Pressing On

with THE WORD

A study of the Scriptures to discover who God is, what He is like, and how to partner with Him now.

Filtering by Category: Esther

Encourage bravery

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.

Esther 4:1-4
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…

Esther 4:8
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 4:10-14
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 4:15
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.

Keep Pressing,
Ken

Investment necessary

 

The mentoring process has some specific costs to the mentor.  Time and sacrifice are necessary for the relationship to grow, and the mentor must be willing to sacrificially give their time long before the protégé realizes they need that level of investment.

The setting for our next example occurs about 400-500 years before Jesus was born.  God had punished both the nation of Israel and the nation of Judah for disobedience and idol worship by allowing them to be defeated by their enemies and carried off into exile.

The Jews had been settled in their exile for some time now, and their original Babylonian captors had been overtaken by the Persians.  The current Persian ruler was King Ahasuerus.  The book of Esther begins by explaining how and why the king was looking for a new queen.  However, we’re going to look at the mentoring relationship between Mordecai and Esther.

Esther 2:5-7
A Jewish man was in the fortress of Susa named Mordecai son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjaminite.  He had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the other captives when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took King Jeconiah of Judah into exile

Mordecai was the legal guardian of his cousin Hadassah (that is, Esther), because…when her father and mother died, Mordecai had adopted her as his own daughter.

This was a great act of sacrifice by Mordecai.  Scripture doesn’t record if he had other children; however, he treated Esther as if she was his own daughter.  Let’s not skip over this phrase.  Think about the first two decades of your life and remember everything your parents invested in you during that time.  What decisions or adjustments were made with you in mind?

If you have children of your own, take a quick inventory of everything you purposely do to raise them.  The late nights, the teaching, the training, the laughing, the development of skills, the failures, the coaching, the discipline, the love, and on and on and on. 

This is the kind of sacrifice Mordecai made for Esther when he adopted her as his own daughter

Esther was one of the young women selected to join the king’s harem, and it was from among those women that the king would select his next queen.  Before Esther left, however, Mordecai gave her some particular instructions:

Esther 2:10-11
Esther did not reveal her ethnic background or her birthplace, because Mordecai had ordered her not to.  Every day Mordecai took a walk in front of the harem’s courtyard to learn how Esther was doing and to see what was happening to her.

During the next year, the women from the harem would live in the palace and receive extensive beauty treatments with oil of myrrh, perfumes, and cosmetics.  From among the women, Esther was chosen to be the next queen.  After recording the festivities of her coronation, the author adds this detail:

Esther 2:19-20
When the young women were assembled together for a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the King’s Gate.  Esther still had not revealed her birthplace or her ethnic background, as Mordecai had directed.  She obeyed Mordecai’s orders, as she always had while he raised her.

Even if Esther didn’t fully understand Mordecai’s reasoning, she trusted him enough to follow his directions.  Her willingness to keep her family history a secret for over year is strong evidence of Esther’s respect for the man who raised her.  It was this same trust in Mordecai that would later lead to Esther having a significant, national impact.

From this part of Mordecai’s and Esther’s story, we see how mentors must go through life with their protégé in order to develop a strong relationship.  Trust in the mentor’s ability to lead and guide their protégé doesn’t come overnight.  However, the time and sacrifice will be worth it.

Keep Pressing,
Ken