Today’s society is a “me” society. Everywhere I go, every corner I turn, I hear the excuses, I see the busy schedules, and I watch people run the other direction when faced with problems, or challenged with difficult circumstances. We are a generation that is quickly becoming … whimpy.
As we read the beautiful story of Hadassah, who becomes Queen Esther, I am reminded that life is a journey that we are given, and what we do with it, how we respond to it, and whether or not we take risks and face challenges, is what makes us better people.
Esther makes her way into the Persian palace, and hopes to be the woman chosen to marry King Xerxes. Theologians believe the time is approximately, 478 B.C. She finds the “favor of everyone who saw her.” (Esther 2:15) And when she has her one night with the king, she was chosen to become queen.
But the story does not stop there; instead the story leads us through a path of plotted murder, denial, intrigue, and suspense. In every good story in life, there is a villain. The villain in this plot is Haman and he plans to kill all Jews. Esther, a Jew, finds out from her cousin, Mordecai, about the plot and is faced with a door of decision. To face the king means she might die. Will she risk her life to save others, or will she turn and run, ignoring the opportunity? Perhaps she’s too busy? Perhaps she doesn’t “feel” like it right now. Maybe she thinks someone else can do it.
While faced with death, Esther puts life on pause and instructs Mordecai and all of the Jews to fast and pray (Esther 4:15) for 3 days and 3 nights. I find God’s number system intriguing! In scripture, we see that Jonah is in the belly of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights, Saul, on the road to Damascus, is blinded for 3 days and 3 nights, Jesus is buried for 3 days and 3 nights and is risen on the 3rd day….and now, Queen Esther uses the number 3 again (I often wonder if there is some number connection that He parallels for God with Father, Son & Holy Ghost…the trinity).
Scripture records the famous words that we love and embrace in times of trial and risk-taking, “(Mordecai talking to Esther) And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” And Esther answers him (Esther 4:16) “I will go to the king even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
A risk taker, Esther, unsure of her future yet knowing that it was likely that she could lose her life, stands in royal robes in the inner court of the palace and faces the King. She risks everything to save her people, God’s people, and she does not run away, but accepts the responsibility with prayer, petition, and fasting.
The story has a wonderful ending because the King accepts her, finds out about the plot to kill the Jews, and takes care of the villain once and for all. The Jews are not only saved, but Mordecai is placed on the King’s staff as second in rank to the King.
But most importantly, Esther opens the door to allow Jews to be valued leaders, paving the way for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls to Jerusalem, and paving the way for Jesus, to arrive as Messiah to us all.
How often does God present a situation where we are called to be a risk taker? How many times do you and I hear that quiet prodding in our very souls for God to want us to face up to something, to be bold, to be a life changer? And how many times do we quietly turn and retreat, hoping that someone else will take care of it? Or we find ourselves telling God that we’ll take care of it later… when we have time.
What is God calling you to do today? Are you fearful? Are you too busy? Are you so overwhelmed that you can’t even hear the Spirit calling to you?
Who knows, but that you are called to something … For such a time as this?!