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Walking Into the Unknown…

Faith and fear are not incompatible. It’s possible to have confidence in God and still be fearful of obeying His Word. Esther 5:1-8 shows that Esther is demonstrating faith, yet there is still great fear. She has just concluded a three day fast, no food or water. Here are three observations about fearful faith.

Fearful faith is anchored and deepening
Anchored to what or whom? What we learned in Esther 4 is that Haman, King Ahasuerus’ prime minister, has signed a death warrant for every Jew living in Persia.  Esther is queen by hiding her identity as a Jewish woman. The daughter of a Kosher family embraces the Persian pop culture of her day. Through circumstances and with time she begins to embrace her Jewish identity. By embracing her chosen people status it emboldens her to walk by faith toward the unknown. Friends, faith is anchored in the knowable. Circumstances, events, the future are unknowable, but the God who knows the end from the beginning is knowable. He has revealed Himself in His Son, Jesus.

Fearful faith is cautious and courageous
Esther enters with caution and courage. During some excavation in modern day Iran, an engraving from the 5th C. B.C. shows what Esther would have experienced two of Ahasuerus’ swordsmen standing near the king, acting as bouncers for his throne room. Esther 5:2-6 shows us that, two times, King Ahasuerus says to Esther, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.” Possibly Ahasuerus could see the effects of a three day fast on his queen. Assuredly, he knew that Esther was putting her life on the line to enter his presence unrequested.

Fearful faith is active and developing
In Esther 5:7-8, Esther invites her king and her arch enemy to a banquet the following day. The author is revealing the growth of Esther’s soul. At one point she was self-advancing and self-protective, now she is self-sacrificing for her people. Now we move to the contrasting character, Haman. Haman is the ideal case study of all that is the opposite of Esther. If Esther demonstrates humility, Haman is pride incarnate. If Esther is self-sacrificing, Haman is self-indulgent. If Esther is God-fearing, Haman is god-fearing, but just a different god. Haman reveals the destructiveness of idolatry.

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