the king refuse to be merciful. So she asks for prayer in the form of fasting to support her, and fasts herself to prepare for the visit (16,17). In her faith, she is ready to face the possibility of death.
Are you or is someone you know facing a difficult decision? Why don’t you fast and pray? Ask God for wisdom, strength and favor.
Father, may Your grace and assurance surround me as I consider the right course of action in my life.