By Katie Kafka
And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”Esther 4: 13-14
Mordecai listens as he is told of Esther‘s dilemma: to choose whether or not to approach the king without being summoned, risking her life. The risk she faces doesn’t change Mordecai‘s thinking. He is determined that the best way forward is for Esther to approach the king and make an appeal for the Jewish people. So he sends messengers back with the final word for her.
As we take a closer look at Mordecai‘s final appeal, we see how he opens Esther‘s eyes to a couple of realities. The first reality is that her role as queen does not shield her from the king’s decree. She cannot escape it in the palace. Remaining silent will not save her later on when the decree is realized. The second reality is that Mordecai is confident that relief and deliverance will happen for the Jews regardless of Esther‘s willingness to be bold. The reason for his confidence is not explicitly mentioned by the author. This is expected due to the secular tone of the entire book. Yet, the very fact that Mordecai is confident indicates that life in Persia hasn’t made him forget the promises of God.
Let’s read some of the promises that were a source of his confidence. As you read each passage, note the promises of God that you can find.
God’s Covenant with Abram: Genesis 12:1-3
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God’s Covenant with David: 2 Samuel 7:8-16
Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’”
God’s Covenant with Israel: Isaiah 43:1-7
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Taken together, how do these passages provide the reason for Mordecai‘s confidence? They are the promises of God that Mordecai was standing on when he suggested boldness to Esther. Be bold because God will come through for us regardless of your dilemma.
We have a defining moment of the story when the author inadvertently switches the main character. Or at the very least, we began to question who the hero of the story will be. We have been reading all along thinking that Mordecai and Esther will be the heroes. They do play a critical role in how the story ends. If relief will come regardless of their next decision, then Mordecai helps us realize that God is the hero in the story.
Mordecai ends his appeal with a poignant question. Something for Esther to ponder as she weighs the risk before her. What does Mordecai want her to realize about herself and most likely about God? Perhaps he wants her to consider God‘s providence; His perfect timing and plan. God placed her there for a reason. Amongst all the wrong that happened for Esther up to this point. To sit where she is now, God can use her to redeem her people.
Do you have someone in your life like Mordecai? One who holds you accountable to your calling? Who says the hard thing and makes you answer the tough questions? Do you have someone who consistently points you back to God so that you realize He is in control? As we conclude our thoughts on Esther 4, take a moment to thank God for that person. She is a blessing to you.