Esther was orphaned at a young age and she grew into a beautiful Jewish woman with a heart for the things of God. She was spiritually bold in tumultuously wicked times for God’s chosen people.
Esther followed after the things of God despite any circumstance, setback, or even an appearance of a hurdle on the pathway in front of her. Esther was living in time of the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem after the Jews returned from being held for many years in bondage in Babylon. They had suffered at the hands of wicked Babylonian leaders and now were free and eager to serve God.
King Ahasuerus was the king and leader of the vast Persian Empire of which Esther lived. This empire spanned along a great area of land. This setting of the book of Esther is of King Ahasuerus living in an area of his control located in what now is located in Southern Iran called Shushan. There were many ungodly fleshly acts and practices going on in this empire among some of the people; including the practice of concubines, divorce and remarriage, and marriages with a harem or multiple wives; likely from Babylonian influence during their many years of captivity..
The King was married to a wife name Vashti of whom he chose to divorce himself from soon after the book of Esther begins. Vashti was a woman who appears to have “became too big for her britches” and was openly insubordinate to the request of her husband. Vashti chose to not obey a command to come before him so that he, being drunken, could show her off to his house guests; right or wrong in his demand, the king was overcome with anger towards his wife Vashti for her rebellious nature towards his command. The king chose soon after to divorce her for her unruliness and poor attitude of insubordination to him. The king felt strongly this example Vashti set forth was lacking as a proper model for all other ladies in his vast empire who were influenced by her rebellious attitude. His divorce from Vashti was to serve notice for all other women who were inclined not to be obedient unto their husbands. God designed women and men to live in submission to Him and each other.
Now the king was in the market for a new wife. He determined she was not going to be just another wife but a special one, a virgin, chosen from among many available and eager women across his vast territory who so desired to be the wife of a king. This royal offer attracted many available ladies who enthusiastically jumped at the chance to be the king’s wife.
Mordecai raised Esther from the time she was a young girl. Tragedy had befallen her parents early in life and she lost both of them to their untimely death. Mordecai her uncle had graciously stepped in to raise this lovely young orphaned girl who grew into a young lady who was beautiful on the inside as well as having a rare beauty outwardly. Esther looked unto Mordecai as her father and he had done a fine job of raising her up right and he looked unto her as his daughter.
Esther had been one of the ladies chosen by the king’s men to come vie for this rare opportunity to marry the king. The men, who had been sent out to search for his wife, had glanced at Esther’s outward beauty and at once had sought to bring her, along with other eligible women to meet the king. These eager women were brought unto the king’s palace as requested.
Esther immediately stood out among this crowd of young girls in the eyes of the man who was in charge of keeping all the women in tow until the king was ready to meet with them. Each of the girls were given all necessary things to preparing them to look their absolute best to meet the king. Esther was given privilege, by the man in charge of this high number of women set aside for helping her prepare for her moment with the king and she was also given the best position in line of all ladies who were waiting to greet the king. Esther seemed to have one advantage after another fall in line for her as she prepared herself for her royal meeting. Even Mordecai, her uncle who happened near her as she waited, chimed in with sound advice not to reveal her Jewish heritage when she came before the king. Not to deny or denounce her heritage, but rather to avoid mentioning it to this Gentile king.
The young ladies were rounded up and prepared for visitations to begin with the king approximately one year after their arrival at the palace. This time span was to verify that they had not come to the king’s palace with child in their womb. King Ahasuerus desired the woman he chose to be pure and reserved for him. In this allotted time each woman pampered herself and lathered in oils and scents graciously preparing themselves to be both admired and desired by the king. They all strived to leave a remembrance of themselves before him as each woman would only meet the king once unless he called out for her a second time by name.
Esther went in unto the king without added encumbrance or attention placed upon herself. She felt comfortable and assured in her natural state and that it was not necessary for anything additional be added to make herself pronounced before his eyes. Esther had a natural simple beauty which came from the hand of God. Knowing this: if King Ahasuerus was to take notice of her it was to be for her natural loveliness given from the hand of God; not for any added showy glitz and glamour. This natural state made her natural beauty more remarkable and pronounced.
