Esther is one of my favourite stories in the bible – such a testament of God’s faith working in subtle, yet impacting ways. Esther wasn’t a prophet, nor did she fight battles or lead people out of slavery. She (gurl power, sista’s), was used by God in simple ways, with amazing results.
So King Xerxes, after some issues with his wife, decided he was looking for a new lady in his life. Instead of giving online dating a try, he demanded that all beautiful women were brought to the palace, given a Next Top Model makeover, and presented to him to choose. Esther, a Jewish girl who was raised by her cousin Mordecai, was called to the palace also.
Everyone who met her was intrigued by her. Her beauty stood out from the others, and it stemmed from the inside. The King was infatuated by her as well, and she slowly became more and more popular. But, she kept it a secret from everyone that she was a Jew, under the advice of Mordecai.
So cousin Mordecai one day overheard some guards plotting to assassinate the king, and told Esther to warn him. She told the King, and credited Mordecai, and the King was saved. He was so thankful to Esther, and to Mordecai, and had a lot of respect for both of them.
So at this time, a new King’s advisor was hired by the name of Haman. Haman was given so much honour and respect from the King that people were required to kneel down when he would walk past. Mordecai, as a Jew who worshiped God, refused to kneel down. This put a dent in Haman’s ego, and when he found out Mordecai was a Jew, he decided his revenge was to kill every single Jew in the nation. The King trusted him, so when Haman brought this plan to his attention (covered in flattery and lies), the King gave him permission to do whatever he wanted.
Mordecai was absolutely distraught, as were all the Jews, and they grieved for their lives. When Esther found out, and spoke to Mordecai (through a messenger), he begged her to go to the King and plead for the lives of her people. But there were some problems with this:
1st – The punishment for going to see the King without an invitation was, pretty plainly, death. Unless she was summoned, there was no speaking to the King.
2nd – No one, especially the King and his advisors, knew that Esther was a Jew, so to do this would mean they would find out, which would mean…
3rd – When they knew she was a Jew she’d be put to death also.
But when she gave Mordecai these reasons why she couldn’t help, he replied with one of the most-used challenges we are given from the Old Testament.
What if she was given this royal position for such a time as this?
What if the sole purpose of the last few years was so that she was able to save her family, her friends, and her own life? Because, as Mordecai explained, she was not exempt from this rule, and they would find her and kill her as well.
So Esther decided to do it! She went to the King and he greeted her happily (1st problem gone). She requested a banquet for herself, the King and Haman for the next couple of nights and everything was working out perfectly. She planned to reveal her identity and request the Jews to be spared on the second night of the banquet. At this time, Mordecai was really annoying Haman, so he made plans to kill Mordecai right before dinner! But, because God’s timing is the best timing, it just happened that the night before, the King couldn’t sleep. He started reading about all the things that had happened while he was king, and came across the account of Mordecai saving his life. He asked if anything had been done to thank Mordecai, and found out it hadn’t.
So at the same time Haman planned to kill Mordecai, the King gave him riches and robes, and he rode around on a horse, because the King was so thankful to him for saving his life!
At the dinner, Esther revealed that she was a Jew, and her family had been put to death, and because the King was pretty oblivious as to what Haman had done, he was furious at his advisor for putting this punishment through. The Jews were saved, and so was Esther, and Haman faced the same fate he’d planed for Mordecai.
God’s timing is incredible, and his power is immense when He works through us. We hear so much about nature-defying miracles in the Old Testament, but sometimes it is the simple power of listening, trusting, and following God’s advice that has a ripple effect of His power.