Esther 7 & 8: Persistence in Resistance
Read Esther 7 & 8 before reading this blog.
Esther 8:3 “Then Esther went again before the king, falling down at his feet and begging him with tears to stop the evil plot devised by Haman the Agagite against the Jews” (italics, mine).
Last year I was living in Atlanta, Georgia. I had just turned twenty and I was ready to start living my adult life. I drove down with all my belongings, stayed at a hotel, then the next morning I awoke, went to my new apartment complex, and signed my name onto my first ever lease. I felt freedom and excitement. However, just eight months later, March 2020 came around along with the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry in which I worked and moved to Atlanta for, completely shut down and I could no longer afford said-apartment. So I contacted one of my landlords asking for mercy and grace,
“I can’t afford my apartment any longer due to being out of a job indefinitely… can I break my lease?”
“No,” they said.
“Okay well, can I possibly get a subleaser in?” (For those who don’t know what a sublease is, it is basically like a long-term AirBnB in a sense.)
The landlord replied “Well, a sublease is technically against the terms of your lease, but given the circumstances, yes get a subleaser in, we’ll just keep it under the rug.”
Great! Mission accomplished! I won’t go broke! Well, the rug it was swept under must’ve been a very thin rug because the whole leasing office found out about this and threatened to sue me. I worked hard to prove my innocence, but that previous landlord I talked to days before denied ever offering to help me. I had no one on my side. So, needless to say, this hard work was not met without resistance. If I wasn’t able to convince my landlords to let me move someone into my room as soon as possible, I would undoubtedly go broke.
Everything I Had to Do to Get Approval
There were so many things I had to do to try to get this subleaser in. First, many heated phone calls with my landlord, then I had to get an official background check and credit check on this woman, then I had to get her approved to be provided with a key to get through the security gates, and then I had to get her name assigned to every bill. There were so many things that my landlords had me do before my request could be fulfilled. It took months of resistance to see this come to fruition and constant, exhausting persistence. All to get something simple done: one conversation with one person to get a paper signed by that one person to reverse my original lease.
As I read Esther chapters 7 and 8 I try to empathize with the persistence of Esther. The decree by Haman to annihilate the Jews was issued back in Esther chapter 3. Then in chapter 4, Esther set out to accomplish a mission: get this signed paper, this decree, reversed. Seemingly, it needed just one conversation and therefore one signature from one person (or signet ring).
But as we journey through the chapters, we read that her original Esther 4 mission did not come to fruition until chapter 8. It would take her diligent prayer and fasting, approaching the king multiple times, two special banquets, Haman’s murder, recieving Haman’s property, then Mordecai being honored by the king, for the decree to finally be addressed! It took 4 chapters of Esther’s persistent work to have Mordecai’s original request fulfilled. This gives a whole new meaning to Esther 8:3 and what I like to say, this provides some context to the verse: “Then Esther went again before the king, falling down at his feet and begging him with tears to stop the evil plot devised by Haman the Agagite against the Jews” (italics, mine).
Don’t Give Up
Do you ever feel in life that you try to get something accomplished but it seems like you’ve been taken on a crazy detour to have it fulfilled? Maybe for you that’s the pursuit of marriage, friendship, career, evangelism, an illness. It takes daily prayer, hard-work, and endurance to stick out the race. We as humans tend to grow impatient and give-up. I challenge you to be like Esther, don’t. Just because you are met with resistance does not mean you should give up persistence.
I often think of the Christian life as a gold miner who dug a tunnel to find gold. After months of digging with his axe, he hasn’t found a bit of gold, yet he has made tremendous progress in his pursuit. In exhaustion and loss of hope, he gives up, drops his axe, and walks away. But little did he know, he was just one axe sling away from reaping a treasure of his pursuit.
We Can’t Drop our Faith
The truth is, we never know how close we are to reaping an answered prayer after intense trials of struggle. But we cannot be like the miner and walk away from God. Trials can either strengthen our faith, strengthen our pursuit of Jesus, and strengthen our prayer life, or they can ask you to drop your progress and walk away from faith in God and your work. However, you have the choice.We have free will! Will you turn to Jesus; will you submit your life, or this situation, to Him? Or will you give up?
Galatians 6:9 says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Run The Race with Jesus
Jesus died a criminal’s death on the cross, the death we all deserved. Placing our sins on Himself, Jesus was crucified. Hebrews 12:2b says “ Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” And we have that same joy awaiting us if we put our faith in Him, if we give Him the reins of our life and therefore the reins of our situation. We can choose to have the mentality to endure by focusing on the joy awaiting us. We must not give up. We must not drop the ball of faith in this tiring race of life. We must persist through any and all resistance. We must continue to pray, to hope, and to keep our eyes on Jesus. Jesus Christ endured for us, persisted for us, and marked out His race with tremendous endurance so that we may run our race with Him. Never give up.
If you want to see a change in your life, if you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ, you have to continue to visit the King. Friendship, for example, doesn’t blossom by seeing someone every now and then or only when it’s convenient for us, so why do we treat Jesus in this way? John 15:13 says: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” As Queen Esther knows, you’ve got to continue to make an effort. Make daily intentional quiet time with the Lord. Keep on going before the King of Kings, fall down at His feet, and cry out with your request. Persist in prayer, keep your eyes focused on Jesus; the joy awaiting you, and don’t let yourself give up. King Xerxes heard Esther and so does your Creator hear you.
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’
Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”.
When you are met with resistance what is your natural response? To go to God more or to go to God less?
What is one thing in life you expected to be “easy”? Why?
Think back on a time in your life when you were in a deep trial, what is the advice you’d give your younger self?