Bible Society of South Africa

Twenty-two people in the Bible who had to be more patient than you: Esther - 7 August 2023

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

12When Mordecai received Esther's message, 13he sent her this warning: “Don't imagine that you are safer than any other Jew just because you are in the royal palace. 14If you keep quiet at a time like this, help will come from heaven to the Jews, and they will be saved, but you will die and your father's family will come to an end. Yet who knows — maybe it was for a time like this that you were made queen!”

Esther 4:12-14GNBOpen in Bible reader

The book of Esther reveals an inspiring story of courage, patience, obedience, and the unseen hand of God working in the midst of seemingly ordinary circumstances. When the Jewish people faced the threat of annihilation, Queen Esther, at the risk of her own life, fearlessly approached King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) without being summoned.

In ancient Persia, approaching the king without being summoned was a breach of royal protocol and could result in severe consequences, including death. Even for the queen, entering the king’s inner court uninvited was dangerous. The king had the authority to extend his golden sceptre as a sign of acceptance, allowing the person to live, or to withhold it, leading to their death.

Crucially, Esther was bold and courageous only after she properly prepared to step into the role God designed specifically for her. She prayed, she waited, and she listened for his direction and guidance. Then, she was able to discern when the time was right for her to act.

We see the fulfilment of God’s plan when in chapter 5 we read how the king reacted: “When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold sceptre that was in his hand” (Esther 5:2).

Esther’s act of approaching the king without being summoned was critical because it was her opportunity to plead for the lives of her people, the Jews. Haman, the king’s advisor, had plotted to exterminate the Jews, and Esther’s intervention was crucial to prevent this catastrophe.

Like Esther, we may find ourselves in challenging situations that require patience, courage, and trust in God’s will. In those moments, we are called to be obedient and courageous, knowing that God is with us, even when his presence is not explicitly seen.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the inspiring story of Esther and her obedience and bravery in fulfilling your plan. Help us to trust in your providence, even when your presence may seem hidden. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
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