Esther found herself on the inside, a girl of beauty dropped into the midst of a political storm. Her parents dead, she had become the ward of her uncle Mordecai. She and her uncle were Jews living in the Medo-Persian empire, a massive conglomeration of 127 territories that stretched from India to Ethiopia.
And this orphaned girl became queen. Not through guile or cunning or seduction, like some Jezebel wannabe, did Esther come to the palace at Susa, the Persian capital. No, she really floated to her place.
She got there by being herself. Her grace and beauty won the hearts of all she encountered when Persian officials sought a new queen for King Ahasuerus.
Her ways delighted the king, and he took her as his queen. She was there in the palace to be used by the Lord. This flower of a woman would become another weapon in the arsenal of God.
What does the Lord use to accomplish His victories? Many things, big and small, as we can see in the Scriptures. We’ve all heard of David with his slingshot and a smooth pebble. He felled Goliath in the name of God. Moses carried a simple staff, a stick of wood. That staff would be raised to turn rivers into blood, to bring fiery hail from the sky, to call upon swarms of ravenous insects, and to open a sea and then close it upon the enemies of God’s people.
Once, the Lord instructed people to dig ditches in a valley. He then filled those holes with water so that at sunrise the battlefield appeared as if it was covered with the blood of dead soldiers. Israel’s enemies charged right into an ambush and were routed. Another wartime account has singers leading the soldiers with a song celebrating God’s mercy that endures forever. The music confounded those foes and set them against each other until they were all dead.
God did let Elijah call down fire from heaven, an awesome display of power, but in many instances He makes something seemingly weak very strong and so effective. In doing things this way, He alone is sure to get the glory.
The Devil on the Inside
Esther made a major difference in the palace almost immediately. A plot to kill the king was discovered by Mordecai, who sent word to his niece, the queen. Esther exposed the scheme to Ahasuerus in her uncle’s name. The traitors soon were caught and executed.
More trouble was afoot, however. For a devil and snake had come into the picture. He was Haman, an enemy with ambition and hatred for the Jews. This man possessed wealth and power and honor from nearly everyone. Mordecai, Esther’s uncle and guardian, was the exception in the Susa court. He feared God alone and refused to offer homage to this political appointee.
Haman, in anger, crafted a political solution; he devised a law and got the king to sign off on it. It was carefully worded for approval. To top it off, Haman pledged loads of his own silver to fund its implementation. The law targeted the realm’s Jews for execution.
Word of the law went out, and once Mordecai learned of it he tore his clothes, began to wail, and took on sackcloth as he lingered at the palace gates. Esther got news of her uncle’s demonstration. Her first reaction was this: she sent him fresh clothes. He responded with a copy of Haman’s decree and a plea for her to do something about it.
“Go to the king and beg his favor,” Mordecai told her.
Seems like a reasonable request – Esther was queen after all. Did she not have access to the king? Yes, and no. One had to be summoned to see Ahasuerus. To come before him uninvited meant instant death, according to the strange and twisted laws of the empire. There was one hope, however. The king could choose to extend his golden scepter in mercy and thereby receive the one who came unannounced.
Faith and Conviction
Doubt shadowed the young queen’s mind and heart. It’d been a month since Ahasuerus asked to see her. Esther related these facts and others to Mordecai.
At that point, Esther’s uncle made it clear to her that she was where she was for a reason and a purpose. He told her that she could not keep silent. Her grace and good looks won her a spot near the throne, but those things would not save her. Now, however, it was “such a time” for courage and conviction, Mordecai said.
A crisis never develops character. It will, however, test hearts and expose what’s contained in them.
Esther’s heart was found to be full of truth and faith. She took the lead and called upon the Jews of her city to assemble for three days of prayers and fasting. Inside the palace, the queen fasted along with the women assigned to her royal entourage.
She would break the law; she would go to Ahasuerus with these words in her heart and mind – “If I perish, I perish.”A crisis never develops character. It will, however, test hearts and expose what’s contained in them. Click To Tweet
Pray, fast, believe, and go with reckless abandon. This spiritual strategy proved to be a blessed one. Its success went above and beyond what any could ask or think. When Esther made herself seen, the king had favor, reached forth his scepter for her to touch, and asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.”
She said she would answer the king only after he and Haman would dine at a feast she would prepare. Esther’s plan included dinner with a devil. Jesus, too, had a devil — Judas — at His table in the upper room. He even washed the feet of that devil.
Once she had Haman at the table, Esther sprung the trap and unveiled his evil devises. Within hours, Haman was hung, Mordecai was lead counselor to the king, and Esther and the Jews were saved. By the end of the year, Esther was issuing proclamations of a new Jewish holiday – Purim, a day of rejoicing for what God had done.
What can God do with a flower like Esther? Save a nation, that’s what.
Jesus Himself instructed His disciples to “consider the lilies.” These fragile flowers neither toil nor spin, but God clothes them with beauty and with power. See Luke 12:27-40.
The weak shall be strong because of what the Lord shall do with them (Joel 3:10).