Courage under pressure

By Hannah Ng’uni

Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”. Esther 4:15-16

If you have ever needed courage and wisdom to do something you knew would take more than your own strength accomplish then you may identify with Esther or at least be encouraged by her stance should you find yourself in such a situation.

The king promoted Haman to second in command, servants started bowing to him, Mordecai refused to follow suit. Haman was not pleased and sought to destroy all the Jews, a decree was signed by the king and word went out (see chapter 3). This was distressing for Mordecai, the Jewish people and Esther when she found out, Mordecai directed her to appeal against this to the king because so many lives including hers were in danger. There was a sense of urgency given a day was already fixed for this horrible deed (3:13). Talk about pressure!

Initially you sense Esther’s fear in her response to Mordecai, she had what sounded like a valid excuse. No one could go before the king uninvited as per the law, the price was death (a bit harsh) and she had not been called in to see him for a month – the reason is beyond this post but aren’t you glad we can come confidently before the throne of the King of Kings Jesus anytime without an invitation?!

Mordecai’s response was so profound (Esther 4:13-14), essentially he reminds Queen Esther that if fear is holding her back, she would die either way as she was not any more protected by the palace walls once the king found out she was a Jew. He stirs up her faith and helps her see that she was in a privileged position to be used by God as part of His plan to deliver the Jews, her silence would not stop this plan but deliverance would come another way. The reason she found favour and was promoted to queen was not just about her beauty but was all part of a bigger plan and purpose.

Something awakened in Esther, fear turned into faith and courage to be obedient, there was a realisation of purpose and her heart turned away from self-centredness, “if I perish, I perish” (vs 16) is such a bold stance! She committed herself to serving God by serving His people.

‘Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others’. Philippians 2:4

She recognised the need for spiritual strengthening and wisdom, we see this from the call to the Jews to complete three days prayer and fasting before she went before the king.

‘Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered’. Romans 8:26

Prayer

Lord help us to recognise that you have a plan and a purpose for our lives, that You who has created and called us for such a time as this has also equipped us with everything we need to fulfil that purpose. Holy Spirit we cannot do without You. We come against fear and we declare courage and boldness over our lives. In Jesus name, Amen.

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