Esther 5:1-14, Proverbs 16:18, Mark 6:14-29
Sometimes the road we’re on looks dark. What do we do when it seems God is leading us down that road?
Shortly after their occupation of Poland, Nazi Germany began arresting and incarcerating Polish political prisoners at a camp in the southern Polish town of Auschwitz. One year later, in September 1940, a Polish resistance fighter named Witold Pilecki inserted himself into a Nazi round-up of Poles on the streets of Warsaw. Pilecki, like most Poles, knew that Auschwitz was more than a typical prison camp, but no one knew exactly what the Nazis were doing there. He had to find out.
Pilecki was voluntarily incarcerated at Auschwitz for two years, facing almost certain death, before he overpowered a guard in the middle of the night and escaped in order to inform the world of the Nazi atrocities he witnessed. Pilecki demonstrated tremendous courage in the face of danger for the sake of what was good. He had to enter into the darkness, and trust that the Nazis were too proud to suspect anyone would volunteer to do what he had done.
When Queen Esther approached King Ahasuerus in the inner court of his palace, she demonstrated a similar measure of courage. She risked her life to save her people. For, if one entered the inner court of a king without the gold scepter of the king first being extended to them, execution would surely follow. This was true even for a queen. Yet, Esther needed to approach the king in order to advance her plot to expose Haman—a vizier of the king who intended to exterminate the Jews in Persia—as a traitor to King Ahasuerus.
As you read for yourself what happens next, one of the things you see in this story, along with Esther’s courage, is how intoxicating pride can be. Haman was blinded by it, and so often we are too. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” God, in His providence, directed the heart of the king to accept Esther’s request and led Haman to joyfully construct gallows that would eventually lead to his own undoing.
The Lord was working in Esther’s crisis. That thought never even occurred to Haman. Esther, on the other hand, had no choice but to trust that God was present and to humbly follow where He led, even though the way seemed dark.
The humility and pride on display in this book serve as a warning, redirecting our hearts to Christ. Jesus entered our darkness and exposed it to the light by humbling Himself to the point of death. But from that death came our salvation, which reminds us that God is always working. May the Lord give us the eyes of humility to see this and the courage to follow where He leads, even when the way seems dark. It is not dark to Him (Psalm 139:12).
Written by Chris Martin