Thursday, December 13, 2012

Esther: Trusting God

Esther: Trusting God

 

Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” – Esther 4:16
Do you trust God?

The quick answer would always be yes because that would be the logical response.  No one is more trustworthy than God.  But in times of trouble, when you fear for your life or the life of someone else, it can be very hard to truly trust God with the entire situation.  Worries, fears, and doubts can eat away at your faith in God, causing you turmoil.  If we truly were able to trust God at all times, we would never see trouble – only opportunities for Him to be glorified.
Mordecai had been faithful to God.  He had not bowed to Haman, the King’s prime minister, which was the law ordered by King Ahasuerus.  God’s law forbids worship of anyone but God, and this bowing prostrate to Haman was worship. 

Mordecai’s presumed insubordination had burned the ego of Haman, yet it was not lawful for him to simply kill Mordecai.  He needed to find fault in him with the king.  So Haman had the King sign into law that all people should all die that follow laws other than the Kings.  Little did King Ahasuerus know that these laws were the laws of God, and these people were God’s chosen people, the Jews. 
Mordecai’s faithfulness to God now endangered all the Jews.  But even so, he did not repent of his deeds and bow to Haman.  If we look forward to Esther 5:9 we read that Haman went out before Mordecai, and he neither rose nor trembled before him”. There are times that we have to follow God and trust Him with our very lives.  Many have done it and died, but they died righteous martyrs.  
Yet Mordecai did fear that God would not show up and save them.  He clothed himself in sackcloth and ashes, which were a sign of mourning.  Esther 4:1 says he went as far as outside the gate of the King, and “he cried out with a loud and bitter cry.”  No one was allowed to enter the gate of the King wearing sackcloth.  All the Jews were in mourning at reading the decree crafted by Haman and signed by the unknowing King. 

When Esther heard that her dear cousin who had been a father to her was in this state, she sent garments to him showing her love for him and concern over his grieved state.  Yet Mordecai would not accept them.  So Esther sent one of the eunuchs, Hathach, to ask Mordecai what was wrong.
The Persian laws were so strict about king’s wives and concubines that no man was allowed to speak to them.  All conversation had to be done through a eunuch.  Mordecai explained to Hathach what Haman had done, the amount of money he was willing to pay to see the Jews killed, and even gave him a copy of the law that was distributed throughout the city with the King’s seal.  Mordecai also told Hathach to instruct Esther to come to the aid of her people, the Jews.  He wanted her to go before the King and explain what had been done, and was certain that she would prevail for her people. 

But Esther replied in verse 11, “All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.”
The King was kept private and seen rarely not so much for his own protection, but to have him adored and idolized when he was seen.  These laws were harmful to the king’s as well as the people because they kept them encapsulated in their palaces, unable to be with people outside.  They often became melancholy, miserable people.  And what good was a king to the people if they did not have access to him?  Yet, the law was the law, and it prevented even Esther from coming to the King.  With no one to share the truth with King Ahasuerus, the Jews were certain to die under the law he had signed.

Mordecai sent Esther a reply in verses 12-14 saying, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Mordecai would not accept so quickly Esther’s plea to be excused from doing this service for her people.  He replied to her that she, in fact, was already in danger of losing her life because of the law.  There was no exemption in the decree that forbid killing the Jews in the Kings palace.  Whether she went before the king or did nothing, she still could be killed by Haman’s evil squad. 

Mordecai’s faith is also shown in verse 14 when he says that “relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place”.  He was trusting God to hear the cries of the Jews and come to their rescue, but at the same time working to have it come to pass.  He continued to explain to Esther that divine province had placed her, a Jew, in the King’s palace, and even allowed her to be Queen, and it was all “for such a time as this”.
God in His divine wisdom crafts our days.  He blends our lives with the lives of others, placing us in situations, organizations, friendships, and acquaintances.  He places us in the path of those who need to know Him, who need to know our testimony, and who can benefit from what we can offer their lives.  We have all been born for “such a time as this”, to accomplish a specific task for His divine purpose.  We should all strive to find that place that God has put us in to be the catalyst for bringing Him glory.   We can be certain that when God places you in a situation to be “salt and light”, in your obedience, He will assure that you are successful.  If He brings you to it – He will bring you through it.

Esther had the unique opportunity to be the Jew in the King’s palace, and yes, even in the King’s bed.  Yet her fear almost stopped her from following God’s will.  But being raised to know prayer and fasting, and the favor of God they bring, she requested that all Jews pray and fast for her for three days.  During those three days all in her household would pray and fast as well.  She was willing to trust God with her very life.  In verse 16 her resolve is found when she says “Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”  She understood that she would be breaking the law of man, but that she would be fulfilling the purpose of God.
Two tools are presented by Esther to allow us to grow our trust and faith in God. 

Prayer is of great importance in the Christian life.  Without conversation with God, your relationship with Him becomes distant and cold.  Prayer is like kindling for the fire within.  You must have quiet time in that “secret place” with Him.  The more you pray, the more you seek that time to hear from Him, the more confident you become in God’s presence.
Fasting is rarely talked about, but so important.  Jesus himself fasted for 40 days before beginning his ministry.  Perhaps it is in denying the flesh that the Spirit within us can be made stronger. God’s word says in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  Fasting is a tool to be used in Christian life, and yet few discover its worth.  In Matthew 6:16 Jesus says And when you fast”… not if you fast, but WHEN, and goes on to give instruction in how to fast.  Some today choose to fast from things other than food, but we have to note that in God’s word fasting meant doing without some or all food.  And in the absence of feeding the flesh, the soul should be fed God’s word.  Fasting can change not only your current circumstances, but your Christian walk as a whole.

Trust God with your circumstances.  And if you can’t, fast and pray until you can.

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