Esther. A woman of courage!
Going to start with a fun fact: Esther is one of the only books in the Bible named after a woman. Ruth is the other one! (We'll actually cover her next week)
So neat, right?!
Now, let's get on with her incredible story...Esther lived in Persia, and was orphaned as a child when both of her parents died. She was adopted and raised by her older cousin, Mordecai. She was a Jew. Not many Jews lived in Persia at this time. (Keep that in mind for later)
Esther became the new Persian queen when the Persian Empire, Xerxes saw her beauty and immediately wanted her to be his wife. During a party, Mordecai overhears a plot to kill the king. When he informs Esther, she tells her King.
Enter Haman. The plot thickens. Meanwhile, Xerxes has elevated Haman to the highest position in the kingdom, and let's just say that power goes to his head. Case in point: Haman demands everyone bow down to him. And well, everyone does; except one - Mordecai! He refuses, claiming he only bows to one - the One and only God! Talk about being bold in your faith! But this makes Haman furious and now seeks revenge. So he convinces the king to enact a law that destroys all the Jewish people. Unbeknownst to the king, his new wife, Esther, is a Jew.
Dun, Dun, Dunnnn....
Esther is put in a very difficult position. She longs to save her people (and herself) from this fate and knows she needs to approach the king and tell him the truth about her identity. But, while this may sound easy enough, back in those days if anyone (including wives) approached kings without a request, it could mean death. Let's just say they didn't want to be disturbed, they had very important things to do, you know, like run a kingdom while feasting on fine wine and cheese.
So, Esther waits until a banquet, and her king/hubby is cutting loose and having fun. Yep, this seems like the perfect time. She informs the king she is Jewish and that Haman's forced a decree to kill all the Jews, meaning that she will be killed along with her people. Wait. What? Xerxes is infuriated that he has been tricked and meets with Mordecai to clear up the matter, soon making a new decree to save the Jewish people.
Esther's story is one of bravery. I can't imagine the fear she must have felt walking up to the king to tell him the news about her heritage and Haman. All the while not knowing her fate!
As you go into your week reflect on this story and take away this point: In times of trouble or when you find yourself in a place that may invoke fear, hand it to the Lord. Ask for Him to give you the courage to do the right thing. The truth is - God will never leave you stranded!
***This week read about Ruth. Her story is found in Ruth and is only four chapters. Read a chapter a day and as you read, respond, reflect and react. What can you take away from her story?