A plot had been devised to kill every Jew in Persia. A man named Haman had convinced King Ahasuerus that the Jews were enemies of the state. As a result, the king declared a day when the entire Jewish population was to be exterminated and their property confiscated. Understandably, the Jews were distraught and terrified.
When Mordecai learned all that had occurred, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, went into the middle of the city, and cried loudly and bitterly. He only went as far as the King’s Gate, since the law prohibited anyone wearing sackcloth from entering the King’s Gate. There was great mourning among the Jewish people in every province where the king’s command and edict came. They fasted, wept, and lamented, and many lay on sackcloth and ashes.
Esther’s female servants and her eunuchs came and reported the news to her, and the queen was overcome with fear. She sent clothes for Mordecai to wear so he could take off his sackcloth, but he did not accept them.
Esther was scared out of her mind, and since she couldn’t go out to Mordecai, she wanted Mordecai to come to her. Since he refused to change out of his mourning clothes, Esther had to settle for talking to him through her servant, Hathach. After Mordecai described the situation to Hathach…
Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa ordering their destruction, so that Hathach might show it to Esther, explain it to her, and instruct her to approach the king, implore his favor, and plead with him personally for her people.
Esther’s response to Mordecai’s instructions shows that she had another fear to contend with – approaching the king was a “by-appointment-only” arrangement. If the king was caught off-guard or felt threatened by the unannounced audience, it would cost the person their life. Look carefully at how she conveys this situation, but also pay attention to Mordecai’s response to her fears:
Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to tell Mordecai, “All the royal officials and the people of the royal provinces know that one law applies to every man or woman who approaches the king in the inner courtyard and who has not been summoned – the death penalty. Only if the king extends the golden scepter will that person live. I have not been summoned to appear before the king for the last 30 days.” Esther’s response was report to Mordecai.
Mordecai told the messenger to reply to Esther, “Don’t think that you will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace. If you keep silent at this time, liberation and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s house will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”
Mordecai has incredible confidence in God’s ability to rescue the nation, but he also has confidence in Esther – both who she is and her position at this time in history. The mentor knew it was time for his protégé to act. His message to Esther was clear:
“It’s time to step up and be brave.”
Sometimes they need a little push. The protégé may lack confidence, or they grab ahold of something to use as an excuse. But the mentor knows they are ready…it’s in the tension of this moment that the protégé needs to trust their mentor and be brave.
Mordecai wasn’t there to do it for Esther. She had to choose to trust Mordecai’s words. She had to choose to be brave. Esther had to accept that she was the one who was in the best position to make a difference.
Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, night and day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.”
Esther was brave because of Mordecai’s encouragement…and her bravery was the first step toward saving her people.