This 12-part series takes a new look at an old story and finds fresh words of courage, faith, and challenge for today’s Church. It is based on Carol Bechtel’s commentary on Esther in the Interpretation series (Westminster John Knox, 2002).
God Save the Queen
Read: Esther 4
Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for such a time as this. (v. 14, NRSV)
News of the death edict seems to have spread everywhere except inside the palace. Esther is oblivious of it when she sends to see why Mordecai is sitting outside the palace gates in sackcloth and ashes.
Mordecai does not mince words. The message he sends must have electrified Esther. Not only are her people condemned to die, but Mordecai seems to want her to accelerate her own death sentence by sending her to the king uninvited.
Mordecai’s response to her request for clarification has been quoted for more than two millennia. “Why knows?” he hints in verse fourteen. “Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for such a time as this.”
If Esther had known the hymn, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” she would surely have sung it then. And all of us could take heart from William Cowper’s wonderful words:
O fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
William Cowper, 1774
The chapter closes with Esther rising to the dangerous occasion to which God has called her. Wisely, she prepares with prayer.
Prayer: Give us courage, O God, in such a time as this to hear your call clearly and to act according to your will.