God’s call to advocacy — to plead another’s cause — is spread across the pages of the Bible, and we see powerful stories of Biblical characters who put that call into action. In both the Old and New Testaments, God calls on advocates to speak boldly, whether or not they believe they’re qualified. Each of the six advocates below combines their faith in God with a unique advocacy strategy, and God uses them all powerfully to bring about justice.
Queen Esther (Esther 1-10)
When Esther’s story begins, she and her people are living as exiles in Persia. She’s just a regular Jewish girl being raised by her uncle Mordecai when she is brought to the palace because of her beauty. It seems that King Xerxes needs a new queen after he angrily banished the last one. He chooses Esther to be queen, and suddenly she’s living a completely new life in which one knows her background.
The plot thickens quickly for Esther — one of the king’s royal officials, Haman, hatches a plot to have all the Jews killed. Mordecai finds out about the plot and asks Esther to petition the king to stop it.
But she’s afraid — no one is allowed to approach the king without a summons or they’ll be put to death. If the king extends his scepter, the petitioner can live, but there’s no guarantee. Even as the queen, speaking out would put Esther’s life in danger.
But Mordecai challenges her:
“ For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” — Esther 4:14
So, Esther, has her people fast and pray, and when she risks her life by approaching the king. The king extends the scepter to Esther and promises to grant her request, but Esther has a strategy. She doesn’t ask right away. First, she invites the king to a banquet — and then to a second banquet. Finally, she makes her request: that the king spares her people’s lives.
The king grants her request and Haman, who wanted the Jews destroyed in the first place, is killed.
Esther’s advocacy saved the lives of her people. She used prayer and fasting, relationship building, and even food as her strategy to inspire the king toward compassion.