Corporate Prayer continued...
Another Old Testament example highlighting of the power of agreement and corporate worship, is that of Esther and her victory over Haman and his plans. The story of Esther is well known, the book of Esther widely preached, so much so, that it is doubtful I could bring anything new to the table in regards to what transpired.
What I can reiterate, as many a writer and preacher before me has, is that Esther was hesitant in coming to the aid of the people of God. She was, after all queen and considered herself beyond the reach of Haman and his plans.
Seeing as Esther hesitated in coming to the people’s aid even after the king’s decree had been passed concerning the people of Israel, Mordecai sent word to Esther.
Esther 4:13-14, “Then 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 house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’”
Even though some individuals are placed in specific locations for appointed times, it does not mean that they are indispensable, or that God will not do what He must without them, or in spite of them.
No one is indispensable! This is rule number one of the ‘how to stay humble instructional manual,’ and it is pretty much the only rule you will ever need if you understand its full ramifications.
Essentially, Mordecai sent word to Esther that not only was she not safe because she was queen, but God would save the people in spite of her, and due to her unwillingness to step in and remedy the situation her and her house would perish. These were harsh words from a man who had taken Esther in as his own daughter after her parents died.
Although it is generally assumed and widely accepted that Esther was Mordecai’s niece, in reality Ester was his uncle’s daughter, but this does not mean he loved her any less.
Contrary to popular belief, love does not compel you to be silent, or to accept and tolerate it when you see someone you care for leaning over the edge of the precipice. Love compels you to cry out and warn them, and do your utmost to cause them to see the light even at the risk of alienating yourself, or falling out of favor with them.
Regardless of reaction, or where the chips fall, love must compel us to speak the truth. If we omit the truth, or keep from speaking it, then we never really loved the individual enough to do the hard thing when it came to it.
It’s easy to love, when it’s easy to love. It gets exponentially more complicated when you have to do a difficult thing because you love the individual enough to put it all on the line.
Mordecai was faced with doing the difficult thing, and because he loved Esther, he risked his friendship with her, even though she was the queen, and sent a difficult word to her, which she received and heeded.
Esther 4:15-16, “Then Esther told them to return this answer 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 will I go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!’”
The law of the land during the days of Esther, was that anyone, be they man or woman, entering the king’s inner court without being called, would be put to death. And so, for Esther it was a little more than having a conversation with the king, it was putting her own life on the line for the people of Israel, because if she displeased the king with her presence, it was law that she be put to death.
Because the stakes were so high, because real lives including hers were on the line, Esther asked Mordecai to go, gather all the Jews, and fast for her.
‘But it doesn’t say anything about praying. I thought this was a series on praying. She just asked them to fast, not to pray.’
To that I say: have you ever known anyone to fast without prayer? Have you ever known anyone whose life was on the line, who was asked to fast, yet dismissed prayer as unnecessary, or superfluous? I thought not.
If the plans of Haman would not have been stifled, every Jew within one hundred and twenty-seven provinces would have been slaughtered. You best believe they prayed, you best believe they sought the face of God…as every man does when he is between a rock and a hard place with no place to look but up.
Esther found herself in a dangerous situation, a situation that surpassed her, and she asked for the people’s help in that they would fast without eating or drinking for three days, so she might have favor in the king’s sight.
Not only did Esther ask all the Jews who were present in Shushan to fast for her, she, along with her maids likewise fasted. Just because there are others fasting on our behalf, or praying on our behalf, it does not mean we are exempted from praying and fasting. Just because others stand in the gap for us, it does not mean we ought not to do our part, and be on our faces before God.
After three days of united fasting and prayer, Esther goes before the king, is received by him, the king overturns his decree, and the people of Israel are once more saved from destruction.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.