Daily Devotionals

May 9th, 2023

Read Esther 4:15-16 NLT

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:  “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” 

Today we look at the Esther Fast. In Jewish customs the Esther Fast or Ta’anit Esther in Hebrew, is observed the day before the feast of Purim that celebrates God’s deliverance of the Jewish people as told in the Book of Esther.  So, let’s take a quick look back at our girl Esther and her story.

Esther’s story begins more than 100 years after the Jewish people were taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar. By this time some of the Jews had returned to their homeland but some still remained in Persia. This was the case with Esther’s family. Persia was a world super-power ruled by a proud and impulsive king Xerxes. One day during a feast, a drunken Xerxes felt snubbed by his Queen and had her deposed. He found himself suddenly in need of a new queen. So he sent messages throughout his vast kingdom to gather all the young and beautiful girls of the land at the palace. Esther was a Jewish girl living in Persia and raised by her uncle Mordecai after the death of her parents. She was one of the young women chosen to be part of the King’s harem from which the new queen would be chosen. Under the careful advice of her uncle, Esther did not reveal to anyone that she was Jewish. Esther quickly gained favor with the officials and eventually she became Queen. Things seemed to be going well, until Mordecai made one of the king’s officials mad. Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, the king’s official, and instead of just trying to get even with Mordecai, Haman decided it was best to just wipe out all of the Jewish people! Haman manipulated the king and a date was set to annihilate the Jews. The king, however, had no idea that his queen was a Jew. 

Mordecai came to Esther and asked her to go to the king on behalf of her people to stop the destruction of the Jews. Which sounds like no big deal – after all she is the Queen. But going before the King – no matter who you were –  without being asked could result in a death sentence. 

Here’s where our Esther Fast comes in! Esther asks Mordecai to gather all the Jewish people to pray and fast on her behalf for three days. She and her attendants do the same, and on the third day Esther boldly goes before the king. In the end, Esther’s willingness to stand in the gap on the behalf of others is rewarded and she is forever known as a partner with God in the salvation of His people which is celebrated at Purim. 

So, what does that mean for us? We probably will not be called on to stop the annihilation of an entire group of people. But maybe God is calling us to take a stand and put ourselves on the line for someone else. Maybe, God is calling us to fill a role no one else can fill and partner with Him so that He can bring salvation in an amazing and surprising way to someone else.