Today I want to look at one of my favorite books of the Bible. This is the story of Esther. Esther was an orphaned Jewish girl who was raised by her uncle, who ended up Queen of Persia. But the backstory of Esther is what is so incredible. The story of Esther in the Bible shows how God directs paths and people and events.
When King Ahasuerus found himself, because of his own foolishness, without a queen, a plan was devised to bring all the beautiful young virgins into the palace so that the king could choose a queen for himself. Among those was a young Jewish girl who was being raised by her uncle, Mordecai. Esther respected Mordecai and followed his advice as she was brought into the palace. She was apparently a very beautiful girl and she was a non-assuming, godly young woman who carried herself in such a way that she gained favor from those who were put in charge of the young women.
“When the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go in to the king she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her.” Esther 2:15
Esther followed the advice of Mordecai as well as Hegai and when it was her turn to be brought into the king she found favor with him as well.
“the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.” Esther 2:17
Now you may be thinking this is a great story but what does this have to do with favor from God. Make no mistake this remarkable story would not have played out as it did if God’s hand had not been in it. Esther was a beautiful woman but it was not just her outward beauty that found favor with people. God had a plan for Esther and for Mordecai and He was raising her up to this place as queen because there were things that would need to be carried out by her. Esther followed the advice of people, but these people were also a part of God’s plan in directing her.
So Esther became Queen of Persia, but her King still had no idea that she was Jewish, she didn’t reveal it to him on the advice of Mordecai. Also, there was a man who was a servant of the king named Haman who had been exalted to position by the king and he hated the Jews, especially Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to him. Over time, Haman devised a plot to kill the Jewish people in all the provinces of Persia. When Mordecai found this out, he dressed in mourning clothes and went to the entrance of the king’s gate. He could go no further as he was dressed in sackcloth but he did this to gain the attention of Esther. When Esther sent someone to question Mordecai as to what was going on he explained Haman’s plot to them and they returned with the news to Esther. She was given a task to do. Mordecai was instructing her to go into the king and beg for favor on behalf of her people. It was time to reveal that she was Jewish to the king.
The thing was not even the queen could just go in to see the king unless he called for her, unless he holds out his golden scepter to her as she goes in. She must wait to be called or she is risking death as she goes in. This king has been known to be foolish in the past so this was a very scary position to be in for Esther. She calls on Mordecai and all of the Jews to fast on her behalf. Esther and her women would do the same and she would take her chances.
After three days of fasting by Esther, her servants and the Jews she put on royal robes and went to the king.
“And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.” Esther 5:2
There is much more to this story than time allows here but Queen Esther, because of the favor that she found in the king was able to save the Jewish people. God used Queen Esther to save the Jewish people because Queen Esther postured herself in a position to be used by God. We can be used of God too when we posture ourselves in a position to be used by Him.
This story is one that shows us how God crosses people’s paths to carry out His plans. No one would have ever thought a young, orphaned Jewish girl would become the Queen of Persia. I kind of think that King Ahasuerus was an impetuous king, possibly no one would have thought a girl like Esther would find favor with him that he would follow her wishes and advice. Yet God used Esther and he used Mordecai in this story to save His people.
May God grant you and me favor with people to carry out His purpose and plans.