Today: [Esther Four] When Hell Breaks Loose – Then What? In this chapter Mordecai responds to the threat of Haman to commit genocide against the Jews. He reaches out to Esther and Esther agrees to get involved – even risking her life. Esther’s one condition was that the people would pray throughout all Persia. She was not willing to proceed without a prayer covering. In this chapter we see the three responses of Mordecai, Esther and the Jews that ultimately brought victory for them and will for us as well if we follow in their footsteps when we are challenged likewise.
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[Est 4:1-17 KJV] 1 When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; 2 And came even before the king’s gate: for none [might] enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3 And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, [there was] great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
What did Mordecai do when he got word of Haman’s plot against him? Did he rush into the king’s court and request an audience? Did he plot a counter strike or seek to justify himself and his people in some way? Did he run away or tell the people to run and hide in fear? He didn’t do any of these things. His response was one with God in mind not Haman or even the king himself. He realized that God was sovereign and that only God could change whatever outcome lay before him and his people. Many times when we get in trouble we seek to manipulate the circumstance or make some grand effort to abort the strategy of hell. There is only one thing that is helpful in the long run – throwing yourself on the mercy of God. In clothing himself in sackcloth Mordecai was saying to God “you are my only defense – and the defense of my people…”
Learn in your life when panic comes and the sudden assault of the enemy is made known to you that God is your defender. Like Mordecai – follow the example of humility – not manipulation or fear. You cannot save yourself even as Mordecai could not save himself. There was no escape. If we think we can change situations by relying on the arm of flesh or natural ability then the next problem that comes along might be far beyond our ability to shift or change or get rid of. Go to God first and foremost. Throw yourself on His mercy. Expect deliverance from on high and then wait upon the Lord to direct you as to what you must do next.
4 So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told [it] her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received [it] not. 5 Then called Esther for Hatach, [one] of the king’s chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it [was], and why it [was]. 6 So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which [was] before the king’s gate. 7 And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them. 8 Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew [it] unto Esther, and to declare [it] unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people. 9 And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
The chapter begins with Mordecai’s response to the plan of Haman and now Mordecai in his grief and intercession reaches out to his ally Esther. It is important to watch the response of Esther. Mordecai could not come into the queen’s court as that was not allowed but he makes himself visible and Esther is told of his condition and demeanor. What do you do when you see a friend, or loved one distressed? Do you look the other way? We live in a culture that is very skilled at overlooking the suffering of others. Mordecai was known to be a Jew but Esther was the queen of Persia! No one knew her ethnicity and if she had chosen to keep it quiet she would have been safe. Yet we see she was willing to expose herself and show her love for Mordecai and for her own people even when prying eyes no doubt were watching the whole situation as it unfolded.
Be willing to risk in love. Love takes risks. Love is willing to be vulnerable. Love is willing to stand by others even when it is costly and brings unwanted attention to you. The very nature of the love of God is one of condescension. Jesus condescended to become a man in order to solve the sin problem that mankind brought upon himself. Sometimes attitudes are to hold back when people cause their own grief. We feel somehow they have a lesson to learn and we need to make ourselves scarce and let them work that out. Is that what Jesus did? If Jesus left us to solve our own problems He would have never went to the cross. Let us follow Esther’s example and be willing risk in love and be vulnerable and stand by one another when we are hurting and in grief.
10 Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai; 11 All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, [there is] one law of his to put [him] to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days. 12 And they told to Mordecai Esther’s words. 13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. 14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, [then] shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for [such] a time as this? 15 Then Esther bade [them] return Mordecai [this answer], 16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which [is] not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. 17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
Esther and Mordecai agree together and negotiate between themselves what must be done. Esther realizes and grapples with the fact that just in going before the king uninvited she was putting her life at risk. Mordecai insists that she follow through and not falter. Esther began and was willing at first but when she realized the magnitude of what she was being asked to do it gave her pause. We might go through the same thing when we start out standing by one another and then when new facts are made known we turn tail and run – protecting ourselves rather than standing firm. We will all face from time to time in life a temptation to break faith with those God has placed in our lives. Esther is an example of choosing to stay committed but realizing she needed help. She sends word back to Mordecai and agrees to continue but only if the Jews throughout Persia begin to pray and intercede in her behalf.
So we see three groups of people responding to Haman’s threat. Mordecai responds with intercession and reaching out to Esther. Esther responds with resolute willingness to act but only with the prayer covering of the people. The people in turn go to the place of prayer and begin to intercede. In all of the events we read of in Esther this chapter is probably the most informative to us when we find ourselves in the same situation as Esther and Mordecai.
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