The king was taken; mesmerized by Esther’s God-given beauty. She was the one he so desired. This is a picture of Esther coming just as she was; without adding anything to herself attempting to highlight herself in any way rather relying upon her own natural beauty to shine forth. She caught the attention of the king forthright and he was so taken for her from the moment he laid eyes on her he dared not meet any more of the ladies making his final decision known immediately for Esther to be his Queen.
King Ahasuerus wasted no time in publically declaring Esther the new queen and bringing together the people of this province in a fitting celebration to mark this joyous occasion. He had found the perfect women to become his new queen and there was much celebration round about the palace for this special royal occasion.
A plot was hatched between two evil men who sought to kill the king. Mordecai had overheard talk about this plot as he sat in his normal perch in the wall near the gate and he wasted no time telling Esther who forwarded this message on to the king. This incident was further intently investigated and was found to be true; the two men were hanged for their evil plot against the king.
There was another inertly evil man named Haman who was promoted unto a higher position than all the other men involved in the inner circle of King Ahasuerus’s leadership. The other men surrounding him were to bow down showing reverence for Haman in his leadership role. Mordecai was not fooled by this evil man and rather despised him; refusing bow down to him. Haman realized that Mordecai was a Jew and this enraged hatred of him even further. Haman then began seeking to destroy all people of Jewish race, which were many in number, going way beyond his strong desire to destroy Mordecai, quickly enlarging it to include a hatred of Jewish people. Evil always flourishes when left to propagate in this world as contention bread together with wickedness always evolves into a greater evil unless it crosses paths with the supernatural power of God which is greater than any evil of this world.
Mordecai was able to get a message of this growing hatred against Jewish people to the attention of Esther. She had refrained from mentioning her Jewish heritage to the king but upon hearing about this situation it was difficult for Esther knowing her own people were suffering from hatred and cruelty beginning in the heart of one man named Haman. She realized the situation was dynamic and on the verge of spiraling out of control as the hate spread to others. Esther knew she had to do something to help her own people overcome this ungodly racial bias and hatred. She could not stand idly by as Jewish people were persecuted and killed. She asked Mordecai to have her people pray for her as she made a decision as to what needed to be done and how she could help as directed by God.
After much prayer and contemplation for a few days Esther came to a resolution for this matter. She must approach the king. The problem was that approaching the king without being summoned by him could mean great trouble even her death; but Esther was not swayed in this decision by a possible horrible outcome for herself; she was concerned for the Jewish people and knew that God would have her back in this precarious matter.
Esther decided if it meant her death so be it. The Bible records her brave conclusion:
Esther did not back down at the possibility of danger to herself or even death. Esther girded herself in her best to boldly confront the king; even revealing her heritage to him no matter any consequence or repercussion she may face. The king was never approachable on another’s timeline; only as he requested a person to come before him. Not even his wife was permitted to approach him according to her own whim or way. This would be like approaching The President of The United States uninvited; not in the best interests of anyone, including family, who would dare to try it.
Esther did however boldly approach the king in this troubling circumstance. The king was gracious saying:
This was like music to her ears. She requested the king and Haman attend a banquet she had prepared for them and the king agreed never once scolding her for her upfront manner and approach unto him unannounced. Surely God paved the pathway before her enabling her endeavor and further making the golden scepter available as the king promised to grant whatsoever Esther’s request may be. This was the answer Esther was praying for. This could only have come from the hand of God.
She wasted no time in making her request of the King:
The King and Haman did come together at Esther’s request. This led to another planned meeting the next day. Haman left this first meeting filled with his own accomplishment and the power and position of being the king’s “right hand man.” This self-importance caused him to overflow feeding on his own pride and ego. In fact Haman grew even more pleased, proud, and arrogant as he walked away from this meeting. However, he became enraged as he spotted Moredecai sitting near the gate of the King’s city and he did not arise giving reverence unto Haman in his privileged position before the King but rather remained seated and aloof towards him.
Now even an appearance of Mordecai enraged the hatred in his heart. Haman was unstable and about to explode in a furious fit of anger but refrained himself at this point returning to his home to ponder or mediate on this situation further. Haman called upon friends for advice who mentioned building a gallows for use in hanging those men who did not rightly reverence his elite power and position working for the King. This seeming to be a wonderful idea and Haman began at once to construct the gallows so that he could approach the King about hanging Moredecai tomorrow.
