Approaching God in Boldness and Reverence
In recent times, I have commenced the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan and have passed through the Book of Esther. One striking feature of Esther is not only how that young woman of Judah became a bride to the most powerful king Ahasuerus on earth at the time, but how she approaches him with both boldness and reverence to have requests answers. These two attributes of boldness and reverence seem at odds with one another, but they work effectively well at once. Esther acknowledges that merely approaching her husband king ‘cold turkey’ comes with the risk of death (4:11, 16). This is an avid risk, but to us moderns it strikes us as eccentric given the warping of our minds as a resultof feminism: how can a king’s own wife risk her life just by appearing before her husband? She isn’t some street beggar or manager of a street market. Neither is she a cupbearer or a chamberlain or the king’s satrap (legal scribe) or shoe-shiner. She’s the king’s wife, so why is it risky for her to talk to her husband?! Yet even the king’s wife had to wait her turn and be summoned – she could not presume upon her status as a spouse. We see here that Esther’s language before the king is deferential and hierarchical: she says “IF I have found favour (or grace) in your sight”, she preambles before entering his presence, before even asking her husband anything. “IF it pleases the king …”, she preambles her requests, not presuming that her petitions will please him. She is a bold woman, but also one who knows her place.