Esther and Evangelism
Purim is the Jewish holiday commemorating the deliverance of my Jewish people from Haman’s wicked plot to exterminate them during the reign of the Persian King Ahasuerus. The events surrounding Purim take place in 483 BC. On the Hebrew calendar Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar beginning sundown, which is on March 6 on our Gregorian calendar here in 2023.
We find the story in the Old Testament book of Esther, named after the heroine of this tense and tenuous time. You see, when her uncle, a Jewish man named Mordecai, won’t bow down to Haman, vizier to the King, Haman hatches a wicked and diabolical plot to have the Jewish people exterminated.
Esther, a common Jewish girl, through a series of events, rises from anonymity to become Queen of Persia. It turns out, she is the last and only hope in changing the grisly outcome of Haman’s evil intent.
Esther, however, stands perilously at the crossroads of fear and faith. You see, when Mordecai apprises her of the situation and exhorts her to take the matter before the King, she must weigh the risk versus the reward in taking action. Her initial response to Mordecai is fearful:
Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.” So they told Mordecai Esther’s words (Esther 4:10-12).
After Mordecai challenges her once again, Esther then changes course, resolving to walk in faith and go forth to the King regardless of the consequences:
And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 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!”So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him (Esther 4:13-17).
She happens to be strategically placed by God “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)! And the result of Esther’s faith was not death, but deliverance! You see, King Ahashurus responds sympathetically to Esther’s courageous request. The Jewish people are spared and Haman is executed.
The application for us is simple, profound, one that Esther magnificently exemplifies, and found in the answer to this question:
Is their salvation more important than my safety?
You see, Esther answered that question with an emphatic yes as she went before the King in Esther 5. And while her yes resulted in the physical salvation of her Jewish people, our yes to that question in our life and witness may result in the spiritual salvation of a precious person! In our life, regardless of the response, people need to hear the life-transforming message of the gospel and given the opportunity to respond to the message, even if that response is rejection.
Likely, our safety doesn’t mean the preservation of our physical life. But it may mean safety from the discomfort of rejection, misunderstanding, and other forms of persecution.
As we ponder risk versus reward in our witness to others, may the Lord grant us the faith to answer that challenging question with a “Yes!” – boldly sharing the truth that sets men and women free. For who knows whether you and I have come to the kingdom of God for such a time as this.