Night after night as was reading the scriptures and the scenes of Esther’s story, my heart longed to be a woman just like her. I was not much old at the time but hearing the account of Esther’s courage and faithfulness caused me to surrender my own life and future to whatever plans God had for my life.

Many books recount the historical and theological importance of the Jewish orphan who became a Persian Queen “Esther” and How strategically the God used her in the Persia. The question is who Esther was and why was she so important? Her story teaches us these valuable lessons:

1. God uses ordinary people.

Esther was born at a time when Israel was in captivity as a consequence to their disobedience to God. When Esther’s parents were killed, her cousin Mordecai adopted her as his daughter. Not only was Esther an ordinary woman living in a foreign land, but she was part of a minority race held in low esteem. So much so that when later she was chosen to be queen Mordecai advised her to keep secret her Jewish nationality (Esther 2:10 Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do so).

On an ordinary day God chose Esther to do through her what He had planned before she was even born. As a girl or woman; we need to think that if we have to be like Esther when I learned this fact I remember thinking, If God had a plan to use an ordinary girl like Esther maybe He has a plan for our life too (Ephesians 2:10)! Because the God works sovereignly in the lives of ordinary people who submit to His ways

2. She did not allow her difficult circumstances make her Bitter.

We cannot imagine the pain young Esther had to endure in her upbringing. In that tumultuous time she would have been one of many Jewish children whose parents died. Rather than becoming rebellious and resentful over her troubled life, the Bible says Esther was obedient to Mordecai as she was brought up by him (Esther 2:20 Esther continued to keep her family background and nationality a secret. She was still following Mordecai’s directions, just as she did when she lived in his home).

While some people who’ve grown up under painful circumstances tend to question God’s goodness and grow distrustful toward Him and others, Esther’s heart was tender and noticeably kind toward others.

When Esther was taken for the King’s beauty contest, she had no choice in the matter. Imagine, she would lose her virginity in the process and whether or not the King chose her as his wife, she would become his property––never allowed to return to her life with Mordecai (Esther 2:14 Esther continued to keep her family background and nationality a secret. She was still following Mordecai’s directions, just as she did when she lived in his home). With so little control over her past or future, another woman might have reacted by turning into a control freak, but not Esther. She trusted God.

3. Her Beauty did not make her prideful.

Esther Chapter 2 confirms she was indeed a beautiful woman. Along with all of the other lovely virgins, she was given access to 12 months of pampering and treatments to enhance her beauty.

We can only imagine what cattiness would have occurred amidst the harem of virgins awaiting their one night with the king. But Esther’s humble spirit shined brightly and she won favor in the eyes of all who saw her, including Hegai the king’s eunuch who had been put in charge of the virgins (Esther 2:15 Esther was the daughter of Abihail, who was Mordecai’s uncle. (Mordecai had adopted his younger cousin Esther.) When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her).

When the king summoned a virgin she was allowed to bring in with her whatever she thought would make her most attractive to the king. However when Esther was summoned she took with her nothing except what Hegai advised––resulting in a positive response from the king.

4. God is Sovereign over the Heart of the King.

When Esther spent the night with the king, God caused his heart to “love Esther more than all the women, and she won Grace and Favor in his sight(Esther 2:17 And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti. [19] Even after all the young women had been transferred to the second harem and Mordecai had become a palace official).

We can be encouraged knowing that the king’s heart truly is in the hands of the Lord and He turns it wherever He will (Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases). These days when all eyes seem to be on politics as our only hope, we can rest in knowing that God appoints leaders and uses them to accomplish His plan––whether they are godly leaders or not. 

Romans 15:4 such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

5. She needed Older Mentors.

While Esther awaited her night with the king, we observe the depth of Mordecai’s love for his young cousin as he daily sought to learn of her well-being. Imagine how concerned Mordecai would have been for his beloved Esther.