God intervened in the life of the King working through the reading of His written word to change the circumstances of this upcoming meeting with Haman the following day. God works this way in our tomorrows while it is even still today. Even interrupting our sleep if it be necessary to move us according to His will.
God had a plan for this meeting.
The King, Esther, Mordecai, and Haman all had a preconceived inkling of what was coming in events of this meeting. All of them had spent time contemplating about how the details would unfold. God’s hand was in this meeting; however, not all of them sought guidance and direction from God but Esther did.
God was in every detail of this day. He had been forming these particular events leading all the way up to this day for some time. He was in the youth of Esther, Moredecai’s parenting abilities for Esther as she was tragically orphaned, Esther’s marriage to the King, seeing all these pieces fit perfectly together placing Esther in the pathway to help her own Jewish people. Only God could fit these portions together making them build upon each other to honor and glorify Him and work together in saving His own Jewish people through the devotion and bravery of one Jewish woman named Esther.
The evil Haman was taken care of by God. He was hastily hanged for the wages of his sin on the gallows he constructed to bring death to Mordecai.
God promises mankind will reap what they sow:
Esther’s beautiful countenance and bravery worked to save the Jewish people.
Haman’s evil brought about His own death as each man is responsible before God.
Mordecai’s willingness to raise up an orphaned Esther unto the things of God saved his own physical life.
The King was used bringing about good by God through His wife Esther.
God was given glory and honor through the life of His servants who saved the Jewish people for certain death.
- Despite any adverse circumstances commencing in our life from a tender young age, as in the life of Esther; God has a secure future planned for those who place their trust in God’s ability to shape their tomorrows. God worked mightily in Esther’s life, perhaps even before she reached the age of accountability, choosing to allow God to dwell within her heart occupying the lead position in her life.
- Secondly the environment and teaching that surrounds a young child as they grow from a tender young age unto adulthood is of the utmost importance. Just like Timothy had his mother and grandmother; Eunice and Lois, Esther had family who passed on the message of God; an Uncle named Mordecai who contended for the faith in raising Esther up steeped in the things of God. Children are either immersed in teaching of God or fed lies against His principles and commandments by minions operating in this world. Women, alongside their husband, have a great responsibility to teach and model for their children the precepts and commandments of God.
- God often sends His own into valleys, into the fire, out on a limb, hovering near the edge, in a situation that is dynamically altered from that which they are familiar or comfortable; testing their faith, spiritual fortitude, resolve, and ability to remain temperate and steadfast amid a situation that is falling apart around them. God providentially placed Esther in a situation that had no easy answers and potential danger lurking around the corner for her and God’s chosen people. Esther took the situation to God in prayer, asked for corporate prayer, and weighed the options available against God’s leading before formulating a plan of action giving each of us an example to follow as we sojourn in this world.
- Many people choose to act first and ask God for help after the fact. Or they seek advice from the world, like Haman, falling flat on their face when their plans go up in smoke about them. I am sure you can think of times you rushed in to assimilate a situation according to your emotions or feelings or according to worldly solutions rather than aligning up to the supernatural power and eternal purpose of God.
- Haman’s arrogant and self-centered disposition and evil filled heart lead him to making a wicked plan to take the life of Mordecai; but God turned his plan upside down and inside out with Haman being the one who ended up on the gallows at the order of the King and swiftly headed to his own physical death.
- Esther’s communication with God and other like-minded people followed by her unwavering obedience to God saved the life of Mordecai and God’s chosen people; as well as cementing her Jewish heritage in her relationship with her husband the King. God can make all things work together in the lives of those who follow His will for their life; rather than operating according to their own emotions and desires and in enmity to the things of God.
- Lastly, Esther’s marriage to the King is an illustration of our own spiritual liaison with God. We come to Him to be united in a personal relationship upon His terms and not our own. We come to Him with nothing to offer but our natural state. God sees our real value and desires our utmost devotion unto Him; now and forevermore in the eternal realm.
Read more Women of Grace Devotions in this series at http://www.tclministries.org/category/devotions/