What we see in this chapter is the aftermath of what we saw yesterday: the decree had been sent that all Jews would be killed (3:13). The Jews were understandably distraught at this news. They traded their clothes for sackcloth (3); sackcloth and ashes are basically an outward representation of the inward torment that the people are experiencing. Sackcloth was a coarse material made out of black goat’s hair, which made it uncomfortable to wear. The ashes signified desolation and ruin.
Mordecai wants Esther to go before the king on behalf of her people. Esther responds by reminding Mordecai that any person who comes before the king without the king holding out the golden scepter, dies. What is really interesting is Mordecai’s response 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?” (14-15)
Mordecai is confident that God will deliver his people, even when he is unsure of where the deliverance will come. He also sees Esther as someone who might be sovereignly placed in position of power for “such a time as this.” Esther’s response is to take a step of faith and ask for the prayers and fasting of her people as she prepares to risk her life for the sake of many.
Even though God is not explicitly mentioned in this chapter, it’s still all about Him! We are in the middle of an account that serves as a declaration of his sovereignty. We see God use a man like Mordecai, who had huge faith in the sovereignty of God. And we see God use a woman in Esther, who understands the part she is playing in the unfolding plan of God.
God’s sovereignty should change how we view ourselves. We should understand that where we are in life is not an accident; rather it should be seen as God intentionally putting us in a place for his plan and glory to go forth.
How has God strategically placed you in life to glorify Him? How can you see Him at work even when the plan hasn’t completely unfolded yet?
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice