Read His Words Before Ours!
An orphan becomes queen and saves her people.
Sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?
But this was no fairy tale. It was certainly not some glorious dream-come-true for Esther. She had many obstacles to overcome, but her faith in God sustained her.
She came from a humble background, born into the Jewish lineage of Benjamin during their Babylonian exile. Her father and her mother died when she was very young, leaving her to be raised by her cousin, Mordecai. (Esther 2:5-7) However, her faith radiates through her humility; she is obedient to her cousin as if he were her father.
I like to think her humility was one character trait that attracted the favor of Hegai, the overseer of the house of women, when she was taken from her home and forced to participate in the king’s search for a new queen. (Esther 2:8-9) Think how it would be to live in a house of 400 beautiful women vying for the attention of the king. Yikes!
As Esther’s story progressed, she was selected to be the new queen (Esther 2:17), but she remained in contact with Mordecai (Esther 2:10-11). Therefore, Mordecai was the person to inform Esther of the king’s decree (made at the urging of Haman, a wicked, high-ranking official) that all Jews should be massacred on a future date. (Esther 3:5-4:7)
Though her faith is never mentioned, Esther’s integrity and faithfulness to God shine through her responses. Her utmost goal was to glorify God in all things.
When she needed wisdom and protection regarding the annihilation of the Jews, she requested prayer and fasting. (Esther 4:8-17) Long before letters to the New Testament church in Philippi would be written, Esther lived out their exhortation:
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Certainly, this reveals she loved the Lord and desired to follow His plan, even in a life and death situation.
Only after she (and the community) had fasted and prayed did she approach the king. Wise and brave, risking death by approaching the king unsummoned, she stood in the inner court of the palace. When the king saw her, he invited her in.
“‘What is it, Queen Esther?’ the king asked her. ‘Whatever you want, even to half the kingdom, it will be given to you.’” (Esther 5:3)
In her wisdom, Esther was patient. She didn’t immediately complain about Haman. Instead, she invited the king and Haman to a series of banquets. How clever to come bearing gifts, you might say, with no obvious intent other than to please the king.
At the second feast, the king again assured Esther, “Queen Esther, whatever you ask will be given to you.” (Esther 7:2) At this pivotal moment, she pleaded for her life, and for the lives of all Jews, accusing Haman as her adversary.
Wow! What courage! I’m sure she experienced fear, but God bolstered her courage, demonstrating how His power is perfected in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Interestingly, the Name of God is never mentioned in the Book of Esther, although we clearly see Him at work.
Why? One theory is that this bit of history was written by either Esther or Mordecai for the archives of this pagan nation (Esther 9:32); therefore, mention of God was left out. But certainly, we can see the hand of God weaving His plan through every step.
Though the life Esther had imagined was shattered the day she was abducted to the palace harem, God was with her, and she found favor with Hegai.
Though her future seemed to hinge on a single, forced sexual encounter with an unstable, arrogant king, God was with her, and she found favor with the king.
Though Esther grappled with danger, and fear, and the unknown and powerlessness, God was with her, bringing the salvation of His people from the silt of men’s evil plans.
God, as Master Author working behind the scenes, placed each person in the right place at the right time “for such a time as this”.
God is still working in the events of our day. At times we may wonder, “Where are you, God?” and struggle to understand why evil appears to win. Years before Esther, the Jewish prophet, Daniel, told King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon,
“He [the Most High God] changes times and seasons;
He removes kings and establishes kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those
who have understanding.
He reveals the deep and hidden things;
He knows what is in darkness
and light dwells with Him.”
When we arrive in Heaven and look back, our eyes will be opened to all the things God has done. We will turn and observe the “Behind the Scenes God” like Jacob did, “Surely the LORD was in this place, and I did not know it[!]” (Genesis 28:16)
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!