Sunday, November 20, 2011

Such a Time as This



Esther is kind of my hero.  She has a fascinating story and is remarkably, the only book of the Bible that does not mention God.  And while God's name is distinctly absent from these pages, his hand is all over her story.

Esther was an orphaned, Jewish girl living in a Persian culture.  She was young and beautiful and cared for by her cousin, Mordecai, who had become, for all intents and purposes, her father.  When the King began looking for a new Queen, Esther was among the women collected.

Plucked from familiarity, and placed among the King's harem. Because of her beauty Esther became the Queen to King Xerxes.  Esther would succeed Queen Vashti who had once and only once refused a drunken summons from the King.  The King's minions determined that the Queen would need to be deposed so as to not encourage any other woman in the kingdom from rebelling against her husband.  They considered Queen Vashti a liability who had the great potential to cause discord.  We never hear from Queen Vashti again.

When members of the harem were not servicing the King, they met the needs of the King's Eunuch who was in charge of the concubines.  Each waited their turn for the King summons, never entering his presence until they were called for.   The King had found favor in Queen Esther, but his affections were short lived.  King Xerxes eventually grew tired of her and time began to pass in between her visits with the King.

Meanwhile, some trouble had been brewing between the King's right-hand-man, Haman, and Esther's cousin, Mordecai.  So much trouble, in fact, that Haman convinced the King the need for the annihilation of the Jews and the King issued a decree to do so.  A decree was unlike our modern-day laws.  They could not be overruled or overturned.  A decree was written in stone - once issued, there was no going back.

The King and his men had not done a great deal of investigation in their search for beautiful, young virgins.  Clearly, no lineage was researched because the King and his Administration never had any idea Esther was a Jew. 

The decree was issued and Esther's cousin, Mordecai, began to publicly mourn.  Esther sent her servant to investigate the source of Mordecai's grief and the servant came back with a full story and a copy of the decree along with a pleading from her cousin to intercede on behalf of her people.  Esther was astonished Mordecai would make such a request with full knowledge the law states no person is to initiate a visit the King.  To do so meant to risk death. 

Esther sent exactly that message back to Mordecai while also advising him that 30 days had passed since she had last been called by the King.   Mordecai replied with only this,  "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?”

In other words: You can sit down and quietly wait to for someone else to do what you should or you can be dauntless and risk everything to take a righteous stand and do what you were called to do.  

Esther was, in fact, valiant.  She eventually approached the King who once again found favor with her and justly and promptly took care of the matter, rescuing the Jews from annihilation. 

Esther did what we all need to.  She dug deep and looked to God for strength. She fasted for clarity,  prayed and asked for intercessory prayer for discernment and direction and afterward she answered her calling in a way that was fearless.

God used Esther - a girl -to protect his people.  Makes me excited to be a woman.  It really does. It demonstrates God's value for my place in this world.  While some men prefer us to be quiet, especially in our churches, God clearly says to me, I created you to do my work and that, my daughter, is above all else.

I want to be like Esther.  Prayerful and fearless and fueled by a courage that only God can dispense.   

Look around you.  Where have you been called to speak up?  Does God have you positioned where you are at for a reason?   Perhaps he has you right where he wants you and girl, you might be there for such a time as this.

2 comments:

  1. No one gives a better example of how to treat women than Jesus! He appeared to women first when he was resurrected. He made sure his mom was cared for. He spoke with Samaritan woman at the well in the heat of the day when she was shunned by others.

    It would be nice if more Christian men took His example as their own.

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