Monday, February 18, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Queen Esther, prayer and the power of fasting

For Such a Time as This
A devotional by Nanci Rubin

The book of Esther is a dramatic account that can give us insight into God’s special and purposeful plan for our lives. He didn’t create ‘junk’ when He created you and He wants you to succeed. Take a look at the life of Esther.

Esther is a young and beautiful Jewish woman living in Persia and reared by her cousin, Mordecai. Because of her beauty, she was taken to the King of Persia to become part of his harem. He saw something special in Esther and took a liking to her and made her Queen. However, he didn’t know her Jewish heritage.

Haman is the scoundrel of the story. He is a vengeful and egotistical advisor to the King. Haman tells the King that the Jewish people have different customs and do not obey the King’s laws. The King authorizes Haman to handle the fate of these people. Haman announces a government issue edict of genocide.

What can Queen Esther do for her people? The King hadn’t requested her presence in a month. Mordecai persuaded her to speak to the King on behalf of the Jewish people reminding her of her unique place in history and that silence is not an option. Let's read what 
Mordecai told Esther in the Book of Esther, Chapter 4 and verse 14 (KJV):

“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?” 

Esther knew that going to the King unsolicited could be her death sentence. So, what does she do? She calls for the Jewish people to join her on a three day fast. Following the fast, she dresses to the nines, approaches the King, and tells him of Haman’s plot against the people. The Jews are saved, Haman is hanged on the same gallows he’d prepared for Mordecai, and Esther receives Haman’s estate.

There are six lessons to be learned from the Book of Esther:

Lesson #1: God has a plan for our lives. We may not be called as Esther to assist in the delivery of God’s divine plan to save a nation, but we may be called upon to witness to someone in need. Don’t despise small beginnings. Zechariah 4:10 (KJV) says, “For who hath despised the day of small things? For they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven, they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.”

Lesson #2: We are given divine moments to alter circumstances. As believers, there are no such things as accidents or coincidences. God’s timing is providential. Esther’s divine moment of providence came by accepting her responsibility, to go to the King. God will use you only if you’re ready, or He will find someone else. Psalm 37:23 (KJV) says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delighteth in his way.”

Lesson #3: We must stand with courage. There are many modern-day martyrs The Columbine massacre comes to mind. Rachel Scott and Cassie Bernall were reported to have professed their faith in God, refusing to deny their beliefs. Valeen Schnurr also held fast to her faith and survived the ordeal. Pastors around the world are imprisoned for preaching the gospel of Christ. Pastor Andrew Brunson was released from a Turkish prison. And of course, there was Queen Esther. Read about how she survived and saved the Jews in Esther 4:16 (KJV) says, “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 into the King, which is not according to the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

Lesson #4: Fasting and prayer bring clarity and hope for deliverance. God is not mentioned in the Book of Esther even once. But Esther was clear that in this situation, a Heavenly response was needed for an earthly situation. She needed direction. When we need God’s grace, fasting and prayer opens the portals for spiritual growth, removes distractions and places us on a path to humility. Fasting does open Heaven’s gates. There are moments in our lives when a situation calls for a solemn fast. Joel 1:14 (KJV) says, “Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord, your God, and cry unto the Lord.”

Lesson #5: God demands obedience. Esther’s obedience saved God’s people from genocide. She acted in obedience and by doing so she saved a nation and received the best. We don’t get a pass on this one. God’s Word is pretty clear about where He stands on obedience. 1 Samuel 15:22 (KJV) says, “To obey is better than sacrifice.”

Lesson #6: God uses everything and everybody for His divine purpose. No part of our lives is untouched. God is in control of every aspect, whether we want him to be or not, and there is nothing that is not subject to him. Hebrews 2:8 (KJV) says, “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.”

We may not be called upon to save a people but God has chosen a plan for each of us. Something that only we are capable of doing. When we feel totally unqualified for service, it is probably the best time for God to elevate you.

I pray for the courage that Esther had, I’m sure she was afraid to boldly go to the King, but obedience to God and loyalty to her people shoved her fear behind her as she took a leap of faith.

Let us listen for God’s direction and be obedient to follow where He leads.

Author Bio:

Nanci is a poet and short story writer published in Cypress NewsFamily Times E-ZineFree Verse and the Commonwealth of Poetry

She belongs to RWA, ACFW, and Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild where she’s enrolled in his novel writing program.

Nanci lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and cats, Romeo and Juliette, along with their newest member of the family, Roni, a seven-month-old Goldendoodle.

Recently, Nanci completed her debut novel, A Betrayal in Cross Keys. It is an Amish romance that she has placed in her agent's capable hands. The rest is up to God.

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