Series: Shaped by Environment
Preacher: Jessyka Albert
Daily Walk: Jessyka Albert
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 69:29-33.
Read: Esther 5-7 (ESV). As you read the English Standard Version, note 1-3 insights or questions.
Reflect: We left off last week with Esther’s proximal environment weighing in on her life in the form of Mordecai calling her out. He tells her that God will not allow His people to perish whether she intercedes or not, but she has been put in her position “for such a time as this.” She decides that God’s law is more powerful than the law of man and instructs Mordecai to have the Jews in the region fast for three days before she breaks the law and goes before the king. Her last words in chapter 4 are, “If I perish, I perish.”
Following God’s plan doesn’t always mean rushing God’s plan. Esther doesn’t hastily barge in to see the king just for the sake of getting it over with. Instead, she takes her time, fasts, thinks things through, and crafts a plan. After taking the time to fast, Esther dons her royal robes and marches either toward her own death, or toward the advancement of her plan. When she enters, the king extends his scepter to her and she sighs a breath of relief. Her worry is still obvious though, and when the king asks what is troubling her and what he can do for her, she invites him—along with Haman—to a banquet. Esther knows her husband well, and knows he is never one to turn down a good party!
In her commentary on Esther, Debra Reid writes:
Unlike the impetuous plans previously implemented, Esther’s maneuvers are paced and planned most carefully. There is no sense that events run away with themselves. Instead the pace is slow, even deliberately ponderous, as Esther introduces delay tactics to the uncovering of her plan. This means suspense and intrigue are introduced. The reader, like Xerxes and Haman, has little idea of what is going on in Esther’s head, but suspect that plenty is! (p. 106).
Esther is bold and doesn’t hold back, but she also understands the importance of a well thought out plan and timeliness. Mordecai’s words ring true in her mind, and she remembers his assurance that God will not let his people be wiped out. She takes her role seriously in fulfilling God’s plan, remembering the faith of Daniel in a similar situation. “If I perish, I perish.”
Respond: Pray for patience and thoughtfulness.
Research: Research the different times the Jews fasted in the Old Testament.