Esther

God blesses us with gifts. I have been blessed with many gifts. I have never struggled in school or questioned my intelligence. I have a loving and supportive family who helped me attain many things. I have been given many talents and have rarely been teased for my appearance. I am blessed.

As a high school student I had many people compliment my beauty. In college I was scouted to become a model. Even Kyle will tell you that my appearance is what first attracted him. This used to bother me. I wanted people to like me and want to be around me because of my mind, or personality, or even religious convictions. Later I realized that beauty was a part of me. It wasn’t what defined me.

A woman of the bible could say the same thing. Esther was beautiful, but that didn’t stop her from doing something BIG. At the beginning of the book we meet King Xerxes. In chapter one he is having a big banquet (vs. 5). It describes the décor and wine (vs. 6-8). King Xerxes is so happy that on the seventh day of the banquet he wants his wife to come (vs. 10-11). At this time Queen Vashti is married to Xerxes. Queen Vashti is also having a large party (vs. 9). Xerxes sends seven servants to get his wife. “But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.” (vs. 12)

Basically, King Xerxes was used to getting what he wanted, and when Queen Vashti did not do as he wanted he was finished with her. Literally. He made it a written law that Vashti was never to be in his presence again and that someone else should have her title. She was no longer queen because she did not come to his party.

Are you kidding me?

So King Xerxes sends men out into the land to bring him as many beautiful women as can be found. He is looking for his new wife and he wants the best, and by best he means most beautiful. Many beautiful, virgin women were found including Esther. “This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features” (Ch. 2vs. 7). In Esther 2:8-9 is says, “When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many girls were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. The girl pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven maids selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.”

Can you imagine being beautiful enough to deserve spa treatments and seven maids after meeting someone once? Esther must have been drop dead gorgeous.

Esther spent the next year getting beauty treatments (vs. 12). Esther was liked by everyone but especially the king. Chapter 2, verse 17 says, “Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”

Esther’s beauty is what attracted King Xerxes (ch. 2). So now Esther is the queen and all problems are solved, they lived happily ever after…NOT! King Xerxes has a right hand man. His name is Haman. Haman thought he was hot stuff. The king honored Haman and all of the royal officials knelt down at Haman’s feet. All of them except Mordecai.

Do you recognize that name?

Have we seen it yet in the story? Look back at Esther 2:7. “Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.” How do Mordecai and Esther know each other? Mordecia is like Esther’s father. Mordecia and Esther are cousins. So Mordecia won’t bow down to Haman because Haman is not God. They are to serve no other gods.

How do you think this makes Haman, a gentile, feel?

I would guess angry. Very Angry.

So Haman comes up with what he thinks is a brilliant plan. He convinces King Xerxes that it is bad to have people scattered across his nation not following his laws and they should all be killed (vs. 8-9). Haman convinces Xerxes to kill all of the Jews.

Mordecia is…Jewish.

Mordecia is Esther’s…Cousin.

So Esther is…Jewish.

Uh…oh!

Whether Haman realized it or not, his plan would kill all of the Jews including Esther. The same Esther that was just made queen. The Esther that King Xerxes thought was so pretty. Now King Xerxes didn’t know that Esther was Jewish. He knew that she was pretty. She was beautiful. She was fun to look at. Who needs to know any more than that?

He does if he doesn’t realize that his wife is about to be killed. Mordecia learns of the plans to kill all of the Jews (4:1). Eventually word makes it back to Esther (vs. 9). Her response is, “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” (4:9-11)

So in order to see the king, he must ask to see you. Esther has a problem. The king hasn’t asked to see her for the past 30 days. A month has gone by since King Xerxes has asked to see her. What would happen if she just went for a visit? She would die unless he raised his scepter. Mordecia gets Esther’s message and responds in verses 12-14. He basically says that if Esther stays quiet she may escape immediate death from approaching the king, but she and her family would die eventually and God would send someone else to save the rest of the Jews. Mordecia recognizes that Esther could help save her people, but he trusts that God will send someone else if Esther doesn’t.

So Esther sends word to Mordecia in verse 16 “Go gather together all of the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

The Girl Who Said Yes is a book about a young girl who went to Columbine High School during the shooting. She was killed for answer a simple question. Do you believe in Jesus? She said, “yes”. This high school girl was brave (she had a gun to her head when she answered) and bold in her faith. Although she did not live, her biography has shown the love we must all have for Christ and the faith in God to stand up for Him.

Can you imagine stepping out in faith like that? How would it feel to be preparing to face certain death in the hopes of saving all of the people like you?

Scary, Crazy, Uneasy.

In Esther 5:1-2 it says, “On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall.”

Imagine how hard her heart was pounding.

“The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.”

Imagine Esther taking a deep breath.

“When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, 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 the scepter.”

Relief. A sigh. The king welcomed her.

Let’s stop here for a minute. Esther’s beauty attracted King Xerxes to her. Esther became Xerxes bride. Esther became Queen. Not based off of knowledge, or athletic ability, but off of beauty alone. Xerxes didn’t even get to know her. Your beauty, your spiritual beauty that is, attracts God to you. God doesn’t care what your outward appearance is. He doesn’t care what your SAT scores are or how fast you can run a mile. He sees your spirit. God is attracted to your spiritual beauty the way Xerxes was attracted to Esther’s physical beauty.

Esther was the bride of Xerxes.

You are the bride of Christ.

Esther approached her King even though she could have died. She knew the only way to save her people was through Xerxes. She could not wait to be summoned. She had to approach the throne. She had to approach the king.

You can approach your King, God, without fear of death. You don’t have to be summoned into the throne room of God. You don’t have to hope that a scepter will be extended to you. You don’t have to hold your breath wondering if you are going to be welcomed. God’s throne room is always open. He is there for you always. In Matthew 7 and 8 it says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Jesus tells you in verses 7 and 8 that all you have to do is ask, seek, or knock.

Esther left the security of her beauty to save her people. Esther listened to God’s guidance through Mordecci.

Will you listen to God’s guidance through the holy spirit? Will you approach the King, God almighty?

Will you ask?

Seek?

Knock?

What do you have to lose?

Esther’s story continues. Esther throws a banquet. Haman is invited. At the banquet the king asks what Esther’s petition is. She says, “If I have found favor 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.” (vs. 3-4) The king asks who is going to kill her and her people, and Esther says, “The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman.” (vs. 6). King Xerxes was furious and had Haman hung on the gallows that Haman had built to kill Mordecia and all of the other Jews on.

Esther’s story begins as one of beauty. Her beauty won the heart of a king. Her story continues as one of courage. Her courage saved her life as well as the lives of her people. Her story ends as one of request. Esther asked for her life and the lives of her people to be spared and King Xerxes answered with more than she had asked for.

Beauty fades, don’t let it be your story.

Esther approached an earthly king facing death. You can approach the King of Kings with no fear of death. In Hebrews 4:14-16 it says, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” You can approach the throne of grace, God, with confidence. You will find mercy and grace at His throne in times of need. Do you take advantage of this promise?

Spend some time right now asking God to occupy every corner of your life. What corners might you still be withholding from God? Relationships? School? Family? Recreation? Be as honest with yourself as possible and take inventory of your life. Then invite the King to take control in every area.

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