THE STORY chapter # 20
(My home church is participating in the study of THE STORY – The Bible As One Continuing Story Of God And His People. Foreword by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. Each week, my Thursday post focuses on our current study chapter.)
Throughout the Bible, we can read many stories where God calls on a person in a lower position in life, to accomplish His mighty tasks. Daniel, was an exiled slave who rose to become a distinguished royal official in Babylon. David, was a shepherd boy who became Israel’s greatest king. And Jacob’s son Joseph, was sold into slavery, only to rise as a ruler in Egypt.
In chapter 20 of THE STORY, we learn of another person, who God chose to carry out His divine plan.
Esther, also known as Hadassah, had a lovely figure and was a beautiful young woman. It was during the reign of king Xerxes, who ruled over 127 provinces from India to Cush, that Esther was raised by her cousin Mordecai. Mordecai, a Jew from the tube of Benjamin, took her in because she was orphaned. At this same time, Xerxes was looking for a new queen because his current queen, Vashti, refused to parade herself in front of a royal banquet that Xerxes was hosting.
Esther, along with other virgins from nearby, was brought to the palace in Susa to undergo beauty treatments for one year. Upon completion of the treatments, the king would select a new queen. In the end, Esther won the favor of king Xerxes and he placed the royal crown on her head.
Esther’s life changed. As queen, she could be assured any problem that came her way would be handled by her attendants. She should have a life of luxury and ease. But little did she know, God had it in her path a courageous plan – to save the Jews from annihilation.
A wicked nobel in the kings court named Haman, plotted to kill all Jews because Mordecai refused to bow down to him. Haman deceitfully urged Xerxes to sign a decree to allow all enemies of the Jews to attack and slaughter them, on a specified day. When Mordecai heard of this plot, he urged Esther to approach the king for assistance.
To dare approach the king’s inner court without being summoned by the king, meant the king could put you to death. But Esther, realizing she was in a position to save her people, decided she must do it. First, she asked Mordecai to instruct all Jews in Susa to fast three days for her, and she, along with her attendants, would do the same.
With great courage, Esther approached the inner court. The king was pleased, and summoned her in. He asked for her petition, and stated he would give her half the kingdom, if that was her desire. But Esther made no response to that gracious offering. Instead, through a series banquets and events, Esther informed the king of Haman’s evil scheme.
Xerxes had Haman impaled, and allowed Mordecai to write a new edict, citing the Jews were allowed to defend and kill anyone who attached them on the specified day Haman had chosen.
So the Jews were able to protect themselves from annihilation, because Esther had the courage to put their lives before her own.
THE STORY foreword by Max Lucado & Randy Frazee