READ: As you read this story, imagine how you might feel if you were Esther: You were chosen to be queen by a king who doesn’t know of your ethnicity, and now you’re hearing word of a political plot that will wipe out your people and your family.
(7-8) Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him. He also told him the exact amount of money that Haman had promised to deposit in the royal bank to finance the massacre of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the bulletin that had been posted in Susa ordering the massacre so he could show it to Esther when he reported back with instructions to go to the king and intercede and plead with him for her people.
(9-11) Hathach came back and told Esther everything Mordecai had said. Esther talked it over with Hathach and then sent him back to Mordecai with this message: “Everyone who works for the king here, and even the people out in the provinces, knows that there is a single fate for every man or woman who approaches the king without being invited: death. The one exception is if the king extends his gold scepter; then he or she may live. And it’s been thirty days now since I’ve been invited to come to the king.”
(12-14) When Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai sent her this message: “Don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Jew who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.”
THINK: Focus your attention on either Esther’s fear of putting her life on the line for her people or Mordecai’s challenge to her in the face of her fear. Meditatively read that part of the passage again. Picture the speaker, including the situation from which the words are spoken. Select one word or phrase to contemplate during your prayer time.
PRAY: Prayerfully ponder a word or phrase from Mordecai or Esther and identify a memory that relates. Maybe at one time you were called on to do something courageous–big or small–but couldn’t bring yourself to do it. Or maybe you wonder why God would allow Esther to bear such a heavy responsibility. Perhaps you were recently helped because someone took a stand for you.
Invite God the Father into your meditation. Try not to analyze or push toward solutions. Just notice what comes up and show it to him, as a child might show Daddy a favorite toy that’s broken or tell him about a fascinating discovery.
LIVE: Take some time now to rest with the Father. If you have more to say in your conversation with him about Esther’s dilemma, continue it. If you have other subjects you’d like to talk to him about, do so. But if you want to just sit in the presence of your loving Father, go ahead.
Dear Lord Jesus, I don’t know where to begin with this. There are so many thoughts running through my head, and none of them seem to go together. So…I will just offer up a prayer of peace and protection for all the people around the world that you know are suffering under the weight of fear of having to act courageously today. Lord, we usually know when you are calling us to do something that we do not want to do. We usually know when you are asking us because there is this overwhelming sense of not being able to get out from under the request. For people who are struggling tonight, Lord, who know what you have called them to do but who are worried or anxious at the outcome, I pray for strength and courage. Your word says to “fear not” and to “be anxious for nothing” but, sometimes, Lord, that is a tall order. We know that you are the creator of the universe and that you know our comings and goings and the beginning from the end and that there is nothing you have asked us to do that you are unable to strengthen us to do, and there is nowhere you have asked us to go, that you have not already prepared the way. We know that you only give us enough light for the step we’re on, or for the step you want us to move to. In a world full of pre-planning, that kind of faith is hard. Please be patient with us, Lord. For we trust you, but we need help remembering that we can. Sometimes we need help remembering that knowing you can help us is not always associated with knowing you will. Help us to recall those times in the past when we have been afraid, but you met us there and guided us, so that we can take that next step in faith. Help us to remember that we have, indeed, been created for such a time as this, for each and every step you call us to make.
In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.