Did you take time this week of Purim, the festival of Esther, to read the book of Esther? It certainly is dramatic, isn’t it? This young, beautiful Jewess was taken from her humble beginnings and elevated to the position of Queen by a temperamental and pagan king. And as every drama has a villain, in the book of Esther, his name is Haman. As we look at Haman’s part in this story, we can’t help but be amazed at how a “big” person can be so “little.”
Haman was the prime minister, the second in command to the king —and boy was he proud of it! He was personally offended when Esther’s uncle, Mordecai refused to bow to him as he exited and entered the palace gates. Haman had always harbored plans to use his position to destroy the Jewish settlers in Persia. He now used Mordecai’s particular refusal to pay homage to trick the king into agreeing to destroy all Jews.
Haman deceived the king by describing a “certain people” who were lawless and deserve to die. The king, not knowing who the people were but eager to eliminate any people who were rebellious, issued an edict condemning the Jews to death. Because Esther had never revealed her Jewish heritage, the king has unwittingly approved the killing of his own queen! When Mordecai tells Queen Esther about the edict, she determines to risk her life to save her people.
What courage! What maturity of faith in the Lord! When she learned of the plot to kill all Jews, she knew she must go – uninvited – before her husband and plead for their lives. Her plan put her in danger because no one (not even a wife!) went before the king un-summoned without risking death. Yet her courage, rooted in faith, empowered Esther to boldly say, “If I perish, I perish.” The result? Esther’s life was spared – and so were God’s people!
Where has God planted you? What might your fresh new day hold? You may not be waking up to ideal circumstances, and you may not be in a place you would have chosen for yourself. But wherever you are today, whoever fills your life today, and whatever happens to you today, remember that it is God’s plan for you in His larger picture and bigger purposes.
Question: Can you put your name alongside the remarkable Esther, who brilliantly displayed the beauty of courage? Do you value the things of God more than the things of this world? Do you embrace the stance of faith, that, “for me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)?
For a complete study of the life and influence of Esther, please see my book, Becoming a Woman of Beauty and Strength. This study is a complete resource, including the text of Esther, discussion points, and questions that are perfect for a women’s group!