Last week found me in the hospital more than I expected to be. On Tuesday, I had a scheduled scope to check out my small intestine, so there was a good bit of waiting around. On Saturday, my daughter, Paisley, had a fall and we decided to go get her checked out. What we hoped would just be an ER visit, turned into an entire day of waiting for doctors to agree to let us go home! In times like these, I love having the ability to turn an audio book on. I use the Hoopla app for this.
The book I listened to last week was “Esther”, by Angela Hunt. I have always adored the book of Esther in the Bible, so that’s what drew me to the novel version. As it turns out, I didn’t end up loving the novel. The author stuck to the Biblical events pretty well, but it was strange to me that she gave Vashti such a prominent role in the storyline. The way she wove Vashti in is not out of the realm of possibility, yet I personally didn’t think it was a necessary or desirable addition. Basically, Vashti harassed Esther throughout the entire book, and sought revenge on King Ahasuerus for demoting her from her position of queen. I won’t give anything else away, but there. That was the main thing that rubbed me the wrong way. 😉
However, listening to the novel and then reading the true book of Esther this week made me once again awestruck by this Jewish girl. Queen Esther was placed in a position that she did not ask for, and then unexpectedly given opportunity to serve her people. There is much to be learned from her example. To serve and minister to others, we must first be obedient. No matter what position of leadership we are placed in, we will always have an authority to answer to. That might sound simple, but obedience is often far from simple, as we see in the case of Esther.
While reading through the book of Esther, I noticed four things:
Esther was obedient to Mordecai when he told her not to reveal her Jewish background (Esther 2:10, 20).
“Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it.”
“Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.”
Esther was again obedient to Mordecai when he asked her to reveal the plot to kill the king (Esther 2:22).
“And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai’s name.”
Esther displays determination and willingness to obey no matter what it might cost her (Esther 4:16)
“Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”
Esther carries out her commitment to obey in order to save her people (Esther 5:1, 7:3).
“Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.”
“Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:”
I think of Esther as a great leader and minister to the Jews. Would she be remembered in this way if she would not have been obedient? I doubt it.
As I turn these thoughts to introspection, I wonder how obedient I am willing to be. To be used of God, we must be obedient to God. Esther’s life is a reminder of what God can do with our obedience!