I didn’t realize this until I sat down and studied the book of Esther, but in no part of the text will you find a name, title, or pronoun for God. He is never actually mentioned; and yet, his divine timing and planning can be felt and found throughout the entire text.
Esther’s story is filled with drama, power, and plot twists; but we will see her navigate her course with bravery and good judgement. This is why I call her the Courageous and Wise Leader.
As we go through her journey, I want you to be thinking about what makes her admirable. What makes her a worthy role model? I’ve broken down her story in to four pieces, but please feel free to share any of your own takeaways in the comments below, as this will serve as a resource to many!
1. Obedient // Esther listens to counsel and is obedient to instruction.
Esther 2:10 (ESV)
Esther had not made known her people or kindred, for Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known.
Esther 2:15 (ESV) emphasis added
When the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her.
Okay, before we dig in to these pieces of scripture, let’s go back and cover what has happened up to this point in Esther’s story.
King Xerxes has been throwing an extremely lavish feast for the last 180 days. Once it comes to a close, he then decides to throw a smaller feast for seven days within his palace garden. The wine is flowing and everyone is having a fabulous time, so the king decides to summon Queen Vashti so she can parade about in front of the gentlemen at the feast. The queen refuses the king’s summoning, which enrages him and earns her a swift kick out of the kingdom.
When the king begins his search for a new queen, it is Esther who catches the eye of one his eunuchs, and she is advanced to the best place in the harem with seven other women. During this process, Esther listens to her Uncle and never reveals her heritage or that she is a Jew (Esther 2:10). In doing this, she is able to gain trust of the king and is able to make known her people in the appropriate time.
When it is Esther’s turn to go in to the king, she does exactly as the eunuch has instructed her, and scripture goes on to say that she wins favor in the eyes of all who saw her (Esther 2:15).
In being obedient, the king falls in love with Esther and she wins grace and favor, then ultimately the crown.
2. Brave // She risks her own life to save her people.
Esther 4:11 (ESV)
All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law – to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live.
Esther 4:13-14 (ESV)
“Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all other Jews. For 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?”
At this point, Haman, the king’s right hand man has put a plan in motion to destroy the Jews. Decrees have been sent out to all of the provinces in the kingdom, instructing the people to annihilate the Jews in their land.
When Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, sends word to her of what has happened and the great mourning of the Jews, he encourages her to go to the king and plead with him on behalf of her people. But Esther is fearful of her life, should she go before King Xerxes, as we read in chapter 4, verse 11. While she is the queen, we have learned from Vashti’s banishing, that regardless of her position, her life is at stake – especially since she is a Jew herself.
Mordecai goes on to encourage her, telling her that perhaps she was brought to the kingdom for such a time.
3. She seeks Christ // Before taking action she seeks The Lord.
Esther 4:15 (ESV)
Go, gather all of the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.
Have you ever had a big decision to make in your life? A job change, a new move? It can be incredibly stressful. The fear of making the wrong choice is absolutely overwhelming.
Esther going to the king and asking for him to declare a new decree to pardon the Jews from being killed off is no small request. The fact that her initial response is to take a few days to fast before speaking with the king shows just how wise she truly is.
If you’re not familiar with fasting, it can often be described as what Christians do when they have a longing or hunger for Christ’s presence in their life. By getting rid of all of the distraction and junk around you, you are able to fully focus on pouring in to Jesus and seeking his will for whatever season you might be in.
4. Smart // She has a strategy.
As we see in chapter 5, Esther doesn’t fast than immediately go to King Xerxes and ask for him to pardon the lives of the Jews – she goes to him and invites him and Haman to a feast. She is literally going to fill the king with tasty foods and wine, completely lowering Haman’s guard, before she ever asks the king for her wish. And not only does Esther throw one feast for the king, but two. This gal seriously knows what she’s doing.
It’s not until they are in to the second feast that she finally asks the king for her favor. It’s also when she throws Haman under the bus for implementing his initial decree on her people. The king is so enraged that Haman is sentenced to be hanged.
So not only is person who was in charge of trying to eliminate the Jews put to the death, but the Jews rise, destroying all of their enemies within the provinces.
If this doesn’t scream God’s divine intervention and timing, I’m not sure what does. Because of Esther’s courage, wisdom, and obedience, not only does she rise to become queen, but she is able to save all of her people.
Now imagine what great things God would be able to do on your behalf if you acted out in courage, wisdom, and obedience.
So what about Esther’s story stands out to you the most? What about her life speaks to your heart in your current season of life? How can she be a role model for you?
Join us on Facebook as we answer these questions and share our take aways from her story on Monday, December 4th at 9:00pm CST! I hope to see you there! XO
PS. Gentle Spirit, Fierce Faith: Ruth, Gentle Spirit, Fierce Faith: Hannah, Gentle Spirit, Fierce Faith: The Shunammite Woman