By Alicia Searl, Crosswalk.com
Esther. A woman known for her courage. Her story has been touching the hearts of women for ages. Many claim this to be their favorite book in the Bible, and quite frankly, it isn’t hard to see why. Her story is not only impactful but proves that our God sees and hears the cries of His precious daughters. Not only that, but God can use us amid life's toughest trials to do very bold things!
Esther has quite the compelling story and leaves behind a pretty amazing legacy. One we can tuck in our hearts, begging to also live with such boldness; striving to leave behind a legacy that shows faith in action!
Speaking of legacies, my mother left behind one that reminds me a bit of Esther. While she was far from being bold like Esther, her gentle spirit and kind-hearted soul longed to love others with such passion, especially when it came to “her people.” My momma lived intentionally and with purpose. We see Esther live with the same intentionality, risking her own life for the sake of others.
Who Was Esther
The recap of Esther’s story goes a little something like this: Esther is an orphan raised by her cousin, Mordecai (Esther 2:7). The King of Persia (a man known for his need for women to make him feel validated) saw Esther and was immediately taken aback by her stunning beauty. Esther quickly becomes the new queen since the other queen didn’t follow the king’s orders (Esther 2:15-17). Esther, being a Jew, was asked by her cousin to conceal her identity (Esther 2:20). The plot thickens when a man named Haman has a secret plan to kill the king (Esther 2:21-22). So, a decree gets passed to destroy the “people of potential danger,” a.k.a.—the Jews (Ruth 2:8-9).
This is where the story gets even more juicy. When Esther, the orphaned child, embraces her new role as queen, it’s as if a new woman emerges. This is often the image we tie to Esther – a bold, awe-inspiring queen. Yet, there are many layers to peel back here. While we don’t see many of her emotions spilled out in her story (we will touch base on why this is later on), we can conclude she was a determined woman that was led by faith.
As the story goes, Esther and Mordecai devise a plan to reveal the truth to the king (Esther 5:3-7). Then as things develop and the sequence of events goes, Mordecai is eventually recognized and honored for his honesty and saving the king’s life (Esther 6:11), while Haman (the bad guy) is hanged (Esther 7:10). Esther asks to have the decree lifted and her people freed (Esther 8:5-6), and the king agrees. But the story doesn’t end there.
Whoa! Talk about some pretty intense drama…Whoever says the Bible is boring just needs to be led right to the book of Esther.
Digging a Little Deeper
As mentioned before, there are lots of layers to unpeel here. Upon first glance at Esther’s story, I am compelled by her noble bravery, but I am also left holding a bunch of questions. Let’s unpack a few of those:
Why did she keep her Jewish identity hidden?
Mordecai asks Esther to keep her family background and nationality a secret (Esther 2:19), but have you wondered why? I know I have. Maybe because he thought if the king knew her history, he would not have chosen her. It could also have been that Mordecai knew Haman, being a descendant of Agag, had a longstanding history of being enemies of the Jews. Yep, that probably wouldn’t have gone down too well.
Why is God never mentioned in her story?
Besides Song of Solomon, Esther is the other book where there is no mention of “the name” of God. However, both of these beautiful pieces of work show God’s hand all over them. Just like any other book in His Word, there is a powerful message. But, while there may be an absence of His name, there is not an absence of His presence.
Side note: There are references to God when Esther calls on her people to fast before she approaches the king (Esther 4:16). We see here that she is inviting others to join her in calling on God for strength and favor.
Who wrote this book?
While the author is unknown, we can conclude that the book was written by a Jew; some scholars even believe it could have been Mordecai himself. This is surely plausible with the take and tone of the story. Take notice of the last chapter; enough said.
Was Esther possibly afraid to approach the king with Mordecai’s plan?
Since the story is not told in first person, we don’t get a chance to experience “her take” on the story, but we can get a little glimpse into Esther’s emotions based on the context, setting, and time era.
We must realize that back then, nobody was allowed to even approach the king without his permission. In fact, doing so could potentially lead to dire consequences, including death. Yet, Esther boldly asked to be in his presence, not once, but twice. While we only see her bravery as she approached the king, she still did so with purpose and in a gentle manner, allowing him to be receptive to her presence. I am assuming she was filled with anxiety (as any of us would have been), but she also had bold faith, and her actions show she trusted the Lord.
What Esther Teaches Us
God’s timing is perfect.
"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 4:14
God has a plan and purpose for our lives, and just like Esther, He created us for this exact moment in time. Often, my daughters will ask what it must have been like to live in another time, yet I quickly remind them that God made them to live in this time for a reason.
We are living in turbulent times, which is easy to see, yet God has a purpose for us in this life. Seek God and ask Him how He wants to use you, then live boldly and fulfill the plans He lays on your heart.
We Can Take Risks with God
“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
Living a life that glorifies God will come with risky moves—you can be certain of that. You may have the opportunity to share your testimony with a non-believer or stand up for what is right in your workplace, but keep in mind that living for Christ will bring about rejection and even hatred from others (Matthew 10:22).
In our current state, the world is falling further and further away from God and His Truth. What would you be willing to risk to be a light for Jesus? Would you risk your life as Esther did?
Friend, God can use you to do great things! Believe that, and open your heart to Him today, asking Him to reveal ways you can live boldly and declare your faith!
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Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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