Courage to Risk All

Key Verse: “So will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”
—Esther 4:16

Selected Scripture:
Esther 3 and 4

WHEN BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY came to an end for the Jews with the overthrow of the Babylonian empire by the Medes and Persians, many Jews did not return to their homeland but remained in Persia. The Persian empire was vast with 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. In the third year of the reign of King Ahasueras, he celebrated the splendor of his empire with a huge banquet lasting 180 days. Wine flowed freely and, towards the end of it, he asked that Queen Vashti be brought before the princes and rulers of his empire so that he could show off her beauty, but she refused. In his anger the king consulted with his wise men, and they advised him to depose Vashti as queen.

After the king had taken this action, he reflected upon the events, and his servants suggested that fair young virgins be sought to replace Vashti. Many were brought to the palace at Shushan, and among them was Esther, a ward of a Jew named Mordecai, who had a position of responsibility at the king’s gate. It was while he was in this position that Mordecai revealed a plot against the king’s life, and the matter was recorded in the king’s book of chronicles. Meanwhile, the king loved Esther above all the women and made her queen in Vashti’s place.

The king promoted Haman, an Agatite, above all the princes. He also commanded his servants to bow before Haman, and give him reverence. Mordecai refused to do this, and it was called to Haman’s attention. This angered him so that he sought to have Mordecai, and all Jews in the nation, killed. He told the king about these people, that they kept themselves separate. They had their own customs and did not obey the king’s laws. He suggested that a day be set aside when all the nation’s people could slaughter the Jews and take their possessions. He offered a large sum of money for doing this.

The king gave Haman full authority to do this, but refused the money. He made a decree and sent it out through all the provinces of Persia. When Mordecai saw the decree, he donned sackcloth and ashes and went about the city crying bitterly, and the Jews in the nation did likewise. When Esther heard of it she sent a messenger to Mordecai to learn what had happened. Mordecai sent her all the information about the matter and a copy of the decree. He also sent word to her that she should seek mercy and plead for her people. She returned word to Mordecai that the king was in the inner court, and unless he called for someone to come to him, anyone coming would be put to death unless he held out the golden scepter. The king had not called for her for thirty days.

Mordecai replied that this decree would not spare her. She was a Jewess and if she failed to do anything, God would send deliverance some other way, but she would perish. He also suggested it was providential that she was made queen. Esther sent back instructions to have all the Jews fast for three days for her, and that she and her maidens would do likewise. Although the account doesn’t mention prayer, it is most likely that they prayed as they fasted. Then she would risk all and go unto the king, saying, ‘If I perish, I perish.’ Esther not only was beautiful outwardly, but also inwardly. She had courage and character, and in this respect, pictures the church class being selected by God today.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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