For Such a Time as This: Life Lessons from the Book of Esther

 

The Book of Esther in Review

What a tremendous book we have just completed! Not only is it a great story with all the drama and elements that a novel would contain, but it contains great lessons about how we should be living, conducting ourselves on the job, facing opposition, facing success, and looking ahead confidently to the future. Most importantly, it is the best “textbook" of the Scriptures about the providence of God, and how He works in the perfect way and the perfect timing to accomplish His purposes.

 

We began in the winter capitol of the Persian Empire, Susa, where we also concluded the story. Pride, lust, alcoholism, and the pursuit of power and dominance marked the Empire’s ruler, Ahasuerus (Xerxes). Ahasuerus sought to gain support for his campaign against Greece and then onward into Europe. However, his foolish partying cost him his marriage, and although Queen Vashti lost her crown, she kept her dignity as she refused the king’s immoral drunken orders. God used this providentially however to begin arranging His chess pieces for what He planned to do.

 

When Ahasuerus attacked Greece, despite all odds being on his side, he was badly beaten and returned to Susa in shame and depression, missing the wife he had divorced. His advisors hooked onto this, and began a search for all the beautiful virgins of the land to be brought to the king so he could find a substitute for Vashti. These women were sadly taken from their homes to never return again, but to be the concubines of the king. Again God was working providentially in this, for this also allowed Esther to get into the place He had for her to make a dramatic impact for Him. She was selected by the king as Vashti’s replacement, and this would be vital in the long run.

 

Then entered the bad guy of the story, Haman, who was promoted far beyond his level of competence, and it all went to his head. Haman got the king to order all to bow to him, but there was one man who refused to do so, Mordecai the Jew.  This refusal angered Haman so much that he not only wanted Mordecai put to death, but the entire Jewish race!  He tricked Ahasuerus into ordering the death of the Jewish people, resulting in confusion throughout the city.  When Mordecai read the order of the king to exterminate the Jews, he immediately went into mourning with sackcloth and ashes.

 

It dawned on Mordecai that perhaps God was at work through all of this, and had elevated his cousin to the place where she was “for such a time as this,” and perhaps she could convince the king to stop this slaughter. She took a bold step of faith and went before the King unbidden, yet he pardoned her rather than having her put to death for her trespass. She had an unusual request of the king, for him and Haman to come to a feast she had prepared. Ahasuerus knew something else was up, though, and that Esther wouldn’t have risked her life unless it was for a crucial reason.