Almost all of the heroes in the Bible who where chosen by God, some willingly others not so willingly, some not having any idea that they were being chosen by God for His plans and purposes, were not exactly the models of moral perfection that the average person would suppose them to be. Ester was a person who was definitely an unlikely candidate to be chosen by God to save His people from destruction. By examining her life style and attitude, we can easily deduce that God is willing to use the most unlikely people to be hero's to save His chosen people.
This is not an attempt to belittle Esther or any of the other people whom God has used to fulfill His purposes. This is however an attempt to show that the hero's of the Bible where just ordinary people just like you and me. Most of the Biblical hero's would not meet the high standards set by the self righteous people of our time. However, God through His unsearchable love and unlimited grace chooses people with something less than perfect standards to perform heroic deeds.
The Jewish feast of Purim originated because of the events in the book of Esther. A quick and not too technical overview of the events: The Jews where about to be destroyed in the kingdom of Persia because of a plot by Haman a man whom King Ahasuerus had set above all the other princes of the kingdom. Haman wanted to destroy the Jews because Mordecai a Jew would not bow or pay homage to him. The plot by Haman not only failed, but what he had planed for the Jews happened to him and his family. On the date set by Haman for the Jews to be destroyed, King Ahasuerus enabled the Jews to destroy all their enemies in his kingdom.
Now let us take a look at Esther and the roles she played. I suggest that you get your Bible and read the whole book of Ester. It is only 10 short chapters, and it flows quite well and there is not anything too complicated in it. Also if you read it, you will know if I make any mistakes or if I try to mislead you into believing something that just isn't there.
First lets look at the events leading up to the introduction of Esther. King Ahasuerus ruled over a kingdom which had 127 provinces, from India to Ethiopia. He decided to throw a party (feast) to show his princes and servants all of his riches and his glorious kingdom. The party lasted 180 days (Now that is one big time party), after which he decided to throw another party for seven days. Vashti the queen (the kings number 1 wife) also made a feast (party) for the women of the royal household at the same time as the kings seven day feast. On the seventh day of the feast, King Ahasuerus made a command for his queen Vashti to come to him so he could show the princes and his people her great beauty (she must have been a real knock out). However Vashti refused the commandment to go to the king. This really ticked King Ahasuerus off, the Book says that his anger burned in him. I am sure that after throwing two feasts that lasted six months and a week just to show how great he was to his people, to have his wife refuse him in front of all those people that he was trying to impress made him so hot that the crown of gold on his head was probably melting. So, King Ahasuerus got all of his wise men together to decide what to do about this rebel he had for a queen. The wise men told him that this was not just his problem, but also a problem for all the princes of Persia and Media, and really for all the men of his kingdom. They told him, look here Kingy ol boy, when the women of the kingdom hear that your queen did not hearken to your commandment, they too will respond as did Vashti, and we can't have that kind of stuff going on around here. Therefore king ol buddy how about you redeem yourself and us by making a new commandment. Command that Queen Vashti never again come before you and take away her royal estate and give it to another. King Ahasuerus liked the idea and made the commandment, he also added to it that every man shall rule in his own house. Cause we'll not have no women's lib goin on around here!
We have covered the first part of the book and the last part, now lets look at the middle of the book which is the part that describes Esther and the roles she played. Please read chapters 2 through 9 very carefully so that you may verify the points that I am about to make as being truth or as being false. As I stated earlier, I am not trying to belittle Esther or any other of the people we see as heroes in the Bible. My goal is to show that Biblical heroes are regular people just like you and me, who made mistakes along the way, and just like every human who has ever lived ( That is with the exception of Jesus when He left His divinity behind to come to earth as a man.) they were not quite up to par on some things. The Biblical heroes did some things that even the worst of us can say; "Hey, not even I the lowest of the low would do something like that.". But yet they were still heroes. Heroes because of the unmeasurable love, mercy, and grace of our God and Father.
If your Bible does not have an introduction into the books giving the history of the book, you will have to study for your self to find if what I am saying here about point number 1 is true or not.
