Esther was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. Her parents died when she was young and she was reared by a loving cousin, Mordecai. who brought her up as his own daughter. This woman was gifted with physical beauty and her cousin Mordecai’s wisdom. When the tribe of Benjamin was taken captive, she and her family were brought to Persia. This is where our story begins.
The ruler of the Persian Kingdom was King Ahasuerus who sat upon his throne in Shushan the Palace. The King made a seven-day feast and invited everyone. This event was filled with drunkenness, immorality and lewd dancing. On the seventh day, the inebriated King decided to summon his wife, Queen Vashti, to the feast so that he could show her off to his drunken guests. Vashti was remarkably beautiful, but she also was a woman of character. She refused to stand before the lascivious gaze of Ahasuerus and his drink-inflamed satraps. Vashti had world-famed beauty; but she lives in history, not because of her beauty but because she had character, she had respect for herself. To refuse to come before the King could have meant certain death for the Queen, fortunately Vashti only lost her crown. She had counted the cost, but she loved honor, her soul, more than life itself.
The King sent out a royal commandment that he would choose another Queen to replace Vashti. The entire empire was combed to find the most beautiful woman to replace Queen Vashti, and so it came about that this beautiful Hebrew girl, named Esther, became the wife and the Queen of King Ahasuerus. Thus the providence of God placed the beautiful Jewess in a position where she would be called upon to place herself in danger for the sake of her people.
The Prime Minister to the King was a man by the name of Haman. Although he was favored within the Kings court, he hated the Jews. Everyone within the Palace paid him reverence and bowed down to him except one man, Mordecai. This angered Haman so much that he became obsessed with the mission to destroy not only Mordecai, but also all of the Jewish people. His plan involved a lie which he told the King, that the Jews were the cause of all of the trouble in the kingdom… Does this remind you of another Jew hater by the name of Hitler? It was apparent that during their meeting, the King and Haman were imbibing and perhaps once the King was well soused, Haman persuaded him to stamp the infamous edict that on the 13th day of the 12th month all Jews of the empire would be put to death. However this was not enough for the evil conniving Haman. He had a gallows built on which to hang Mordecai. What Haman had not counted on was God’s intervention! God’s providence!
When Mordecai became aware of the evil intentions of Haman, he summoned Esther and counseled her as to what he perceived as her responsibility to her people and to herself. Esther feared to go into the presence of the King without being summoned. By tradition it could cost her life. Mordecai reminded her that if she held her peace that she and her family would be destroyed anyway. Queen Esther knew that if it was God’s will that she go into the King then she would. Asking for the fasting and the prayers of all the Jews, Esther accepted her fate.
Once again, God intervened and used the insomnia of the King to set in motion the events which would lead to the deliverance of his people from the cruel Haman. In chapters 5-7 of the Book of Esther we learn of the courageous acts of Esther which resulted in the execution of Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Since the edict to destroy the Jews had already been declared by King Ahasuerus, he made another decree that the Jews could defend themselves.
Perhaps the greatest truth that is brought out in the Book of Esther is that God’s purpose is being carried out in this world in the lives of men and nations and that the plan by which God uses is his divine providence Faith in the providence of God not only gives us confidence that the affairs of this troubled world are in his hands but also the strength and confidence that we are also in his hands. He is at the helm of the universe. and at the helm of our life.
Like Queen Esther, God has a plan for our life. Once we let this sink into our mind as Esther did, it will transform us into the servant he called us to be. This is a mighty and encouraging truth. We may not go up against the Haman’s of this world, but in God’s eyes our mission will be just as important in his divine providence
In closing, each year in the Jewish month of Adar on the 13th, 14th, and 15th, Purim is celebrated to remember the events in the Book Of Esther. On the 13th is the Feast of Esther; and on the 16th is Purim, which celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from the plot of wicked Haman.