READING: Esther 1-5
“Don’t eat or drink for three days, day or night.”
Esther, a Jew, was the queen. Haman, a leader in the government, sought a decree to have all the Jews killed. Mordecai heard about the decree and encouraged Esther to approach the king and plead for her people. That task — to approach the king unsolicited — was a frightening task indeed. Mordecai, though, challenged her to approach the king anyway; “perhaps,” he said, “you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Esther’s response was to call the for fasting as she prepared to speak to the king: “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, day or night. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way” (Esther 4:16). This call to fast was not some means to manipulate God, but rather a sincere desire to seek God’s face for guidance and protection. This commitment surely included prayer as the people focused more on Him and His will than on their own safety; Esther herself was willing to die if that were the cost she would pay (Esther 4:16).
Fasting is evidence of one’s desire for God more than anything else, including the natural and necessary desire for food. It is, as I once heard a professor say, “longing to eat at God’s table more than eating at my table.” It is loving others more than self, fasting and asking God to intervene in their lives as well as ours. I pray that I would have accepted Esther’s call in her day, knowing that fasting from food and water for three days would have been difficult.
- Pray about whether God would have you fast on behalf of someone else. Accept His answer, and be obedient.
- Plan to build fasting into your spiritual disciplines.
PRAYER: “God, help me to long for You more than anything.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Review and catch up day