Esther is one of the most famous women in the bible and on reading her story, you can see why. This story took place 100 years after the Babylonian exile. After Xerxes, the king of Persia, kicked his wife Vashti out of his palace for disobeying his orders, he needed a new wife. He requested all the beautiful girls in Susa to be given beauty treatments and he was to pick the one he liked best.
Esther was Mordecai’s cousin. The bible tells us she was a beautiful woman. Mordecai adopted Esther after her parents died. Esther happened to be among the women that were chosen.
Esther was admired by everyone who saw her. The king liked Esther more than all the women, she won his favour and she became the new queen.
Mordecai was appointed by the king to an administrative position. He once over heard a conversation and found out that two enuchs wanted to assassinate the king so he went and told Esther who then told the king. The king had this account written down.
A man called Haman was promoted to prime minister by the king. Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman because he was a Jew. When Haman found out, he planned on killing not just Mordecai but all the Jews in the empire.
Esther helped Mordecai. She told him to tell all the Jews to fast and pray for three days and three nights while she did the same. That was Esther’s first resort before going to meet the king, putting God first. Esther was a woman who was willing to die for her people.
Chapter 5 verse 2 tells us that she won the king’s favour when she went to meet him. Esther made a banquet for the king and Haman. She was wise in her approach of getting what she wanted from the king and I believe this wisdom came from God because she didn’t just proceed to rely on her human understanding, she sought God first before making any move and we see that she succeeded.
In chapter 6, While the king was restless and had the empire’s report read to him, he realized that Mordecai helped stop his assassination and asked if Mordecai had been rewarded. Wow, just see how God works. This was not a coincidence.
Haman was a very proud man. He prepared gallows for Mordecai to be killed not knowing we was preparing where he himself was going to die. This was an amazing plot twist in this story. Haman thought the king was going to honour him not knowing he was going to honour Mordecai instead. Haman was ashamed, I mean who wouldn’t be. This is how God puts our enemies to shame. Your enemies or in modern terms, ‘haters’ will prepare a way for God to bless you without even knowing it. What was meant for evil, God always works for good for his children. We also see that very clearly in the story of joseph and his brothers.
Haman was hung on the very gallows he prepared to kill Mordecai on. we saw proud Haman crying to Esther for mercy. The king gave Esther all the property that belonged to Haman and Mordecai later became in charge of Haman’s property. The plot twists just keep getting better and better.
Esther interceded for the Jews by talking to the king, using her position of power to help other people. She could have used it to make other people’s lives horrible and just think about herself, but that is not who Esther was, she had a heart for God’s people. what do we do when we are placed in positions of power?
God works everything together for the good of his people, when He is for you, no one can stand in the way. God wasn’t mentioned in this book but we see his activity all over the story. He is always doing the work behind the scenes.
Something that really stood out to me when studying the story of Esther was the fact that Mordecai told her that even if she remained silent and didn’t do anything to help the Jews, their deliverance was going to come from somewhere else. You have the choice to take part in what God is doing for his kingdom or not, if you chose not to, He will use someone else and you miss the blessing that was tied to your free will and obedience. That has happened to me before, on several occasions actually, where I know God is telling me to do something in particular, like it is very clear and I am hesitant, I watched Him use someone else to do it, I just stood there looking. Esther chose not to be silent, she used her free will to make decisions for the good of Gods kingdom, what are you using the free will which God has given you, to do? Mordecai even suggested that maybe she became a queen for this very reason, it was no coincidence, and I believe so too. Are you willing to take part in what God is doing for his kingdom or not?
We see that Esther was living in a foreign, pagan land and compromised a lot, for example changing her name so people didn’t know she was Hebrew. in the world today, we also often have to make some tough choices when met with some particular situations, it can be complicated sometimes but we should be courageous, and faithful to our true king above all.
This story had a lot of moral ambiguity, there was a lot of drinking, sex, violation of the Torah(getting married to gentiles) but this proves that God’s protection isn’t based on our performances but his providence. The people in this story were not forward as moral examples but rather, as models of trust and hope. God works even in the mess of moral ambiguity of human history and uses the faithfulness of “morally compromised” people to accomplish his purposes. We also see this In the course of the bible in the new testament with the story of the Samaritan woman, in the story of Rahab in the old testament and many more. Just because something is used by God, doesn’t necessarily mean it is best or condoned by Him, we see this a lot in course of the old testament.
Let us be a people who are willing to trust God’s providence even if we don’t see it. No matter how bad things get in this world, God is committed to redeeming this world.