Woman of the Bible: Esther

estherWe are continuing our series on women in the Bible in the weeks surrounding Mother’s Day by talking about Esther. Many people focus solely on the beauty pageant part of this amazing story of God’s sovereignty. However, when we focus only on the superficial physical beauty of Esther and the strangeness of the plot, we miss out on learning the supernatural lessons of faith.

In this story, you will discover Esther was far more than a beauty queen. She was an extraordinarily brave woman willing to put her faith in God at a most dangerous time in life.

For this blog series, we are referencing Life Sentences:  Discover the Key Themes of 63 Bible Characters by Warren W. Wiersbe. Dr. Wiersbe highlights a key sentence summing up the life of 63 Bible characters, including Esther. I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book for your own reading. It works well for devotional readings and study.

The key sentence Wiersbe chose for Esther comes from 1 Corinthians 1:27.

“God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

Esther was a queen, but a queen in this culture was not a strong position, yet God did use her to shame the strong. Let’s read on to discover how.

God Chose the Weak Things of the World to Shame the Strong

Before we talk about the happenings in Esther’s life, you must know the person the book is about. Esther was an orphan, a woman, and a Jew. In the place where the story takes place, the Jews were hated. In fact, the king’s most trusted adviser devised a plot to kill all the Jews.

Additionally, during Biblical times, women were not held in high esteem. Esther had three things going against her that would appear to make her weak in the public’s view. However, God sees what the world does not. He saw a woman of faith. He saw a woman who would stand up for her people and deliver them.

As Wiersbe explains, “Esther was an orphan, and she and Mordecai [her cousin] were both Jewish nobodies […] The Lord had chosen Esther to be His special servant to deliver His people from death. A nobody was about to become a somebody, in fact, the next queen.”

Esther winds up in King Xerxes’ palace for a beauty pageant, where she “obtained favor in sight of all who saw her (Esther 2:15).” Eventually, Esther becomes Queen. However, during her palace stay, her cousin discovers a plot by the King’s trusted advisor, Haman, to exterminate the Jews. This was a problem for Mordecai because he and Esther were Jews.

For Such a Time As This

Given her position, Esther had the unique opportunity to speak with King Xerxes. This meant she could tell the king about the death plot and plead for her people. If only it were that simple. No one knew Esther was Jewish. In fighting for her people, she put her own life at risk. When she corresponded with Mordecai, he pleaded with her.

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”                        

  – Esther 4:12-14

Mordecai points out how her royal position was orchestrated by God for such a time as this – for this special purpose. Too often, we forget God has placed us where we are for such a time. These words of wisdom from her cousin fortified Esther.

Esther’s Faith

Upon receiving Mordecai’s words, she displays her faith. Esther replies, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish (Esther 4:16).”

Esther, facing the most difficult confrontation of her life, asks others to pray and fast for her. She fasts as well. She uses this time to pray for wisdom and direction. Esther knows the risks involved in approaching the king uninvited – death. Yet, she is willing to trust the Lord whatever the end result may be.

Esther’s Courage to Act

Esther stands out as a woman of faith because of her courage to act. In addition to prayer and fasting, she acted on the wisdom God provided. It must have taken great courage to approach King Xerxes. The king established a law that anyone who approached him without an invitation would be executed, and there was no exception for the queen. Esther risked death before revealing her nationality or pointing out Haman’s diabolical scheme.

Wiersbe explains, “It took a great deal of courage and faith for Esther to approach the king: if he didn’t recognize her, that was the end […] She had to tell him of the terrible plot of his favorite courtier and then inform her husband that she was a Jewess and in danger of losing her life.”

However, Esther was willing to act on faith and courageously approached the king. He extended his gold scepter indicating his invitation, and she did tell him of Haman’s evil plan. In the end, the king had Haman executed, and the Jewish people were allowed to protect themselves. Esther’s faith and bravery saved her people from genocide.

God Still Uses Nobodies

Too often, we hear amazing stories like Queen Esther’s, and we struggle to see how it relates to our own lives. It’s easy to focus on her position at the end of the story, but we must remember she was a nobody when the story began. The Jewish people were under attack, “but God used a woman, not an army, to deliver her people from destruction (Wiersbe).”

When you feel like a nobody, or when you feel powerless, remember God is in the business of using nobodies in the world to shame somebodies. You do not need status or money to be used by God. Instead, recognize how God can use you for such a time if you walk by faith. He uses those who are faithful and obedient to bring glory to His name.

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