I have very few friends; I know a lot of people and a lot of people know me, but I have very few FRIENDS. That word ‘friend’ holds a lot of weight in my eyes and everyone will qualify to be my friend. Not because I’m mean but simply because most people don’t know how to truly be a friend. Therefore, I place very high value on my friendships. So much that I don’t even view my friends as friends but as my family – and I treat them as such. I’m not perfect and I know it takes A LOT of patience to be my friend lol…and this is why I love them soon much! LOL (Hey gals!)
I’m reminded of Esther 4: 1-17 when thinking about my friendships. In this passage, Esther learns about the destruction ordered against the Jews and agrees to help them. Esther is in a place of power…as she is the Queen. Well, maybe not so much power as influence. Anyway…..although Esther and Mordecai were family, a couple of verses stood out to me in regards to friendship…and can be applied to any relationship actually. Like I said earlier, my friends ARE my family.
(v.4) FRIENDS are distressed just because you are: Sackcloth is a very course material and was worn as a sign of mourning. Ashes accompanied the sackcloth when there was national disaster. Mordecai was wearing sackcloth and ashes in mourning about the destruction ordered against his people, the Jews. The text says he was at the King’s gates in the middle of the city crying loudly and bitterly. Have you ever had that type of pain? Pain so deep that you have to cry that real ugly cry? I imagine this was Mordecai’s situation at the time. In verse 4, Esther learns that Mordecai is distressed, but NOT about WHY he’s distressed. Although she is unaware of the cause of Mordecai’s distress she immediately became deeply distressed herself. Her emotion came for the simple fact that she knew he was in emotional pain. THATS LOVE!(v.4) FRIENDS will come to your aid: Furthermore, we see that Esther sends garments to Mordecai to take away is sackcloth. I thought this was interesting because again she didn’t know why he was pained. She attempted to come to his aid before she knew exactly what was wrong. This can be viewed as Esther showing her concern as we already know she was deeply distressed. We move with a sense of urgency when we are concerned about the people we love. Her action could have come off as a pacifier to Mordecai, because she acted without knowledge initially. Never-the-less, FRIENDS will come to your aid! You won’t have to beg or plead for them to be there for you; they just show up.(v.13-14) FRIENDS will check you…and then encourage you: Now THIS is what most people, including myself (when being checked) hate; but understand that a real friend most certainly will check you. Look for the person in your life that is going against what you want to hear to feed you want you need to hear in love & truth! That is the person with your best interest at heart. I got mad respect for Mordecai as he checked Queen Esther just as she needed to be checked! Just before these verses, Mordecai requests that Esther goes before the King regarding the decree of the destruction of the Jews; and Esther replied in so many words – Negative my man! LOL. Esther was like no, I’m not about to put my life on the line by going to see the King uninvited (as it was law that anyone who went before the King uninvited would be killed, with exceptions made only by the king)! I would imagine that Esther wanted to help her people but was probably like “I’m cool, I’m the Queen, I aint really trying to get into all that.” Well, Mordecai stated his piece letting her know that she might be the Queen, but she is still a Jew. As if to say “Please don’t let that crown cut off the circulation to your brain.” Then he checked her on a whole other level, through encouragement! He spoke to the doubt within her and encouraged her to make the move she needed to make. If there’s someone in your life who doesn’t check you, get rid of ’em. Conversely, if there is someone in your life where all they do is check you, get rid of them too! A FRIEND is balanced in the checking and encouraging!(v.15-17) FRIENDS will go the extra mile for you: So after Esther is checked…and then encouraged she decides that she will go to see the King. I imagine that she’s probably in her head like “C’mon Lord! I was ard (which means alright in Baltimore slang lol) with my place in this kingdom! Now you want to use Mordecai to speak to me and tell me to help bring deliverance to the people. You gonna have to step in and help me!” Although she doubted her own favor with the King (thinking she’d be killed), she had faith in God – and she moved according to his will. Esther went the extra mile for Mordecai and the Jews as she put her life on the line; and Mordecai never left her side as he fasted and prayed for her.
True friendships are hard to come by, but when they come recognize and celebrate them.
Prayer: Divine Creator, thank you for first being my friend. Thank you for your unconditional, unfailing love. Thank you for your kindness, your mercy, and your grace. Thank you for the people you have placed in my life to be true friends to me. Thank you for entrusting me to be true friends to them. Help us continue to be a great friends to one another and allow our friendships to continuously blossom. Let this your word bless every reader; and if there’s someone reading this that has no friends, please show up in a mighty way. Reveal yourself to them as you are the ultimate friend. Help them see your blessings in every day with a heart of gratitude, and put people in their life that mean them well and won’t bring them harm. Give them healthy, meaningful,and long-lasting friendships. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
With love to my friends!
Esther 4 New King James Version (NKJV)
Esther Agrees to Help the Jews
4 When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry. 2 He went as far as the front of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. 3 And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 So Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed. Then she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther called Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs whom he had appointed to attend her, and she gave him a command concerning Mordecai, to learn what and why this was. 6 So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square that was in front of the king’s gate. 7 And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people. 9 So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.” 12 So they told Mordecai Esther’s words.
13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.