Pastoral Perspectives

Lesson From The Life Of Esther

If you have read the book of Esther, you will probably be familiar with the biblical’s version of the popular Cinderella story. Esther was a beautiful Jewish girl in Susa, the capital city of Persia where she left her home to be established in the royal palace as queen. However her good fortune didn’t bring her much comfort as she learned of an evil plot to destroy all the Jews across the empire. After hearing the news, Mordecai, her uncle was in great distress. He sent an urgent message to Esther to urge her to approach the king and plead for her people. However Esther hesitated. And who wouldn’t? For any man or woman who approached the king without being summoned would face death unless the king raised his golden scepter to spare his life. And Esther herself had not been summoned to see the king for the past thirty days and would have thought that she had lost favor with the king.

Esther reported all these things to her guardian, and Mordecai’s reply impressed upon my heart as I read through his word. “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

In other words, Mordecai was saying, “I have faith that the God of our Fathers will not allow his people to be totally destroyed. Somehow, he will step in and provide a way out for them and he will spare a remnant of his people. If you pretend not to know it and remain silent, Esther, God will use others to achieve His purposes. But as the queen, you are in the position to help his people, you are his first choice, and it is up to you how you are going to respond.” Esther decided to risk her life to save her people. Esther said, “I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Wow, what guts Esther had. Do we have such guts to act on the behalf of God’s people when you see injustice being done? Sad to say, most of the time the reverse is true. When the pressure is on, leaders will take positions that favor them. An Chinese proverb aptly descript such character “Changing the direction of the raddle according to the wind direction”

God is looking for people who will take on risky business for the sake of love and mercy. He is looking for men and women who will put his will above everything else in life. Two Luthers come to my attention.

Martin Luther, the monk that pinned the 99 theses on the church wall and if he had not stood his ground down against pressure, he would not have become the forefather of the Reformation. And most probably God would have raised someone else to do it. Martin Luther King, the Africa American activist who challenged the system that marginalized the Africa Americans of his time. If Martin Luther King had bowed down and backed out when others threatened to kill him, he would not be the figure that many honor for changing the world’s attitude towards racism.

And every now and then, perhaps even today, God is searching for someone and is eyeing you as he offers you the opportunity. You can take it, or you can let it go by. If you don’t do it, he’ll probably select someone else, as Mordecai had said, “relief and deliverance will arise…from another place”, and the job will still get done. But you won’t even be able to imagine what you’ve missed!

Pr Alvin

April 10, 2011