As a little girl I always said that my favorite Bible story was the story of Esther. Back then I don’t think I really understood why that story struck me, but I knew that it did.
Recently, I’ve realized why that story was the first one that would come to my mind when I was asked about my favorite Bible story.
Actually there are two reasons, but the other is pretty childish. I always claimed Esther’s story because it was different. All the other kids in Sunday School would say David and Goliath, Daniel and the lion’s den, Moses and the burning bush and all the other popular stories that every five-year-old church kid can recite. No one else ever said Esther and I was proud of that. Not a great reason, but it’s an honest one.
But there is a reason that Esther’s story always stuck out to me and I could recall it when the other kids couldn’t. Esther is brave. Esther is bold. Esther is clever. Esther is passionate. Esther is faithful and God provides. It’s true … God is never mentioned through all eight chapters of the book of Esther, but that doesn’t mean that He is not there.
Esther is a strong and brave woman who stands up for her beliefs and for her people even in the face of possible death. Of all the biblical heroes kids learn about in church, few of them are women. So when my Sunday School teacher taught us about the story of Esther I was hooked. Esther embodies everything I wanted to be when I grew up and still want to be now.
I want to be brave enough to stand up to what’s right in the face of danger. I want to be clever enough and strong enough to undermine an evil plot and save a whole group of people from genocide. I want to be so faithful to God that I’m more concerned with following His will and His commands than I am with preserving my life. I want to be able to step out in faith in front of a powerful ruler with harsh rules and consequences for breaking those rules. I want to be an Esther.
But the Book of Esther is much more than a story about a faithful, bold woman still. The Book of Esther also demonstrates God’s providence. The events in Esther may seem like coincidence to many people, but they are God preparing the way for Esther to save her people. From the dismissal of Vashti to the marriage of Xerxes and Esther, to the saving act of Mordecai, to the building of Haman’s gallows, every twist and turn is appointed by God in order to save His people from genocide. Mordecai has confidence in God’s promise to preserve Israel, and it is up to Esther to step up and step out and allow God to use her in the position He has given her.
Where do we need to step up and step out in faith and allow God to use us where He has placed us?
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, NIV)