Esther 2:20, 4:11,14-16
For such a time as this…
Esther’s story is easy to relate to… She has a problem and she knows what she needs to do, but the thought of doing it completely freaks her out. Have you ever felt that way?
Esther is scared, but ultimately she decides to trust God. Her cousin (and adopted father) Mordecai convinces her by suggesting that God put her in this position for just such a crisis.
“Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”Esther 4:14b NLT
She was also an outsider. She was part of a marginalized group–a minority known as the Jews. And she never came out and told anybody she was part of this group.
Esther continued to keep her family background and nationality a secret. She was still following Mordecai’s directions, just as she did when she lived in his home.Esther 2:20 NLT
She was not necessarily ashamed of being a Jew; she was more likely just obeying Mordecai’s instructions. Have you ever been in a situation where you know you have a good thing, and you don’t want to mess it up? That was Mordecai and Esther.
Esther was in good with the king (which was not automatic–the last queen got booted for disobedience), and wanted it to keep it that way. Mordecai was in good also, as a palace official. And when they tipped the king off about people plotting to kill him, their stock went through the roof!
But then things took a dark turn. Some of the king’s officials convinced him to purge his kingdom of a problematic ethnic group…the Jews. Mordecai got wind of it, and asked his adopted daughter, Queen Esther, to step in and talk some sense into her husband. The only problem? She had not talked with his royal highness in about a month–and the king was not one to take any visitors (even his wife!) without an appointment.
“All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.”Esther 4:11 NLT
So Esther was faced with a choice: Wait for an invitation, or show up unannounced? If she waited, she might not ever get called in. Then all the Jews would be killed–possibly including her. If she showed up unannounced, she could be killed instantly. Neither choice is very alluring.
Have you ever had a choice like this? Maybe the stakes were not as high, but the decision was still difficult. What can you do?
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.”Esther 4:15-16 NLT
Esther chose to fast and pray for God’s help. She also had people fast and pray for her. If you want to see how the story ends, read Esther 5-10. (Spoiler alert: she didn’t die.)
When you have tough decisions, ask for God’s help. Ask people to pray for you. And when it comes time to act, trust God and do what you know you have to.
Questions for Group Discussion
- Do you think God made Esther queen of Babylon to save the Jews from destruction? Does God do things like this today?
- Have you ever been in a situation in which you knew God placed you there for a specific purpose? If not, have you ever seen one in which someone else was clearly placed for a certain purpose?
- How does it make you feel to think that God used Esther to save the Jews? What about the fact that she was an orphan who was raised by her older cousin Mordecai? Could God use someone like you in a similar way?
Application: Tough Decision
Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to get a feel for something. This is no different.
Make a sculpture of a time when you or someone you know was faced with a tough decision.
- Use any medium: clay, Play-Doh, styrofoam, found objects, etc.
- Be as abstract/representational as you like. People don’t need to know exactly what they are looking at. Just you.
- Keep it small enough that you can keep it around for a while.
When you finish the sculpture, place it somewhere it will remind you of the tough choice that was made. Let it be a reminder of Esther’s tough choice and God’s faithfulness.