15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions. (Esther 4:15 – 17)
Theme: If not You, then Who?
Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Fasting. Tomorrow we will hold our annual day of fasting for all who are able and willing to give up at least one meal and dedicate extra time to focusing on God.
In the Old Testament book of Esther, the Jews are facing annihilation unless King Xerxes changes a decree he was advised to enact. Mordecai, Queen Esther’s father by adoption, wants Queen Esther to use her influence with King Xerxes to cancel the decree. Queen Esther is reluctant to approach the King without invitation because this could result in a death sentence for her. Mordecai tells her she can’t remain silent and asks her, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” A paraphrase of Mordecai’s question could be, if not you, then who?
Our passage for today picks the story up after Queen Esther concludes that she has to follow Mordecai’s instructions, and her response illustrates the importance of fasting. There are lessons for us as we answer God’s call on our lives and confront inevitable challenges.
Please read the passage above and answer the question below.
What were Esther’s challenges and why do you believe fasting was an appropriate response?