Give myself to You. That is what Esther did when she said, “If I perish let me perish for I’m going to see the king.” Esther, a young woman of strength and courage, gained the favor of God and helped to save her people. Esther, a woman who laid down her own agenda became an example to us all by her surrendering and submission to the will of God.
Hadassah, Esther’s Jewish name, comes from the word for ‘myrtle’ a tree whose leaves release their sweet fragrance when crushed. Esther’s true heroism only appeared when she and her people were in terrible danger; when they were between a rock and a hard place. What do you smell like to our Lord when difficulties test and trials try to crush your life? Are you giving off the sweet aroma of praise or the stench of complaining?
The name ‘Esther’ means ‘hidden’ star. Esther’s real identity as a Jewess was hidden for many years. You see, God has a way of keeping us in a hiding place until He is ready to bring us out to shine.
Esther was an orphan. Because of her beauty she was chosen to live in a palace and found favor with the king. Esther got comfortable in her sweet life; however, God who is all knowing looked down from heaven and said I have more for you to do. It is time to come out of your comfort zone for I have set you up for such a time as this.
We’ve have some key players in the Book of Esther. The following is a synopsis of the Book……….
In Chapter one, King Xerxes decided to display his abundant wealth for 180 days followed by a seven day feast. On the seventh day, King Xerxes calls Queen Vashti in order to display her beauty to the people. She refuses to come and is eventually banished from the King’s presence for life. A new Queen comes on the scene.
In Chapter two, Esther is chosen to be Queen. She goes through the normal twelve months of beauty treatment before meeting the king. How much preparing do we do as we go into the presence of our king? Chapter two, also records the good deed of Mordecai. He saved the king’s life by alerting him of an assassination attempt. This deed is recorded in the record books and later serves as a blessing for Mordecai. I want you to know God never forgets our labor of love and compassion. What Mordecai did was in God’s plan and God will reward in due season.
In Chapter three, Haman is honored by the king and given a high position in the kingdom. Haman is annoyed with Mordecai because Mordecai (who is Jewish) refuses to bow down to him. Haman’s anger against Mordecai leads him to plot the execution of all the Jews in the kingdom. But God who sits High and seeks low intervenes. Although God is never mentioned in the book of Esther we can see Him moving behind the scenes. Nothing takes God by surprise.
So in order to prevent the execution of the Jews, Mordecai calls on Esther to intercede to the king. The only problem here is that the king does not know that Esther is a Jew and Esther has no idea of how the king will respond to this news.
In Chapter four, Esther is reluctant to approach the king but Mordecai has some strong words for her. Chapter 4:14 he says, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Mordecai’s words pierced her heart; and at a great risk, she committed herself to follow his advice to intercede on behalf of her people.
If Esther had not stepped up to the plate, God had another plan. God always has a ram in the bush and His will shall be done. God also knows our capabilities when we don’t. Esther thought that she couldn’t rise up to the task but whom God has appointed, He has already anointed. Through the instruction of Mordecai, Esther realized that her life had far greater purpose than merely maintaining her own immediate comfort and status quo. Truly effective women (and men also) are those who are turned from their own agenda to God’s eternal purposes. As the Lord gave Esther the courage to take a stand she called for a time of fasting. She knew she would need the favor of God to succeed. As Jesus said some things only come by prayer and fasting.
In Chapter five, Esther approaches the king and invites him and Haman to a banquet. This is an attempt to get the timing right before she informs the king about Haman’s plot to kill the Jews of which she is one.
God’s timing is always best. To move ahead of God could be cause total destruction. I’ve had some incidents in my life where the Lord said I want this to take place but wait on Me. I thought God wasn’t moving fast enough so I chose not to wait. I decided to make this thing happen … moved in my time. Messed up everything and it took fifteen years to come through that bad choice. I’m still standing by the grace and mercy of God. But I tell you, “Father knows best”. So I encourage you to Wait on His Perfect Timing.
Meanwhile, Haman’s hatred for Mordecai is growing and on the advice of his friends and wife he has a special gallows prepared beside his house on which to hang Mordecai.
In Chapter six, God moves to save the Jews. The king cannot sleep and asks for the record books to be read aloud to him. The deeds of Mordecai in saving the king in the past are read out loud. In a supernatural change of events, the king asks Haman what should be done for a man who the king wants to honor. Haman, in his arrogance and pride thinks the king is referring to him. He advises a lavish display of wealth and honor to be bestowed on the man publicly. Much to Haman’s surprise the king orders Haman to do this for Mordecai. Can you imagine the shock, horror and humiliation Haman must have suffered!
In Chapter seven, Esther reveals to the king that she is a Jew and that Haman has plotted to kill them all. Haman ends up being hung on his own gallows. Life lesson: The hole you try dig for someone else could be the very hole that you fall in.
In Chapter eight, nine, and ten, God used Esther as a deliverer, the enemy is destroyed, and all the Jews are saved.
Esther’s life teaches us these vital lessons:
1. There is a preparation time.
She allowed herself to be prepared for the task. God’s preparation time can sometimes be long and uneventful but the refining of our characters is very essential to God’s plan for our life. We can prepare for the task at hand by prayer and getting into God’s Word.
2. We need the favor of God.
Even Jesus grew in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). When you live a life pleasing to God, by obeying His will you will find favor with Him.
3. God works in His own time and season.
Esther also got her timing right because she didn‘t go ahead of God‘s time. Maybe God has put it on your heart to do something for Him. Don’t just jump into it but wait for His timing. God will move in His time and what we need to do is remain faithful and alert to His leading.
4. Your background does not hinder your future with God.
Esther was an orphan and God exalted and used her. I was a total mess before God got a hold of me and I’m standing here today because God looked beyond my faults and saw my need. Your background does not determine what God can do with you. Your faith does.
5. God doesn’t always need an army.
All He need is a willing heart that will step out in faith and allow Him to lead.
We often find it easy to obey God when there is little or no risk or cost involved. However, when God prompts us to speak to a stranger about Christ, to take an unpopular stand on a moral or ethical issue, or to take a step of faith into the unknown we often become indecisive. Esther found herself in a similar fork in the road with only two options before her – – – – to deny her identity as one of God’s people or to offer herself as God’s instrument.
What will you do?