Good Morning! Or Afternoon, or Evening, or Night - whenever you're getting to this. My name is Tiffany, and I'm new to the Bible In a Year and Beyond blog. You can read my brief testimony here.
On my personal blog, I use a lot of movie quotes and song lines to title my blog posts. If I were to write this study over there, I'd probably title it "Help us, Obi-wan Kenobi, you're our only hope."
We know from chapter 2 verse 20 that Esther and Mordecai weren't telling anyone they were Jews.
We also know that the lines of communication are open between Mordecai and Esther, since Mordecai saved the king's life in 2:22. And after saving the king's life, Mordecai let the guards know his true background and nationality and those guards told Haman what they had learned (3:4).
And as we just learned through our study of chapter 3, Haman is ticked, so ticked he isn't happy with just eliminating Mordecai, he wants to get rid of all of Mordecai's people. That doesn't just mean his aunts, uncles and cousins, that means all the Jews in Xerxes's lands (which we know are considerable).
Which leads us to chapter 4, where Mordecai approaches the king's gate in sackcloth and ashes. And there he sets, in mourning, like every other Jew in the province. He can't go in, but he doesn't leave either. He waits for Esther.
Without finding out why Mordecai was in mourning, Esther sent him clothes to wear instead of his sackcloth. John Wesley states in his Explanatory Notes that Esther either sent Mordecai the clothes so he could return to his own home, or so that he could enter the king's gates and explain his troubles. When Mordecai refuses, she sends her eunuch Hathak.
Esther's original answer to Mordecai's plea for help was to downplay her importance. "The King hasn't asked for me in 30 days. He obviously isn't that interested in his new queen. If he doesn't accept me, I'll be killed!"
Mordecai responds with a very prophet like statement, in any other book of the Bible his speech would've been followed by "Thus saith the Lord." Mordecai says:
"Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"
Esther responds in a way that reminds me of Drago in Rocky IV - "If I die, I die." Whether it was knowledge that either she dies when Haman's decree is carried out, or dies when the king rejects her, either way she was facing death. So Esther asks Mordecai to fast and pray for her, indeed for all the Jews in Susa to do so, and that she and her maids would fast as well.
Mordecai comes to Esther as Princess Leah does to Obi-wan Kenobi, pleading, "You are our only hope."
Mordecai thought Esther could save the Jews. And why did he think this? Because of his faith in God. Hear that? Mordecai's faith was in God, and God alone. His faith was strong enough to believe firmly in their deliverance. Mordecai knows his God has used unlikely people to save Israel before. That God could use any miracle He chose to save them all. Whether Esther could truly save them or not, Mordecai knew God would not let them be destroyed. As John Wesley says "From another place - This was the language of strong faith, against hope believing in hope. Who knoweth - It is probable God hath raised thee to this honour for this very season."
Where was Esther's faith in all this? She has hidden that she is a Jew, and yet she takes seriously Mordecai's statement that she and her family will perish. The Bible has not told us that she has spent any time in fasting or prayer before this.
However, I believe her faith in God is stronger than written. For after considering the options, she did not also go into mourning, but went into action. She requested the Jews of Susa to fast, and she required her maids to fast with her. She called upon the Lord to give her the wisdom and strength to face the challenge that was before her.
And with their faith in God strengthening them, Mordecai went and carried out all of Esther's instructions, while Esther prepared to meet the king.
It is easy in our day to day life to forget how important our faith in God is. Life can become routine and easy, and so can our relationship with God. It is important to remember, however, that our faith must not falter. That we must work with it, study and strengthen our faith, our knowledge, and our relationship, so that in "such a time as this" we may be prepared for the challenges brought to us. I end with Wesley's words again, "We should every one of us consider, for what end God has put us in the place where we are? And when an opportunity offers of serving God and our generation, we must take care not to let it slip."