“Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)
This is the courageous testimony of Queen Esther as she prepared to risk her own life in order to save the lives of her people. It was a capital crime for anyone to intrude into the king’s throne room unbidden, but she was willing to do so in order to do the will of God, knowing that “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
In the same spirit, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to enter the fiery furnace rather than to worship the humanistic gods of Babylon, testifying to Nebuchadnezzar that “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king. . . . that we will not serve thy gods” (Daniel 3:17-18).
God did deliver Esther and the three Jewish youths, but there have been many through the ages who have died for their faith rather than deny their faith. All the apostles (save John) died as martyrs, for example, and so have countless others throughout the centuries. “They loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11), if it meant denying their Savior.
Believers in many nations are suffering such persecutions even today, and the time is coming when the last great God-rejecting king of the earth (called the “beast” in Scripture) will “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:15). If a similar choice should ever confront us, may God give us the grace to say with Paul that “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20), and with Esther: “If I perish, I perish.” HMM