She was Reserved but not Timid, Simple but not Simplistic, Quiet but not Withdrawn, Humble but not Little, Spirit-controlled but not Self-controlled, Hidden but not Buried. These attributes seemingly don’t conjure up images of a heroine. They don’t seem to define the type of person who would put her life on the line for others, be a public symbol, a political entity, and a person of command and influence. But they are. These are the very words that describe Queen Esther, a woman whose body, mind, soul and actions affected reality and changed the world.
“Your personality type should not stop you from living an above-average Christianity”
1 Samuel 16:7 – But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
While she had the guidance and backing of Mordechai in resisting the decree that was aimed at exterminating the Jewish people, it was Esther who was able to execute the plan and who had the foresight and insight to know how it had to be done. This is how God can use, and uses women to perform great fits.
“You may have the hindsight like Mordechai, but you need people with insight and foresight like Esther to move forth.”
Esther is mentioned more times in the Bible than any other woman. Hadassah, Esther’s Jewish name, means ‘myrtle’, a tree whose leaves only release their fragrance when crushed. She released the sweet-smelling scent in the name of Prayer when the heavy burden of looming genocide started crushing her.
Psalms 141:2 – Let my prayer be accepted as sweet-smelling incense in your presence. Let the lifting up of my hands in prayer be accepted as an evening sacrifice – Her heroism only appeared when she and her people were in danger.
Revelation 5:8 – And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.
‘Esther’ means ‘hidden’: her Jewish identity was hidden for many years.
Psalm 17:8 – Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Her identity was hidden until the appointed time of the Lord.
The Biblical tale opens during a great feast of King Ahasuerus. The feast went on for days and on the 7th day, when the king’s “heart was merry with wine” (Esther 1:10) he commanded his chamberlains to bring Queen Vashti to him so he could show her off because she was cute.
“There are some people who will only notice your physical beauty, your physical attributes, and nothing else. They would want to take advantage of that beauty for their selfish ends. They cannot see more than your beauty, and when beauty fades, they fade from your life.”
Meanwhile, the queen was having a feast of her own for all the women and so she refused to come at the king’s command. In that state of ‘heart merry with wine’, the King dethroned Vashti and dismissed her. When the heart is merry with wine, some irrational decisions can follow.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:18-21)
The King had a right-hand man named Haman. Because of a series of events, he decided that all of the Jews must be obliterated. That included Esther. He manipulated the king to send out a decree that all Jews should be annihilated. He was willing to pay 10,000 talents of silver to those who did the dirty work.
“In this world, there will always be a Haman in your life. Somebody who is always plotting your downfall.”
After much prayer and preparation, Esther courageously went to the King with the knowledge that the King could refuse to see her and could put her to death if he was not pleased. As she approached the king, he held out his sceptre to her. He was pleased and so she was able to put her plan into motion to save her people.
“Courage is not the absence of fear; rather it is the ability to take action in the face of fear.”
However, this action is first built on the foundation of prayer.
Mat. 26:36-38-Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” Jesus’ action on the cross had been preceded by prayer.
Not only did Esther save herself and her family, but a second decree was sent out which allowed the Jews in every province to defend themselves if attacked and they did.
“Prayer will make a second decree to be issued, that will cancel the first decree.”
Our first birth in this world offers no hope. We are born depraved and doomed. Our second birth offers hope through Jesus Christ who clothes us with His holiness; not because of what we do, but because of what He did.
Proverbs 10:28- The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.
The story of Esther goes on, the most important part being her prayer and actions of faith that led to deliverance.
The Power of a Praying Woman
The initiatives of a Praying woman
The Courage of a Praying Woman
The beautiful legacy of a Praying Woman
‘When mama prayed, good things happen, When mama prayed, lives were changed, Not much more than five foot tall But mountains big and small crumbled all away When mama prayed’
How ironic that the gallows that Haman had planned to hang Mordecai on became his instrument of execution and the plan where he tried to have all the Jews killed resulted in his death. This is how divine providence works. If we leave vengeance to God we are leaving it in competent hands. We should never get between the hammer and the work. To take vengeance out ourselves is only going to detonate on us. We must trust God for He has told us to “never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom 12:9). This shows that we trust God to make all things right…maybe not today or maybe not even next year but he will settle all things because “each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Rom 14:12) and this includes unbelievers (Rev 20:11-15). At the Great White Throne, everything will be squared.
We learn from the Book of Esther that the Lord is always in command. He places His servants in the right place at the right time for His purposes. The Jewish people would certainly have been destroyed if the Lord had not intervened through Esther! Maybe God has placed you in that place for His purposes. Perhaps you are an Esther of our time. Possibly you are Joseph of our time. Perhaps, that position you got is for a divine purpose. Open your eyes and see beyond the natural. Reasonably, you may not need to be as influential as Esther, but that ‘small’ labour of love is great in the Kingdom of God, and at the Judgment Seat of Christ, you shall receive your reward.
Hebrews 6:10-God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shown toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Luke 12:48-but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more.
Sometimes the Lord begins moving us into these “right places” well before the time comes to accomplish the distinct task He has in mind. We must be open to His leading and ready to go!
The present state of Israel and the Jewish people should always remind us of this most instrumental woman called Esther. Her gallant initiatives in the Land of Persia (presently Iran), and willingness to be used of God, resulted in deliverance for the Jewish people.