50 | 40 | 10 | Devotions Series: Jan. 15, 2020 – Rev. Amy Martinell

Devotions for the week of: January 15, 2020


Esther 4:12-17 (NRSV)

When they told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” Then Esther said in reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.


Esther is a strange book of the Bible. While it never mentions God or prayer, it does tell a wonderful story.  It reads like a melodrama that includes a bumbling king, an evil villain, and of course, our unlikely hero. The book of Esther takes place during exile when many Jewish people are living as a religious minority in the Persian Empire. Our story begins with King Ahasuerus, the ruler of Persia, who is looking for a new queen after he banishes his first queen when she refuses his order. His search resembles a beauty pageant – all the beautiful, young virgins are gathered at the palace and put through twelve months of cosmetic treatments before they are sent before the king. Esther, a young, Jewish orphan, rises to the top of the search and King Ahasuerus names her queen.

Soon after Esther is named queen the evil villain, Haman, convinces the king to issue a decree calling for the destruction of all the Jewish people living in the kingdom. Esther’s cousin and chief supporter Mordecai urges Esther to help the Jewish people.

Up until this point, Esther has kept her Jewish faith a secret. A woman, an orphan, and a member of the religious minority, Esther has every reason to believe she has no power even though she is queen. She rightly fears the king – just going to the king before he calls for you can lead to a death sentence. Mordecai encourages her to be brave and speak out. He wonders if she has been made royal “for just such a time as this.” Esther appeals to the king, and her bravery saves the Jewish people.

As we celebrate this 50-40-10 year, let us give thanks for all those who bravely spoke the truth and fought for equality even when they felt like they had little power. It is because of their bravery that we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women, the 40th Anniversary of the first woman of color to be ordained, and the 10th Anniversary of LGBTQIA+ siblings to be ordained.

Let us all set aside our fears and be aware of the places we may be called to take a risk and speak out for the vulnerable and threatened.

Pastor Amy Martinell
Augustana Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD


Gracious God, open our hearts and our eyes to the places you have called us for just such a time as this. Guide us to boldly proclaim Your justice and truth. Amen.

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