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If You Keep Silent at This Time...

22 February • Thursday of the First Week in Lent

Esther 4:1-5, 12-14

1 When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry. 2 He went up to the entrance of the king's gate, for no one was allowed to enter the king's gate clothed in sackcloth. 3 And in every province, wherever the king's command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.

4 When Esther's young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was.

12 And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace, you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”



Dear family, today we are invited to reflect on the courage and faith of Queen Esther, who risked her life to save her people from destruction. In the book of Esther, we read that a wicked man named Haman plotted to exterminate all the Jews in the Persian Empire, where Esther was the queen. Esther was a Jewess, but she had concealed her identity from the king, who loved her dearly. When she learned of Haman's evil plan, she was greatly distressed and did not know what to do. She could not approach the king without being summoned, or she would face death. She could not reveal her Jewish identity, or she would face persecution. She could not remain silent, or she would betray her people.

What can we learn from Esther's example? First, we learn that God has a plan for each one of us and He can use us in unexpected ways to fulfill His purposes. Esther was an orphan who became a queen. God then used her to save His chosen people from genocide. We may not know what God has in store for us, but we can trust that He will guide us and equip us for whatever He calls us to do.

Second, we learn that God expects us to act with faith and courage when faced with difficult situations. Esther did not rely on her own strength or wisdom, but on God's grace and power. She fasted and prayed, and then acted, knowing that it could cost her life. She was willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of others, following the example of Christ, who gave His life for us on the cross.

Third, we learn that God rewards those who are faithful to Him and His people. Esther's intercession changed the course of history and brought about the deliverance and joy of the Jews. The king granted her request and hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. The king also allowed the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies and gave them honour and favour in his kingdom. The book of Esther ends with these words: "For the Jews there was light and gladness, joy and honour." (Esther 8:16)



Let us pray that we may have the courage and faith of Esther, who did not hesitate to follow God's call and fulfill His plan for her life. Let us pray that we may have the wisdom and discernment of Mordecai, who recognised God's hand in history and encouraged Esther to act boldly. Let us pray that we may have the humility and obedience of Jesus, who gave His life for us on the cross. Jesus rose again to give us hope and victory. Amen.



Esther's example challenges us to ask ourselves: How do we respond when we face difficult situations that require us to stand up for our faith and values? How do we react when we are called to defend the rights and dignity of our brothers and sisters who are oppressed and persecuted? How do we trust in God when we are faced with risks and dangers that threaten our lives and our well-being?

Rev Gino Samuel Philip


Mar Thoma Syrian Church in Singapore

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