We are now past the half way point, and we have really started into the dramatic part of this story. We are at a fork in the road, and Esther has a huge decision to make. Last week we saw Esther’s argument against action, this week we heard Mordecai’s rebuttle (and he really does pull out all the stops!!!)
“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
the final word
The thought that was swimming through my head this week is that this is one amazing argument winning speech. Not only does he mention what will happen to her (in the verse before – Mordecai says that she will still die even if she stays quiet), but he refers to her family being wiped out (as she was the last one of her father’s line that makes sense) and the shame it will bring on her father’s name, but also that she will be disappointing God. A three point punch. Just reading this I can feel the desperation in Mordecai’s voice, this is his last chance to save his, and many other people’s, life. You would go all out in that situation wouldn’t you! And most people will be moved by one of those things – either a consequence to themselves, a consequence to their family, or the thought of letting God down.
As I put myself in Esther’s shoes and imagined hearing this, it felt like a battering ram at my heart. I could picture the words being spoken out, and then her just sinking down on her seat and realising that there’s was no way out doing the scariest thing she had ever done in her life. She did not want to let her family and her God down, and Mordecai knew that to suggest she did would hurt her and move her into action.
Sometimes we have to say the hard things. Sometimes we have to hit people where it hurts to make them see how desperate the circumstances are. Sometimes we have to pack a punch and trust that God will use those words for his will.
Seeing God in the midst
There is no doubt that in this verse Esther is being seen as a stubborn teenager, which is probably what she is!! The word “remain” is translated as “persist” in the Message version, and I like that better. Persist is to “continue in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition” and it is doing so “stubbornly, despite warning”. These harsh words were needed to break Esther out of that stubborn teenage mood, but something else was also needed.
Mordecai hints at what God might be doing through her. You know, we all want to be used by God in some way don’t we? We all want to be part of his master plan, to have an impact in this world for God, whether that is bringing one person to know Jesus or to do something entirely different. But we don’t always know what God is doing through us until after the event has happened. It is easy to look back and say “oh yes look what God did there!”. So sometimes we have to guess at what God is doing, and try to see him even in the gravest of situations. Mordecai here says “who knows?” and admits that he doesn’t know, but suggests the possibility that God might have positioned her there for such a time as this. That little suggestion was enough to lift Esther’s spirit and give her the confidence that God IS on her side. Instead of feeling trapped and powerless, she felt connected to the most high God, to the maker of all.
What about us?
I don’t know what situations you find yourself in, but maybe you need to channel this question – who knows?! Who knows what God is doing through you, who knows why you are in that situation? I can tell you who – only God!! But by realising that God is possibly working through you, we can be empowered to do above and beyond our capability. He has put you in your world for “such a time as this”.
So this week was the turning point, and next week we will see Esther moved to action. I do hope you’ll join me in meditating on the following verse:
“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.” Esther 4:16
I will be kicking the week off with another Facebook Live Discussion over in our Facebook Community on Monday evening at 8pm, so please do join me there (and pray my internet holds out!).