Cross Words: The beauty of pleading for the lost

By Isaiah Pauley

“On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her. And the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman” (Esth. 8:1-2 ESV).

Taken at face value, everything seems to be going well. Haman is dead. Esther is honored. And Mordecai is promoted. But as we’ll see, Esther isn’t content. Even though Haman is dead, his plan to annihilate the Jews is still alive. So, let’s look at the rest of the story.

“Then Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet and wept and pleaded with him to avert the evil plan of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews” (v. 3 ESV).

Esther risks her life again. But notice how desperate she is this time. Talk about being undignified. Here’s the Queen of Persia, bowing at the feet of her husband with tears in her eyes. Why? Because her people are still in danger. And she pleads for them before the only one who can save them.

Commentators notice a relationship between Esther’s pleading for the salvation of the Jews and Paul’s pleading for the salvation of lost souls.

Notice what Paul writes in Romans: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (9:3 ESV). In other words, Paul is so concerned about the salvation of his people that he would trade them places if possible. And this amazes me.

In Esther 8, there is a similar sense of desperation for the endangered. And it makes me wonder how desperate and committed we are to plea before God for the salvation of lost souls. Esther recognizes a job unfinished. Even though she has been given victory over Haman, people still need rescued. And, oh, the parallel for those of us who have found victory in Jesus. The work has been done, but people still need salvation. And like Esther, we must plead our case before the only one who can save people—God. We must never stop praying and crying for those in danger of eternal death.

King Ahasuerus reaches out the golden scepter again, and Esther explains her concern (v. 4-6).

“Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, ‘Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked’” (v. 7-8 ESV).

Here we see the indifference of King Ahasuerus. He seems more concerned with what he gives Esther and Mordecai than the fate of the Jewish people. Plus, the edict previously accomplished by Haman is irrevocable, so the only thing he can do is allow Esther and Mordecai to make another edict capable of competing against it. This is what we see in verses 9 through 14.

“Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them” (v. 15-17 ESV).

Talk about good news!

Never stop praying and pleading for the salvation of those around you. Let’s learn from Esther’s example. Even though we might be saved, there’s a great deal of others who aren’t. I don’t know about you, but I want to see lost people come to Christ and rejoice!

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.