December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘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.’ So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.”—Esther 4:15–17 (NIV)
Esther is one of the many brave women I’m looking forward to meeting in heaven. The word “brave” seems like an understatement. Let’s call her what she is, a heroine! We’re made in the image of God; therefore, heroism is stamped on our souls. Although shattered by the fall, there’s a remnant remaining within each of us. We have a desire for good to conquer evil. Humanity longs for justice, truth, and mercy to reign. Heroism is a picture of the ultimate hero—Jesus Christ our Savior. Heroes choose to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others, just as the Son of Man has done for us with His sinless life, His atoning death, burial, and resurrection.
We see Esther seeking spiritual support from her people which gives her the courage to move forward and bravely walk towards her own potential death sentence. Put yourself in her shoes. King Xerxes was known for his impulsiveness, cruelty, and violence. Esther became queen because the first queen was “put away.” Likely Queen Vashti was beheaded which was a common manner of execution in ancient times. Was she picturing her death when she spoke these words to Mordecai?
Esther’s faith isn’t in her own strength or abilities, but in the unchanging character of her God. Esther intimately trusts God because she knows He’s loving, mighty, and, most importantly, in control. Esther feared God (reverenced) more than she feared the king (worldly fear). Her story challenges us to examine our own faith and ask ourselves whether we trust God enough to step into the dangerous unknown, fully confident His purposes will prevail.
We can remind ourselves these aren’t one-dimensional storybook characters but real people with the same emotional makeup as us. Fear desires to rage war in all of us. Esther chooses faith over fear. Faith isn’t the absence of fear, it’s moving forward in obedience despite the fear, because we have unshakeable trust in the unchanging character of God. “If I perish, I perish,” demonstrates a faith that transcends fear.
The stamp of heroism can be summed up in Hebrews chapter 11. After an extensive list of faithful believers, their courageous actions are summarized like this: “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them” (Hebrews 11:32–38 NIV).
We can read through this list of brave souls and think, Wow! That’s amazing, but would I have this much faith if I faced these trails? Man, I hope so! Trust that God provides the necessary strength and courage for His people. When we stand firmly in the center of God’s will, the hero within can emerge.
Pause: Hebrews 13:8 states Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. With that passage in mind, do you intimately trust the character of God? Can you see how your level of trust deeply affects your obedience to Him?
Practice: Spend some time reading and meditating this week on these verses: Hebrews 11, Matthew 10:28, and Philippians 1:21.
Pray: Dear Lord, help me to intimately know and trust You. I’m certain this type of prayer comes with tests to endure. If that’s the only way to experience a deeper intimacy and trust in You, then Lord please give me the strength and courage for whatever You have in store for me. I love You. Amen.
Deb Marsalisi is an author, public speaker, mentor and Fire Inspector. She began her writing journey to make peace with her challenging past. It has provided her with an outlet for creative self-expression, and a healthy new perspective on life.
Through God’s amazing grace, she has learned to rejoice in life’s ups and downs, struggles and victories understanding they’ve been given so she can help and inspire others on their own journey of restoration. Her passion is to support others in emotional and spiritual habits that are truly life-changing. She spends her free time loving, encouraging and mentoring young women to grow in their relationship with Jesus. And she also enjoys cooking amazing meals for her friends and family.