Turn The Tables With Fasting
Gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. Esther 4:16 NIV
Desperate times call for desperate measures. This was truly the case with Queen Esther. Her story is all about the Jews who remained exiled in Persia (modern-day Iran). This account takes place 30 years before Nehemiah’s return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall; it is sandwiched between Ezra chapters 6 and 7, after the first return of Jewish exiles to Jerusalem from Babylon/Persia, but before the second return led by Ezra.
The book of Esther begins and ends with a feast, and contains a total of ten feasts. Most of the book’s drama unfolds around these banquets, but everything changes with one key three-day fast.
Haman (the villain of the story) helps to initiate an edict to be authorized that spelled out doomsday for the Jewish people: “Letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day...and to plunder their possessions” (Esther 3:13). This edict was established “in the month of April during the twelfth year of King Xerxes’ reign...to determine the best day and month to take action. And the day selected was March 7, nearly a year later.” (3:7)
So Israel had nearly a full year to respond, but they acted quickly. Mordecai, the older cousin of Esther, who adopted her as his daughter and raised her, learned of the edict and the people responded with a time of fasting in every province. (Esther 4:3)
Queen Esther finds out about the edict’s details from Mordecai, who encourages her to initiate relief and deliverance for the Jews with his well-known question to Esther, “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (v14)
Esther instructs all the Jews to fast: “Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king. And if I perish, I perish.” (v16)
Do you have an urgent need in your life or in your family? Is there a life-or-death situation that you or someone you love is facing? Cancer? Divorce? Crippling debt? Job loss? A family member destroying their life with sin and disobedience? Depression? Anxiety? Addictions? Suicidal thoughts?
Life, death, and eternity can hang in the balance for someone or some situation in your life right now. This could be a “such a time as this” moment for you to fast and pray and see the tables turned in your favor with God’s favor!
The story ends when Haman (the villain) is hanged on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai! (7:10). Fast-forward a year from when the edict was authorized and the “day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them…the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand…and struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them” (9:1,5).
Believe God for this same kind of miracle turn-around in your life!
PRAY THIS OUT LOUD
Father, I’m all in with You! You are my only hope. If You don’t come through for me, I’m finished. I trust You to turn the tables! I believe that You will deliver me and my family and give us the upper hand over the enemy, in Jesus Name!
What verse or phrase from today’s Scripture reading was the most meaningful to me? What key truths or observations stand out to me in today’s story of fasting? How does the Holy Spirit want to apply this to my life today?
This is reproduced from Griffin, Chris. Fasting For Breakthrough: A 21-Day Biblical Roadmap for Fasting and Prayer (p. 56). BookBaby. Kindle Edition.