Listening to “You Are God Alone” by Phillips, Craig and Dean while reading the book of Esther.
Some lessons learnt in this short reading –
Esther’s position in the king’s harem was certainly a position not to be envied or desired. Certainly not for a young Jewish girl who was pure and innocent.
How do you reconcile such a carnal practice with God’s purpose and plans of redemption?
The heart of the matter was obedience; and it always will be.
Esther, being orphaned, came under the care of her uncle, Mordecai. When the King gave the order to search for the beautiful and young virgins around the land, Esther was one of the girls selected to be brought into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Scripture does not mention if Esther was taken by force or whether Mordecai did give consent for her to be taken away (my bible knowledge is lacking, help!) but it does say that Mordecai had forbidden her against revealing her nationality and family background. Mordecai who remained protective over Esther constantly checked on her well-being everyday by pacing around the harem’s courtyard. Spiritual leadership includes consistency, and I can imagine how Mordecai’s visits must have comforted her as she underwent beauty treatments and special preparations to be ready for the King (though many women today would fight to be in such a position!).
Esther’s discretion and virtue was revealed when she followed the advice of Hegai (the man in charge of the harem) by not asking for more than what was advised. This brought her much favour with everyone, including the King.
So, tada! Esther was crowned queen. Her virtue, obedience and discretion won her a crown.
How different it is today. Beauty queens are crowned for their beauty, wit, intellect, charm and confidence.
Queen Esther continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.
What an example of submission and trust!
God truly works through imperfect authorities to lead us in His plans.
The key here is not about how spiritual or educated our God-given authorities are; God works through them to accomplish His purposes for our lives.
Our submission to imperfect authorities reveal our trust in God to work all things out for our good.
(Unless what you have been asked to do is biblically or morally wrong, but that goes without saying, isn’t it?)
Now, there was an evil man in the land, Haman, who desired to put an end to all the Jewish people in the city of Susa. (Memang susah lah!) By his manipulation and evil wit, he got the equally silly king to let a decree be issued to destroy them as they were an apparent threat to the country. (Hmm, this is beginning to sound rather familiar to what is happening in my home country).
When Mordecai heard of it, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and crying bitterly. There was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
This news distressed Esther and she ordered her servant to find out what was troubling Mordecai. Word came back to her, with Mordecai urging her to go into the king’s presence to plead for mercy.
Esther knew the consequences of going into the king’s presence without an official invitation. It could mean death, unless the King extended his gold scepter towards her.
Mordecai countered her fears by saying, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther in her reply to Mordecai appealed for all the Jews in Susa to fast for her for three days. When it was completed, she would go to the King. “And if I perish, I perish.”
On the third day, Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace. When the King saw Esther, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of his scepter.
Then the King asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom it will be given to you.”
Esther in reply, requested for permission to hold a banquet and Haman to be invited along. Haman had a great ego boost upon hearing the news, not knowing that trouble was round the corner for him.
On the second day of the banquet, the King again asked Esther if she desired anything. Notice how Esther had wisely waited without acting from impulse, anxiety or panic. With quiet trust in God, the time had now come for her to speak boldly.
Esther answered, “If I have found favour with you, O King, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life – this is my petition. And spare my people – this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the King.”
Note Esther’s deference and wisdom in making her appeal!
Aha! Now comes the fun part. King Xerxes asked Esther who that terrible man was.
Esther answered, *dramatic climatic crescendo of an orchestra plays* “This man is Haman!”
I wonder if Haman had diarrhea in his pants. (Please do read the book of Esther on your own as I’m having a little liberties illustrating this story in my style, haha.)
The King left the table in a rage and went into the palace garden. Terrified Haman how pleaded with Esther for his life and as he was doing so, fell on the couch where Esther was reclining.
Double uh-oh when the King returned and saw his close proximity with Esther.
This proved to be too much for the King, and Haman was ordered to be hung on the gallows that ironically, he had prepared for Mordecai to be hung on.
The story continues about the overruling of the dispatches of Haman to destroy the Jews, the public honour of Mordecai and the ultimate redemption of the Jews.
My take away message from this short reading and study is found in Matthew 10:39 – “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”