When our daughter was born, my husband, Kevin, and I decided to name her “Esther,” after two women who influenced Kevin as a young man. And we loved the biblical account of the Hebrew heroine, Esther.
From 486-465 BC, King Xerxes, monarch of the Persian Empire, ruled over 7.5 million square kilometres and 50 million people. Many Jews resided within the king’s 127 provinces. Among them, in the capital city of Susa, lived a Hebrew orphan, Esther, and her guardian, Mordecai.
After King Xerxes deposed his queen for insubordination, he sent commissioners into every province. “Bring every beautiful young maiden to my palace, so I can choose a new queen,” he ordered. Esther was among those chosen to meet the king as a prospective new bride. Because Mordecai had warned Esther not to reveal her background, she kept quiet about her Jewish roots.
The king picked Esther as his queen.
Although Mordecai was overjoyed that his adopted daughter now sat on the queen’s throne, he wanted to continue to watch over her. Every day, Mordecai walked up and down in the king’s outer courtyard, hoping to gain news of Esther.
One afternoon Mordecai heard of a plot hatched by the king’s second-in-command, Haman, to kill every Hebrew in the empire. “You must go to the king and beg him to reverse this edict,” he told Esther.
“But it’s against the law to simply walk into the king’s inner court without an invitation,” Esther said. “If he doesn’t want to see me, I could be sentenced to death.”
After telling her that she and all her family would also perish, Mordecai continued, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Esther listened to Mordecai’s warning and told him she would visit the king. “If I perish, I perish” were her final words as she said goodbye.
Courage and Faith
After fasting for three days and nights, Esther put on her royal robes and approached the king, who welcomed her into his throne room. Esther smiled calmly, inwardly rejoicing that God had spared her life.
“What can I do for you, my queen?” Xerxes asked. “I’ll give you anything, even up to half my kingdom,” King Xerxes promised Esther. What a temptation. Yet Esther chose to follow the plan God had given her during those three days of fasting and seeking Him. She invited Xerxes and Haman to a banquet. During the meal, the king repeated his promise to give Esther whatever she wanted.
“Just come dine with me again tomorrow,” he said.
Whenever we say “yes” to Him, God positions us to change lives through the love of Jesus. JEANETTE LEVELLIE
After Xerxes’ belly was full of food and wine the next day, he again asked Esther what he could do for her. She broke into sobs, telling Xerxes of Haman’s plot to kill her people, the Jews, throughout the empire, and confessing that she herself was a Jew.
Realizing that Haman had tricked him into signing the edict to annihilate every Jew in his kingdom, Xerxes left the room in a rage. He then ordered Haman’s execution, gave Haman’s estate to Esther and promoted Mordecai to his second-in-command.
Grateful and relieved, Esther’s people established the holiday of Purim, a three-day celebration to honour her courage and faith.
Miracles Then and Now
Esther is the only book in the Bible that doesn’t mention God directly. Yet we see His hand at work in every detail. He arranged for Esther and Mordecai to live in Persia. He turned Xerxes’ heart to choose Esther as his new queen. He placed Mordecai in the right place at the right time to hear about the plot to kill the Jews, so he could tell Esther. God showed Esther exactly what to do when she fasted and prayed for three days. And He used Esther to save His chosen people throughout the vast Persian Empire.
As I read Diane Stark’s story of how God placed her in a troubled girl’s life “for such a time” (see previous posting), I recalled when He used our own Esther to change a life.
During a low time in Esther’s life, her friend, Connie, texted, “Happy news! I committed my life to Jesus. I wanted to thank you especially,” she said, “because you were instrumental in my salvation.”
Neither Diane nor Esther might feel like they did as much as Queen Esther to bring about a miracle, but that’s not how God sees it. Whenever we say “yes” to Him, God positions us to change lives through the love of Jesus. The best miracle of all.
Author of five books and hundreds of published articles, Jeanette Levellie and her husband make their home in Paris, Illinois. Jeanette’s hobbies include spoiling her three grandchildren, pampering her cats and inventing new ways to avoid housework. Find her splashes of hope and humour at www.jeanettelevellie.com.
Illustration: Rivonny Luchas
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