God, help us to see the plight the those around us, to be willing to take action, and to trust in
you to steward the power and privilege you give us.
Read Esther 4, 7
“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?” (Esther 4:14).
“For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely
been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would
justify disturbing the kind.” Esther 7:4
These passages of scripture are as relevant today as they were then. We are all born for such
a time as this. We are born with purpose that God has given. Your voice matters. You matter.
And even those born with the smallest degree of power, whether political, social, or religious,
have the ability to effect great change.
Esther was a young Jewish woman in the Persian empire. She was beautiful and ‘won the favor
of everyone who saw her.’ She is one of the most prominent women of the Bible. Faced with the
possibility of death, Esther was courageous and chose to take personal and political action
when her people were placed in danger. She was a prayerful woman – praying and fasting to
God, waiting upon His timing. And through her influence, she was able to prevent the genocide
of the Jews. What is amazing is that she was acting out for a group of people who had been
trafficked. The Jews of Judah and Jerusalem were taken into captivity in Babylon when
Nebuchadnezzar sacked the city and burnt the city in 586 BC.
The book of Esther in the Old Testament shows how courage can save a nation and how an
unlikely hero can change the course of history. Many people today are asking, “Where is God?
Where is God in the unthinkable tragedy of human trafficking? Where is God when people die
in containers, crossing borders, and unspeakable living conditions? Where is God when women
and young girls are sold for sex and enslaved as sex workers? Where is God when people are
taken advantage of in their work because they are immigrants?
These questions are not new to our generation. People have been asking these questions
throughout time. During the time of Esther, the Israelites were living in a time when they were
longing for God to intervene. It is also a time when God intervened in an unexpected way to stop
a disaster from becoming an even greater tragedy. Esther means “something hidden” and this
is a good way to think about the book of Esther. There is much that is hidden in the book. But
the biggest piece of hidden information is God. He is not mentioned once in the book, but He is
behind nearly every sentence. You see His presence working through His people to change
hearts and laws.
In Esther 4, Esther learned that the lives of all the Jews living in Persia were threatened by
Haman the Agagite. Her cousin, Mordecai, tells her to go before the king to plead for their lives.
Esther was scared to do so because going before the king could result in death. Mordecai tells
her two things. First, she is dead anyway, if she doesn’t go before the king. Haman will put her
to death. So, she should go before the king for her own sake. It reminds me of the Dr. King
quote, “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.” Secondly, Mordecai tells her that possibly,
she was placed in her exact position for such a time as this, and that if she does not stand up for
what is right, deliverance will rise from another place. Esther’s task was great. She had to
accomplish several things to change the fate of her people.
- To speak to the king, Esther has to break the law for which the penalty was death.
- To make her appeal to the king, Esther has to confess that she is a Jew.
- Esther must attempt to convince the king to reverse an irreversible law, as laws were in
the Persian Empire.
- Esther must oppose Haman, the most powerful person on earth at that moment in time
besides the king.
- Esther must pursue a plan that could offend the king’s pride; she would need to get him
to reverse his own thinking and direction.
Is the way you are living your life causing you to see the plight of those around? Are you held
up in a safe place or are you using your position to advocate for those who cannot advocate for
themselves? Does your presence usher in justice in a situation? Are you willing to share things
about yourself and past that would show how you align to other women or vulnerable groups?
Are you heading the voice of God and taking action or avoiding the consequences of taking
action? Do you know the Mordecai’s in your life that help you determine the right seasons to
take action? Are you connecting your spiritual life to political and civic action?
Ask God to show you areas where you need to be more courageous and discerning. Ask Him
to touch your heart and open your mind so that you can hear him.
Lord, you know me deeply and intimately. I surrender myself to you. Shape my heart, mind,
thoughts and will so that I may hear you and respond in obedience. Use me to help free those
that are bound and to change the hearts and policies of those who are in power.