How would you react if you learned that your entire family was marked for execution? Mother, father, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins. Everyone. The gas chamber. The gallows. The firing squad. The electric chair. Everyone. How would you respond?
Would you do as Mordecai did? “When Mordecai learned all that had occurred, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, went into the middle of the city, and cried loudly and bitterly” (Esther 4:1). Mordecai’s actions reflected his inward emotions. He grieved. He mourned. He was distressed and afflicted. He sat in the town square and heaped ashes on his head.
Consider Esther’s reaction. “Esther’s female servants and her eunuchs came and reported the news to her, and the queen was overcome with fear” (Esther 4:4). She wanted to lock herself in her closet or pull the covers over her head and hide from reality. She was incapacitated by terror and trepidation. She “was overcome with fear!”
The Bible first mentions fear in the Garden of Eden. It was a direct result of Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God. With sin, fear was introduced into creation. “The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid’ ” (Genesis 3:8–10).
God commanded Joshua. “Be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Don’t fear. Rather, trust the Lord!
David, the Psalmist, worshipfully sang before God’s throne. “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid” (Psalm 56:3–4).
Angels appeared to a young virgin named Mary. “Pregnant? No way! Can’t be!” But “the angel told her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God’ ” (Luke 1:30).
When God commission young Jeremiah, he responded in protest. “Then the Lord said to me: Do not say, ‘I am only a youth,’ for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to rescue you” (Jeremiah 1:7–8). Fear not!
Paul wrote to timid Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” (2 Timothy 1:7). He also wrote to me and you. “You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ ” (Romans 8:15). God didn’t save us so that we could be slaves to the enemy. He didn’t give us a spirit of fear! He saved us and made us His sons and daughters.
God coronated Esther as queen, not so that she would languish in fear, but He called her and equipped her to rule over that fear!
Don’t be paralyzed by the bad news, by the scary diagnosis, by the disappointing announcement! Don’t worry about the enemy, but look to your Protector and Provider! “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go… Fear not!”