… if you keep silent in this crisis
Relief and deliverance
Will come to the Jews
From another quarter
While you and your father’s house
And who knows,
Perhaps you have attained
To royal position
For just such a crisis.
The first recorded incidence of the attempt to commit genocide of the Jews is found in the book of Esther. There’s a lot of story in Esther but the central point is the rescue of the Jews from an edict calling for their utter destruction. Esther is the only person in a position to appeal to King Ahasuerus for a different outcome to the edict he issued after Haman tricked him into issuing it.
Many of us are in positions of power; many of us are in powerless positions. All of us are in a place where we too might affect change for another – one person, or a nation. Perhaps you are in a place of influence, yet, perhaps like Esther, you do not speak or stand up against blatant injustice because you are afraid of the consequences to yourself (Esther could have been killed just for approaching the king). Perhaps you are in a place of no influence whatsoever, yet you do not speak up against blatant injustice because you are afraid of the consequences to yourself (perhaps you’ll just lose your job instead of your head). Whatever place you find yourself in be sure of one thing, that injustice you do not speak out against will end up biting you.
Esther was smart, she knew she couldn’t do what was being asked of her without God’s help, so she asked Mordecai to get all the Jews to fast along with her for three days, then she put her post-fast, successful plan into motion (commentators note that this is an inordinately long fast, 3 days and nights with no food or drink, but I note that it is remarkably short fast for the saving of a nation). In any event, prayer is always implicit with fasting, so this call to action was a call to mourn (fast) their situation, and to hope (prayer) for God’s deliverance.
Yup, fasting is not high on anyone’s agenda these days, and in a gluttonous society I can see why. But prayer, like fasting, is an act of total humility before God, so the very least we can do is humble ourselves and pray for ‘smarts’ in the situation we find ourselves. We are not free to do nothing about injustice. Turn, humble yourself, and get ‘smart’.
The Lord is coming!