In the book of Esther we see that Esther and Mordecai are in a strange land filled with wickedness. God seemed very far away from them, especially as they were strangers in the Medo-Persian Empire as a punishment for their sins as a nation. God seemed so far, in fact, that Esther is the only book of the Bible that does not explicitly mention God. However, we see 3 things that Esther and Mordecai did during this time of silence from God that we ought to also do during seasons of difficulty in our life:
Mordecai stood when everyone else bowed to Haman. Now, as we stated in the podcast, there could have been several reasons why he did not bow to Haman, and this one act does not erase some of the bad things that Mordecai had done. However, it is undeniable that what Mordecai did was the righteous thing to do. This one act set the rest of the book of Esther in motion. And Mordecai takes his place among the likes of Daniel, Hananiah, Meschial, and Azariah as one who stood for what was right even when there was pressure to just “go with the flow”.
Even when God does not seem near, it is important for us to stand on truth, to stand on our Biblical convictions, even in a world that is growing increasingly evil.
Upon hearing of Haman’s plot, Esther advises Mordecai and all the Jewish people to fast and pray. This was a very serious matter that they could not handle on their own, they needed to seek the strength of God.
I appreciate from this passage the emphasis that is put on fasting. Fasting, traditionally, is giving up food for a set amount of time to pray over something specific and important. I would describe fasting as giving up something important (like food) to express the serious nature of your prayer to God. When I fast, every time I feel a hunger pain reminds me of what I am praying for. It adds a fervency to my prayer, and it adds a frequency to my prayer! Oh Christian, when it seems like God is nowhere to be found, do not forget to pray, do not forget to SERIOUSLY pray!
Esther walked into Xerxes’ court. She knew she could be killed for doing so, but she did it anyway. She knew what she had to say, and the task that was given her, was of the most importance. Esther acted courageously. The passage does not show the amount of gumption that it took for Esther to walk into the king’s court. Esther was terrified! But courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to act despite the fear. We cannot stop doing big things for God during seasons of trouble.
We cannot stop living courageously just because we are struggling. It is easy to be courageous when everything is going well, but it is important to live courageously during difficulty. We make the greatest impact when we are courageous in the face of great difficulty. Do you want to make a difference? Be courageous even when it is hard.
Why do these things? Because although God may not SEEM near, that does not mean that He isn’t near. In the Book of Esther, although God is never mentioned, He is constantly working behind the scenes. The presence of God is all the more glaring in the book of Esther because his name is not mentioned but his actions are so pronounced. Was it a coincidence that Haman’s lot landed on the Pur? Was it a coincidence that Xerxes could not sleep and the records that were read were about Mordecai? No! It was the hand of God. Remember, even in our darkest of times, we must remember that God is near; and, in so doing, we must stand firmly, pray fervently, and live courageously!