Yesterday we pondered Ruth and Naomi. The other book in the Bible named after a woman is Esther. She was a beautiful young Jewish woman, caught in the political intrigue in the middle East, taken captive and chosen to be the next wife of the king. A decree is passed for ethnic genocide of the Jews on a certain day. Her uncle comes to her and pleads for her to use her social power, go to the king and beg for the lives of her people. His famous line many remember, “Who knows but that you have been born for a time like this.” Esther, knowing protocol of going to the king without being summoned may cost her her life, responds to her uncle. Gather the Jews in the city and fast for me, no food and no water, for three days and then I will go to the king. “And if I perish, I perish.”
The book of Esther is criticized because it does not use the word “God.” Most of us are not preachers and we are uncomfortable vocalizing just how faith works as it is “mystery, not management” of God. Faced with probable death, Esther asks her community to unite with her in fasting and prayer and acts out the first priority of her life. The actions of our lives and of our communities show the priorities of our lives. Not often do we step out, willing to die for our beliefs. I note Esther did not endanger her friends lives as I think of this scenario in light of Covid but she did live out her faith. I note she did not destroy the property of others but she did act. I note she fasted and did not knee-jerk react to the problem but she did act. Today we will be called upon to act in little and perhaps ways that feel threatening. I pray we will look to God first and then do what we know would delight him. May we show he is our first priority!