Scepter reading: Esther 4:12-16
Esther enters the story today. She isn’t in Jesus’ genealogy but she is essential to the line of the Israel. Because of her position she is able to save her people from death.
Esther’s story begins after the fall of both the Northern and Southern kingdoms of Israel. She was of the tribe of Benjamin. This puts her outside of Jesus’ lineage, which traces back through Judah. She is an orphan growing up under the care of her uncle while living in captivity. They were under Persian rule in the city of Susa.
The king of the time was having trouble with his queen and needed to replace her. ALL young virgins were rounded up for the king to ‘try before you buy’. Esther was among them. She was beautiful and had a way of winning the hearts of those who knew her. Beauty both inside and out.
She is ultimately chosen to be the new queen by the king. He loved her greatly. I wonder if her heritage gave her beauty that was different than what was normally seen in this region. Did she have a dark mysteriousness to her features? Was it her laugh or voice that won the king over? Did her personality shine through? Was her personality one overflowing with love for her fellow man? Whatever it was made her stand out and steal the king’s heart.
Esther was told not to disclose her nationality. And she obeyed. She stayed silent until her voice was required. Esther’s voice was required when Haman, an enemy of her uncle, devised a plan to kill ALL the Jews in the kingdom. Haman did this out of spite, pride and envy. He didn’t want revenge on the one man who he believed wronged him but on ALL his people.
Haman sold the king on his plan. Of course the king didn’t realize what was behind it or that Esther was a member of this group. She still hadn’t told him. While hiding in plain sight though, Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, saved the king’s life. This piece too was left out of Haman’s ‘sales pitch’ for destruction of the Jews.
We know that Esther, taking her life in her own hands, asked for an audience with the king and revealed all Haman had planned. Haman was then dispatched from this world the same way he planned for Mordecai to go.
There are two things that made Esther’s story so memorable. The first is her obedience to her uncle. She kept her secret until he told her to reveal it. We aren’t told she lied to the king but she somehow found a way to obey her uncle and keep her integrity.
The second thing that makes Esther’s story remarkable is her placement in history. She was in the right place at the right time to save her people. It could be said that Mordecai being at the gate is what got Haman’s attention and his being at the gate was a result of Esther. But it could also be that Haman would have found a way to kill the Jews even if Mordecai’s behavior hadn’t been pointed out to him. Haman was an arrogant and spiteful man. His desire to kill ALL Jews for Mordecai’s actions shows his true nature. That he found a wife and raised his family to share his own sense of entitlement leaves me shaking my head.
Esther was moved by ‘circumstances’ to this land, to this kingdom, to this city, and to this king for this day. Those ‘circumstances’ bear the fingerprints of God. HE watched over His people, even when they were in the midst of punishment for rejecting Him. He spared their lives by placing Esther in the palace. He also gave her astounding beauty, inside and out, to win the heart of the king.
God KNEW the needs of His people before they even arose.
God did the same with the young couple who would welcome His Son into their hearts, home, and lives. Jesus’ earthly parents were placed EXACTLY where they needed to be at EXACTLY the right time for His plan to be fulfilled. Even the wise men from the east who would come two years after His birth with gifts that would fund the little family’s flight followed God’s timing.
God still works the same way today. I have MANY stories of His timing in my life. I also have MANY stories in my life where I felt He was taking too long to answer my prayers. Guess what; MOST of the stories from the categories listed are one and the same. HE knows when and how to answer my prayers. Sometimes that answer is even ‘No’ but the answer, whatever it is, is ALWAYS best. I may not see it for some time but when I do I am blown away with wonder and love.
As surely as Esther and Mary were where they needed to be, you can trust that He placed you where you need to be too. Neither of these women showed up at their appointed time of impact without a journey. They walked step by step to that place because they surrendered their lives to His will. He leads my soul.
Father God, I know the paths You have me walk are not always easy. Sometimes I find myself wondering if You know what You are doing. But then I look back at where we have walked together and recognize Your hand in it. I see where You turned my heart to a new direction. I remember the place where I saw Your glory. I bow in thanks at the places where You showed me how to release my destructive ways. I stand in awe at the way You still welcome me into Your arms. And I surrender my path to You once again for YOU are the one who knows it intimately. I will wait until my appointed time, whatever and whenever it may be.