June 22 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” ~Mordecai, Esther 4:14

Persian law prevented anyone from approaching the king to make a request unless invited to do so. The law was enforced, and the punishment was severe; the king had the option to sentence a person to death for an unwanted visit. The law, while harsh, was intended to minimize chaos. Imagine the confusion and disorder in the king’s palace if just anyone were allowed to get the king’s ear. In an empire so vast, with hundreds of attendant officials and hundreds of thousands of subjects, someone always wanted something from the king. If he or she was willing to risk the king’s wrath to go before him unannounced, then it must be a life or death matter. Still, it was a risk. And I’m sure the official who announced the arrival of uninvited guests did so with a bit of fear and trepidation in his voice.

Esther decides she must see the king without an appointment; the lives of her people are at stake. She has a lot going for her. She is the queen. She is beautiful. She is charming. Still, even Esther recognizes that what she is about to do is dangerous. Kings are proud and unpredictable. Hadn’t he just signed off on the mass destruction of her people as if it were a small matter? Hadn’t he deposed the previous queen for embarrassing him, for defying his orders? Esther sends out a request to her people: fast for me as I risk my life.

It is here that we have one of the most famous lines in the book: “I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish”(Est. 4:16). Esther recognizes the right thing to do, and she accepts that perhaps God elevated her to a royal position for this very reason (Est. 4:14). Therefore, she cannot remain silent. She must break the law. She must go see the king unannounced, and she must make a bold request. In so doing, Esther will most likely be exposed as a God-worshipper and a member of the race facing elimination by the king’s order.

Sometimes doing the right thing is risky. But our call is to do what is right and leave the results in God’s hands. Sometimes we must say, “This is the right thing to do—and if I perish, I perish.” It does not mean we are to be rash or brash. Esther was anything but that. She was charming (even cunning) in how she went about this risky business. And her courage is an inspiration. C. S. Lewis once wrote to a friend, “It is not your business to succeed (no one can be sure of that) but to do right: when you have done so, the rest lies with God.” We try for success (Esther sure wanted to succeed), but our ultimate goal is to do what is right in the eyes of God. The results belong to Him.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.