There are many things I have loved about the book of Esther over the years. First, the fact that it is in the bible yet God is never mentioned by name. God’s people, the Jews, are named, but not God. I find this incredible. It tells me the significance of the story and the way God is inferred to throughout it. Also, it is a story applicable to our time -- today, still, men and women still struggle with equality, and people still struggle with racism. Third, it is about real people, living at a real time, dealing with real life circumstances that challenged their faith, and they needed to face it. Finally, I love the characters, from Queen Vashti, a true-blue, steel magnolia, and Esther, Mordecai, the wicked Hamen, the king, and especially Harbona. This servant is a great behind the scenes guy who SEES everything and is involved all along the way. So -- let’s dive in.
As we are facing change here -- I know a year off, but still a real change to face, process and feel -- we can use the reminder that God is always behind the scenes, that no one bad is powerful enough to thwart God, and that together we have great ability to come through. It is helpful to have story with us in such times. I love the power of this story to speak on so many levels.
In my own life this has been the most fascinating season I’ve ever lived. Just the other morning, God highlighted a verse in 1 Samuel for me. It was Samuel speaking to Saul, then King, but missing it up royally. Samuel said, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king…” (15:17).
When I read this the Lord spoke to my heart reminding me how frequently it applies to me as well -- thinking less of myself than God does. Naming myself far less then the anointing names me. Believing my thoughts not God’s anointing. I think it impacts us all -- we can live to the level of what we believe in our hearts, or to the measure of what God speaks about us. I would rather do the latter! In this story a young woman, certainly with no thought of qualifying to become queen, becomes queen. No matter what she might have thought of herself in her heart, God raised her up. This is a picture of us, placed in a position of honor, of calling, of anointing, no matter what we might imagine be true of us.
This book tells us to live into what God says of us, not what we believe about ourselves. As Mordecai says to Esther, perhaps “you have come to your royal position, for such a time as this.” We too have been given a royal position, have we accepted it, do we walk in it, do we believe it, for such a time as this?
How much we need this at this time!
Stand. Be. Trust. Be the difference needed.