When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; And came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth.
And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.
Then called Esther for Hatach, one of the king’s chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her, and gave him a commandment to Mordecai, to know what it was, and why it was. So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king’s gate. And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king’s treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them.
Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people. And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai;
All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or women, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days. And they told to Mordecai Esther’s words.
Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
In the last chapter we saw the plot being set by Haman, not only because of his pride and hatred of Mordecai, but of all Jews. Haman’s hatred of the Jews stemmed most likely from his tribal history, descendant of the ancient enemies of the Jews, the Amalekites. But as with any who would see the Jews be wiped from the face of the earth- the enemy is the one who hates the One the Jews are chosen of His. And more so, the destruction of the Jews in this point in history would wipe out any chance for the Messiah to come, forever keeping man separated from God.
We open today’s chapter with Mordecai’s reaction to the decree put out by the King, an age old, deepest kind of lamentation and public grieving and supplication. Ashes and sackcloth were a sign of humbling one’s self in repentance before a Holy God. An outward display of an inward condition.
There was no where to go where the Jews could be safe. Columbus hadn’t discovered the New World yet, and Xerxes ruled pretty much every territory from Ethiopia to India. The Jews were in a real bind and this was going to take an Act of God to rescue them. Esther had no idea what was going on- she was relegated to the harem, had no news and why should she know since no one in the King’s palace knew yet that she was also a Jew.
I do find it kind of odd however that when she found out Mordecai’s condition, she tried to give him proper clothes, in essence saying “shake it off, and straighten up! What’s your problem?” She must have known that by his appearing there in sackcloth and ashes was something seriously wrong.
After a back and forth episode of messages, we find one of the most true, but also well known phrases of all time. “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” But that was preceded by a pretty sober warning that she would not only lose her place, her roots and her life, but God would still end up saving the rest of the Jews by someone else. Mordecai shows great faith there. He realizes God will save them, but it still was an exceedingly scary predicament to be in.
Finally Esther realizes the magnitude of what will happen unless she can intercede for her people- but how, when the law says no one can come before the King who has not been called for. She is setting up to do one of the most courageous things imaginable, knowing full well she could be executed – and she knows that she needs every support and help to even attempt it. She turns to the only way she knows how, through prayer and fasting, and orders not only others to do it, but she herself and her ‘staff’ will be doing it too.
We’ve all been in places where we can only pray. Whether it’s for our own circumstances, or someone else’s, sometimes there is nothing else we can see or say that can help. Even then, sometimes prayer is hard and you might find you are at… a loss of words. God knows what’s on our hearts and what burdens weigh us down. But still sometimes our prayers and lamentations are met with a seeming silence…
Or other times, it might be that He’s just warming up to do something incredible. Maybe not as big as letting a Jewish orphan turned Queen approach the King, but still something that will help you to know that He has always been there, always been in control, and willing to bless you in a way that shows just how BIG He is.
I think most folks here already know how much He has done for me and American Boy over the past 5 years. If you feel like sharing some of the ways that He has done something in your life during a dark valley, which showed you how much He cares and helps, that might encourage someone who really needs it today.
We are half way into one of my favorite stories of the Bible- and I’m looking forward to the last half!
Have a blessed and beauty Wednesday all!