Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for a peace at this time.
Esther 8:3-17 (NRSV)
Then Esther spoke again to the king; she fell at his feet, weeping and pleading with him to avert the evil design of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. The king held out the golden scepter to Esther, and Esther rose and stood before the king. She said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have won his favor, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I have his approval, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote giving orders to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming on my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to the Jew Mordecai, “See, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he plotted to lay hands on the Jews. You may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring; for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.”
The king’s secretaries were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day; and an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded, to the Jews and to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, one hundred twenty-seven provinces, to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language. He wrote letters in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed them with the king’s ring, and sent them by mounted couriers riding on fast steeds bred from the royal herd. By these letters the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to assemble and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, with their children and women, and to plunder their goods on a single day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. A copy of the writ was to be issued as a decree in every province and published to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take revenge on their enemies. So the couriers, mounted on their swift royal steeds, hurried out, urged by the king’s command. The decree was issued in the citadel of Susa.
Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king, wearing royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a mantle of fine linen and purple, while the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. For the Jews there was light and gladness, joy and honor. In every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict came, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a festival and a holiday. Furthermore, many of the peoples of the country professed to be Jews, because the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them.
Prior to this reading, Esther had discovered that her position as queen of Persia put her in a unique position to save her people, the Jews. The king’s adviser had persuaded the king that the Jews were a threat to national security and needed to be eliminated. The advisor went so far as to set a date for the legal slaughter of Esther’s people and got the king’s endorsement.
When Esther heard about the decree, she risked her life by going to see the king without being invited. After learning what was behind his advisor’s plans, the king had him killed and sent an edict throughout the land that Jews had the right to defend themselves.
Esther’s story challenges us to be agents of change. Esther was a real hero. She did a great deed for her people, but she took small, hesitant steps on the way there.
Esther didn’t start out wanting to be a hero. She was an ordinary woman who had assimilated herself into the dominant culture, married a pagan king, and blended in to such a degree that most of her people probably thought she had sold out. Nevertheless, when the time came for her to show what she was made of and who she was down deep, Esther was faithful to her people.
That’s how change happens—through ordinary people who make themselves available to God. As Corrie ten Boom put it, “Don’t bother to give God instructions; just report for duty.’
In you, God, we live and move and have our being, but so often we forget. We become too focused on ourselves and not on you. Help us to look for opportunities to be agents of change. Help us “just report for duty.” Amen.
Go with God.