I’ve been reading through the Old Testament for a few months now. I’ve rolled my eyes at how many times the Israelites mess up (before remembering I am just like them), and I’ve marveled at God’s deliverance over and over again. If I’m being really honest, I’ve also asked the Lord’s forgiveness in my dismissive attitude toward reading Leviticus and Numbers.
Esther is chosen as queen through a weirder, royal version of The Bachelor, where all of the contestants are required to have year-long beauty treatments before vying for the king’s heart in their fantasy suite one-on-one dates. Through a series of events and drunken parties, the king’s official, Haman, devises a plot where he convinces the king to kill the Jews. Esther’s relative, Mordecai, urges her to intervene and use her influential position to save the Jews:
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)”
That’ll preach, y’all. Mordecai had faith that the Jews would be delivered no matter what, but he invites Esther to play a crucial part. And then, in a really beautiful and terrifying moment for Esther, she agrees to respond with bravery and approach the king (without being summoned) despite her possible death (4:16). In the next few chapters, Esther goes on to successfully save her people, Haman is put to death, and the story has a happy ending full of ironic moments.
Before we wrap up and dismiss this as nothing more than a fairy tale, here are a few truths we can find all over these chapters:
Although God is never actually mentioned in the book of Esther, we can see His fingerprints all over the story. This wasn’t a random turn of events where the king happened to change his mind, but the story involves a beautifully orchestrated outcome where we see that God keeps His promises.
We see this all over Scripture, but the Lord can and will involve people who aren’t exactly role models to carry out his will. In Esther, we see Him use people who have violated the Torah’s commands in inspiring and purposeful ways to save the Jews.
I can’t stop thinking about Mordecai’s faith-filled words to Esther. He speaks with confidence in the Jews’ deliverance, but he also acknowledges that Esther may be the queen for a God-ordained reason. Esther chooses to trust and act with bravery in her role despite the possible outcomes.
We already touched on God’s grace-filled hand in delivering His people once again, but we also see the redemption of the characters. Where Mordecai was once in line for execution, his position is elevated. Esther was forced into the kingdom with seemingly no say, but she has the opportunity to raise her voice to save her people and contribute to a whole new decree. And any time we see redemption in the Bible, we know not to take that for granted because we (unlike Mordecai and Esther) have the end of the big Gospel story: God sends the ultimate redemption in His Son, which should cause us to shout all kinds of praises!
Friends, I am so blown away by God’s goodness through this story. Even when we can’t see Him or feel Him, He is there. The Lord will never fail us—we know how the story ends! He uses a bunch of ordinary and sinful people like you and me, and our Savior invites us to play a part in His kingdom. Because of all of this, we should walk forward with confidence in our callings despite mistakes or fears or doubts.
What gifts and roles has He given you? What steps can you take to use those gifts, roles, and passions for the glory of God?
Who knows…you may be positioned in that place with those passions for such a time as this.