Once Esther was queen, Mordecai proved to be a God-fearing man with a keen sense of discernment. He told Esther about a plot to kill the king that he’d uncovered, which saved the king’s life (Esther 2:21-21 Esther continued to keep her family background and nationality a secret. She was still following Mordecai’s directions, just as she did when she lived in his home).

When Mordecai learned of another plot to annihilate the Jews, he asked Esther to implore the king to step in. When out of fear she declined, Mordecai helped her realize the reason God choose her to be queen.  (Esther 4:14) He said, “If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this

Titus 2 calls the older to teach the younger, which means God’s plan is and has always been to mentor the next generation how to discern and follow His ways. Wherever you find yourself in life, learn from Esther’s example to look to wiser, godly mentors to guide you through uncharted waters with eyes on Christ. And from Mordecai’s example don’t forget there’s always someone younger than you who needs to learn from your wisdom as well.

6. To be Courageous was not her first response to God’s Call.

Remember from whom we first learned the story of Esther around the campfire? He took extra care to recount Esther’s initial response was not one of courage. For some reason her reluctant inclination makes her––well, real.

We love knowing that this heroine first reacted how pretty sure we would have responded too. She needed a nudge from Mordecai to rethink her tendency to play it safe.

7. She knew where to find her Strength.

Once Esther took to heart Mordecai’s words of reason she realized her rise to royalty had nothing to do with her beauty or God granting her a comfortable life. Instinctively Esther knew to turn to God for her strength. She replied, (Esther 4:15-16 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: [16] “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die”).

8. She waited on God’s Timing.

Rather than jumping into action, Esther spent time in prayer, fasting, and waiting for God to direct how and when to approach the king. Unbeknownst to her as Esther and Mordecai prayed, God was at work on the king when one night he couldn’t sleep.

God used the king’s sleeplessness to cause him to call for the chronicles to be read. In this reading the king was reminded of Mordecai’s hand in saving his life. Which launched the king toward events that would honour Mordecai and pronounce an edict that allowed the Jews to protect themselves from annihilation.

Waiting on God’s timing is often difficult but His timing is always perfect. Esther’s story reminds us to watch, pray and trust that God is at work even in causing sleepless nights to those for whom we pray. Doesn’t knowing how God sovereignly works according to His timetable give you a sense of trust in His providence and provision?

9. She loved her People more than her own life.

“If I die I die” (Esther 4:16). Esther couldn’t have known how her powerful words of surrender would resonate down through the ages. Her love for God and for her people took precedence over her love for her own life.

How about us? Does Esther’s example stir in our heart a longing for her type of courage? Realize that her first response was not so courageous, but with words from her mentor and trust in God’s providence, she resolved to do God’s will. In the same way God can inspire us to live with such resolve.

10. Her Influence lives on.

Esther is one of only two books of the Bible named after a woman. An orphaned minority living in a foreign land. An ordinary woman who God raised up to be a Persian queen for a purpose she never could have imagined. And the same God has plans for our life as well (Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. [12] In those days when you pray, I will listen. [13] If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. [14] I will be found by you,” says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”)!

Through Esther’s resolve to trust in God, she influenced the king and saved her people. Her courage was celebrated by a feast of Purim and a decree went out from that day on, (Esther 9:28 These days would be remembered and kept from generation to generation and celebrated by every family throughout the provinces and cities of the empire. This Festival of Purim would never cease to be celebrated among the Jews, nor would the memory of what happened ever die out among their descendants).

To this day Purim is observed by Esther’s people. Her story inspires readers to trust God’s providence to sovereignly accomplish His plan through anyone who surrenders to His will and His ways.

God used Esther’s story to inspire many to respond to God’s call on their life. To this day one of my favorite messages to teach at women’s events is from the story of Esther’s life.  We pray God inspires us as well. Oh that each generation of Christ followers would learn from Esther’s resolve to live for God’s purpose and have the courage to say, “If I die I die,” but I will serve Christ.

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