Point number 1: Esther and her uncle Mordecai were Jews living in a land which they should not have been in. At least 50 years had passed since Cyrus king of Persia made proclamation setting the Jews free to return to their own land of Israel. The Jews who remained in Persia did so of their own accord. The bondage which came upon them came because they were living in a world that they should have left behind. How often do we submit ourselves to bondage's by living in a way which we should have left behind long ago? Do I dare ask how many of us are in some kind of bondage that Jesus would set us free from, if we would just quit trying to carry the many burdens of living in the world of the flesh and move fully into His Kingdom?
Point 2: The name Hadassah means myrtle tree, Esther is Persian which means star. The Bible does not say who changed her name, it might have been changed by her uncle Mordecai when he adopted her or she might of changed her name herself. The change in name was more than likely done so as for her to fit in better with the Persian society. As born again Christians we are in the family of God. How often do we let our family name of Christian be lost or changed just so we can fit better into the society of the world?
Point 3: It was of her own accord that she went to the kings palace to be one of many wives to the king. Esther had the assistance of seven maids for twelve months to purify and beautify herself, for what was essentially to be a one night stand with the king. (ch2 vs14; In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.). The possibility of becoming queen was, I am sure, probably a strong motivational force behind the decisions and actions of Esther. However her decisions and actions were not what you would call the highest ethical or moral standards. God had made it quite clear that His people, the children of Israel were not to marry people who were not of His people. Not only was she marrying outside of her people, she was marrying for prestige and money, which would basically be considered prostitution. I know that prostitution sounds a like a strong accusation, but look at the particulars. But before you or I come down on Esther too hard on this point, let us look at our ownselves. As Christians do we not marry those outside. I do not mean a man or woman becoming married to a heathen. I mean Christians be it an individual, church, or organization more or less become married to worldly institutions be it an individual, business, or social organization. They marry for nothing more than social acceptance, economic gain, and political power. Would you not call the selling of deep rooted Christian beliefs for social and political acceptance prostitution?
Point 4: Esther did not reveal that she was a Jew. She kept her religion and ancestry secret to maintain her position. Esther married the king in his 7th year reign, and in the twelfth year reign of King Ahasuerus, was when Haman's conspiracy was revealed. So, for five years Esther kept not only her secret, but as queen and number one wife was involved with the idolatry of the heathen kingdom which she was queen of. But then again, how many Christians are secret Christians? Let me ask you, if some one introduced you to a stranger, would you be introduced as a Christian or as a cool worldly person? God already knows so be honest with yourself when you answer this; Do you worship any idols?
Point 5: When Mordecai told Esther of King Ahasuerus' consent of Haman's plan, (ch 3 vs 13: And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey. ), and asked her for help to save the Jews, Esther refused for fear of her own safety. The whole population of the Jews was about to be destroyed, yet she was afraid for her own life, not because she was a Jew, but because the king had not summoned her, and if she went in before him without being called she might (MIGHT) be put to death. Esther did not consent to help until after Mordecai sent her this answer, (ch 4 vs's 13,14: Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?). She kind of looks like a selfish coward. But hey, how many people are going to cook in hell because you and I have been afraid to proclaim Jesus and the grace of God? Have I the courage to stand up at a politicians campaign rally and shout out "If you want my vote legislate against the murder of unborn babies!"? Do you have the courage to go to your local school board meetings and or parent teacher meetings and demand that condoms not be distributed, and that sexual perversion not be taught as acceptable alternative life styles? Who knows, maybe you or I have been placed here at such a time as this, to overcome our fear of embarrassment and stand up for Godly principles and moral standards.
God's grace can cover most everything, about the only thing that I can think of that His grace won't cover is our refusal to accept His grace. It is by God's grace that we are righteous before Him. We are saved by His grace through faith, and it is by His grace through faith that miracles happen in our lives. Since it is by the grace of God that you and I are saved, are righteous, and that miracles are worked in our lives, and not because of our own self righteous works. Since it is God and not us, can we stop looking back to our major jerk days in the past, and start looking forward to Jesus and the victories He has already provided for us. Can we be hero's? Can we heroically help spread the victories Jesus has provided, so that the fires of hell will have fewer people, so that fewer babies are murdered in their mothers womb, so that there will be fewer victims of AIDS?
Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this! By grace you are saved through faith. Through faith miracles are worked among us. Who knows, maybe one of us can figure this out and become a hero. Who knows?
Praise God, Halleluigh, Amen
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