We are now HALF WAY through our Esther Series!! It has been great to really get underneath this story and look at the details, and this week has been no different. The verse we meditated on was:
“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.” Esther 4:11
This was Esther’s rely to her cousin Mordecai after he asked her to approach the king and beg for the Jews to be saved. Behind this verse we can be sure that there was a heap of emotions and thoughts and conversations taking place that we don’t hear, so this week we have been trying to think through what those might have been like.
On initial reading, Esther’s response is pretty understandable – we would probably all do the same. When faced with almost certain death, the answer is no! No I won’t do that favour! At this point in the story, Esther’s nationality was still hidden amongst those in the palace, and so she probably thought she was safe. Self-preservation would be kicking in here, and Esther can see that if she does nothing and keeps her mouth shut then she will be safe. But her cousin and all those other Jews won’t be. Esther is experiencing real fear.
This is a huge decision for Esther, and in the Mummy Meditations Community we talked about similar decisions that we had had to make (none of them life or death!) and how our brains became a jumble of thoughts, perhaps we couldn’t sleep properly because of them, we get nervous, it feels stressful. We have to consciously step away from those fears and thoughts and try to stop them taking over. It sounds like perhaps Esther is wrestling with this decision in the same way, trying to play out every outcome in her head and figure out what the best one is. But going over and over it in your mind only serves to compound and exaggerate the fear, making this all the more worse for poor Esther.
A lot of us mentioned have trusted counsellors or friends who we could turn to when making big decisions, but Esther probably wouldn’t have had any. Yes she had eunuchs and servant girls, but despite their willingness to share an opinion, they wouldn’t have had all the facts and hence their counsel wouldn’t have been all that helpful. None of them would have known Esther’s fate due to her Jewish heritage. We also see that she mentions that ALL THE KINGS OFFICIALS know she would be killed, and EVEN THE PEOPLE IN THE ROYAL PROVINCES. That peer pressure of knowing that everyone would think she is stupid and ridiculous and clearly insane for approaching the king uninvited would have been huge on Esther’s shoulders.
Thirty days. Thats a month since she had seen her husband. And yes it probably wasn’t exactly the same as our relationships now (we would clearly all fall apart if we couldn’t see our husbands for that amount of time – some of us can’t last a few hours without texting our spouse!) but there would be a certain sense of fear that came with the unknowing. If she had seen him the day before she might have known what kind of mood he was in, what political challenges he was facing, how likely it was for her visit to be approved with the gold sceptre. But with not having seen him there is a bigger element of unknown. There are thoughts that start to creep in that perhaps he doesn’t like her as a wife anymore, maybe he’s looking for another new one to replace me, maybe I am out of favour with him.
Fear upon fear upon fear upon fear
That is a lot of negative emotion and fear building up in Esther. And lets not forget that this could be a teenage girl facing this decision. How on earth could she break through that piling mound of fear??! I think I would be crippled by it all. We will have to read on in the story to find out.
Well it is poster verse week, yes the one I’m sure you’ve heard quoted before:
“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?” Esther 4:14
Do join us as we see if there is more to this verse than meets than what is on the surface. You can join the discussion with questions and prompts during the week, as well as a Facebook Live Discussion at 8pm on Monday night over in our Facebook Community.
If you’ve joined us halfway through, then great! There’s still loads to get out of this story, and you can find some helpful resources over in our shop.