I wonder what Esther was feeling as she watched the sunrise on that third day.
“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace…” ~ Esther 5:1
This was the day that Esther would either end up a hero or end up dead. Yeah. I’m pretty sure I would have been tempted to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and desperately pray that God would find some other woman – some other way – to save His people.
These are questions we often ask God when He calls us to be brave in less-than-ideal situations. When we wake up on that third day and it’s time to take that step of faith and move from the preparation stage to actually doing the hard things for God. Oh we’re bold in the preparing, but when it’s time to take that next step? Isn’t there an easier way, Father? Surely there’s someone else who’s more qualified… more available… more – I don’t know – “built” to handle these kinds of things?
But Esther saved the doubt and the drama, and instead responded with:
“Then I will go.”
From preparation to service. From out from under the covers and into the hard places.
I want to crawl out from under the covers, don’t you? I don’t want to look back on my life and realize that in all of my hiding and avoiding and wishing hard things away, that I missed out on key opportunities to be used by God. At some point we actually have to get up, show up, and with much wisdom and trust in the One who holds the world in His hands, engage in the hard places He has called us to.
How can we confidently enter the hard places God has called us to, and become women that God can use?Together, let’s learn from Esther 5:
1. A woman God can use in the hard places is willing to take that brave first step…
It’s one thing to say you’ll do hard things, but it’s quite another to take that first step and stand in the “inner court,” risking it all. As we begin Chapter 5, we see Esther entering in to approach the king. A woman God can use does more than just talk. After proper preparation, she turns ideas into action, she follows through with her commitments, and she doesn’t let fear stand in the way of taking that first brave step, because she knows that the battle is the Lord’s (Prov. 21:31).
2. A woman God can use in the hard places knows when to speak and when to remain silent…
The Bible is packed full of verses that talk about the tongue and its power. It has the potential to be used for good, but there is also great danger in speaking many words (Prov. 10:19). I find it beautiful, refreshing and convicting that as Esther enters the inner court of the king’s palace in Chapter 5, she wins the favor of the king without even speaking a word. A woman God can use knows when to speak and when to remain silent, because she knows it is God alone who has the power to move in the hearts of kings (Prov. 21:1).
3. A woman that God can use in the hard places earns respect instead of demanding it…
In Chapter 5, we see a stark contrast between the way Esther appears before the king and the manner in which Haman handles Mordecai’s irreverence to him. Esther is humble, deliberate and wise in her approach, and Haman responds with pride, wrath and vengeance. A woman that God can use earns respect instead of demanding it, because she finds her identity and worth in Christ instead of from the things of this world (Col. 3:3).
4. A woman that God can use in the hard places knows that God’s purpose for her life isn’t just about her…
The favor that is on Esther’s life to this point is really extraordinary. This girl has gone from orphan to queen, and in Chapter 5, Xerxes is willing to offer her “even to the half” of his kingdom. But Esther doesn’t settle for comfort, and she’s not easily swayed by fame and riches. Esther remembers the task to which she has been called, and she remembers the lives that are at stake. A woman that God can use knows that God’s purpose for her life isn’t just about her, because she remembers a world in need of a Savior (1 Cor. 15:57).
This week, won’t you enter in?
At His feet,
*LET’S TALK: What holds you back from entering into the hard places God has called you to? What truths from Esther 5 can help you combat your fears?
Week 4 Challenge: Psalm 143:5 says, “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” Take a few moments this week to look back on your life and recall a time when God clearly went before you, preparing the way in a difficult situation. Then write out a prayer of thanksgiving to God, acknowledging his power, presence and provision in your life.
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