Esther 1-10, HCSB
Many women today feel that to make a difference you have to be the one in charge. Only the president, CEO, or pastor can really change things for the better. I have found that this is simply not true! Esther is a great example from scripture of how being a godly influence can make just as much difference as being the one in charge.
I imagine Esther as a quiet, humble, servant of God, who never dreamed that God would place her in such a place of influence. She was raised by her cousin, Mordecai, in a foreign country, Persia. Her parents died an untimely death and her gracious cousin took her in and adopted her. The Bible says “She obeyed Mordecai’s orders, as she always had while he raised her.” Est. 2:20b This was in sharp contrast to Vashti who refused the King’s request to entertain his guests. She also listened to Hegai, the king’s trusted official of the harem. Esther did what she could to make the best of a very difficult situation. She was not bitter, angry or rebellious in spite of the hardships of her life. Because of her positive attitude and her god given beauty, she won the favor of all those who knew her and especially of the king. “Esther won approval in the sight of everyone who saw her.” Est. 2:15b
However, there came a time in her life where her compliant nature was put to the test. She had to decide who was first in her heart. Sometimes people are at odds with one another for no good reason and there is no avoiding the issue. Esther found herself in just such a predicament. She was caught in the middle between two people she was committed to. Wicked Haman had convinced the king to sign an edict to destroy the Jewish people. Mordecai heard about it and pleaded with Esther to intervene. Esther knew that to oppose the king would be certain death, but how could she stand by and let her people be slaughtered? She would have to be bold, but use discretion. I love the next part of the story as Esther needs two banquets and lots of prayer to get up enough courage to speak the truth. I also get timid sometimes, and it takes me a couple of tries to get the appropriate words out of my head and into the situation. I also appreciate Esther’s gracious words. Sometimes we can say the right thing, but say it in the wrong way and the point is lost. Esther boldly spoke the truth, but in a thoughtful way. “Queen Esther answered, ‘If I have obtained your approval, my king, and if the king is pleased, spare my life-this is my request; and spare my people-this is my desire.” Esther had mastered the art of appeal and thus saved her people from death and destruction. The king had been listening to the wrong advisor, evil Haman, and Esther was bold enough to point out the error in a non-threatening way. I am afraid I might have been tempted to say. You stupid king, don’t you even read the edicts you sign and think about the consequences for those in your kingdom! I don’t think the king would have listened to me!
The end of the story is great. The bad guy, Haman, gets the hanging he deserves, and the good guy, Mordecai, becomes the trusted advisor to the king. The story would have a dramatically different ending if it were not for the gracious, yet bold words of this quiet queen. I am reminded of the verse in Proverbs “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances” Prov. 25:11 NAS I pray I can follow the example of Esther and influence others for the good with a godly life, a good attitude, and bold loving words in the right moment.