The Plight of Esther

Fasting before a difficult, "confrontational" decision is important

In the Book of Esther (more about it here), we find that a mighty official called Haman wants all the Jews in the Persian empire exterminated. The only way to save them is to make the king aware of this. The only person who could do this is the queen, Esther, whose Jewish origins she has so far kept secret.

When her uncle Mordecai, who lives in Susa, where the king and queen reside, begs Esther to go to the king, she says:

“All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” (Esther 4:11)

Mordecai then says these remarkable words:

“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 your royal position for such a time as this?” (4:13,14)

Esther then agrees to go ahead with her dangerous mission, but makes this important condition:

“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (4:16)

Today, when the churches consider how to move forward in a culture increasingly hostile to them, they should consider Esther’s plight. And consider fasting before they make a move. (Of course, the churches in the West are nowhere near the plight of the Jews in the book of Esther – yet. However, there are also varying levels of fasting to choose from.)