The book of Esther is the story of a young Jewish woman who became a queen and saved her people from annihilation.
Jews were not well liked in King Ahazuerus’ kingdom because they worshipped their God in a way that prevented them from bowing to the whims of the king or his cohorts.
Mordecai, Esther’s uncle and adoptive father, had insulted Haman, the king’s top official, not once but twice by not bowing to him. Haman was so angered the first time that he convinced the king to have all Jews in the kingdom killed. After Mordecai’s second incident, Haman built gallows to hang Mordecai. The king had already decreed that all Jews be killed at the end of the year. But Haman felt so disrespected that he wanted Mordecai dead now.
After the king’s the decree to have all the Jews killed, Mordecai asked Esther to speak to the king. She would have to risk her life to approach the king and risk it even further by exposing herself to him as a Jew. She was not excited about this prospect. She knew what had happen to her predecessor, Queen Vashti. Mordecai told her, “Perhaps this is the reason why you were made queen.”
This was a great time to pull out the poor-pitiful-me pouty face. “Why is this happening to me? I get exalted to queen of the kingdom and now I must risk it all to save my people.”
Esther, an honorable woman, decided to fast and pray and asked Mordecai to have all the Jews in the capital city of Shushan to pray and fast for three days too.
After the three days, she had a plan, put her trust in God, and resolved, “if I perish, I perish.” In the end the Jews were spared, and Haman was hanged on the very gallows he constructed for Mordecai.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 NIV
Have you ever encountered some bad luck or challenge right after you received a big blessing? You might think, “This is of the work of the devil. He is trying to steal my blessing.” Yes, it’s true the devil and his cohorts are always working to steal, kill, and destroy. But maybe you “won the lottery of life” so to speak, so you could be used to counteract those plans. And think about this, just because things don’t seem to be lining up your way, does not mean that God is not in it.
Both Esther and Mordecai could have gotten so discouraged that they gave up. They could have taken their eyes off their God and looked at the circumstances and done nothing. But they didn’t – they trusted their God; they didn’t lean on their own human understanding of the situation.
The story of Esther takes place about 50 years after the Babylonian captivity ended. Some Jews went back to Israel, some stayed behind. Right before they went into captivity Yehovah through Jeremiah spoke these famous words:
This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Jeremiah 29:10-14 NIV
All Things Work Together for Good
Let’s learn to look at our blessings and our bad times differently. Our blessings are to be shared with others. Our bad times are to show us that God can do mighty things. We shouldn’t be so quick to assume when things don’t go the way we think they should that God isn’t in it or that He can’t or won’t use it to bring about His purpose. If we fear not and trust in God, maybe He will use us to some small degree as He used Esther.
We can’t take anything in this life with us – except our righteous deeds. We are instructed to store up riches in heaven – where our heart should be focused. We are going Home one day. This life here on earth is temporary and nothing, good or bad, can be compared with the glory and splendor of living in the actual presence of our God and King.
Let’s not hold on so tightly to the things of this life, the things of this world. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on the prize and endure to the end.
Perhaps Paul had Jeremiah 29 in mind when he wrote…
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 NKJV
Read the book of Esther this week. How would you react if you were in her shoes? Have you had a situation that seemed hopeless, and God used it to bring blessings to you or others? Let us know in the comments. Let’s rejoice together.
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