United Church of God

Letter From William Bradford - September 1, 2023

Letter From William Bradford

September 1, 2023

Esther - Stepping Out in Faith

There are times in life when we must walk by faith and not by sight. Sometimes we find it easy to encourage others to have faith and trust God, but then have difficulty ourselves when we need to move forward in faith without knowing what the outcome will be. Sometimes we come face to face with the hard reality that we can't stay where we are, and we must make a step forward in faith even though the outcome is undetermined.

A great example of this idea is presented in the account of Queen Esther's life. By reviewing her story, we can learn how she stepped out in faith and how we can apply her example in our own lives.

As we know, Esther (Hadassah) was a young Jewish woman who became Queen of Persia and Medes after the previous queen, Vashti, was dethroned for being disrespectful to the king. Later, Queen Esther found herself in one such hard reality situation where her next steps could result in the loss of her position as queen, and possibly even the loss of her life.

Haman, a high-ranking official to the king, had set a plot in motion that would eliminate the Jews throughout the kingdom. Mordecai, Esther's older relative who had raised her, sent a messenger to Esther with a copy of the decree against the Jews and a command that Esther go to the king and plead with him to save her people. But Esther sent the messenger back to Mordecai to explain that she just could not go in front of the king without an invitation.

All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go into the king these thirty days. (Esther 4:11, NKJV)

At this point, Mordecai communicated to Esther the hard reality of the situation she faced.

And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:13-14, NKJV)

How did Esther respond to this most difficult situation where she couldn't stay where she was, and she had to take a step forward in faith without knowing what would happen?

Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!" (Esther 4:15-16, NKJV)

From Esther, we can learn how to walk by faith and not by sight. We can see the practical measures she took to enable her next difficult step forward.  The hard reality she faced was that she did not have the option of doing nothing.  Notice as this reality became clear in her mind, she didn't just act, she sought God's direct involvement and guidance. She and many others fasted for three days and nights for God's intervention.

During the three days of fasting, perhaps Queen Esther prayed that the king would invite her to see him which would make the situation much easier.  Sometimes we may pray for what appears to be a less stressful option in our hard reality situation. But the king did not invite Esther, and Esther, after seeking God's direct involvement, had to take that next step forward in faith. 

We know how the story unfolded. Esther was given amazing favor in the sight of the king; the Jews were saved, and Haman's plot completely thwarted.  Yet first she had to step out in faith, not knowing the outcome.

If we are in a hard reality situation and need to take the next step forward, we can remember Esther and her example of fasting for the strength to step out and walk by faith and not by sight and the inspiring deliverance that followed. 

Have a very spiritually enriching Sabbath and continue to watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong and let all we do be done with love. (1 Cor. 16:13-14, NKJV)