A Plan for Esther’s Life – The Story of Esther
By Steph Nickel
God had a plan for Queen Esther’s life. Does He have a plan for yours? Steph Nickel continues her series about Queen Esther.
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Last time we learned that, although sometimes it takes time before we see God’s plan unfold, He does, indeed, have a plan. Such was the case in Esther’s life.
We also learned that we may be preparing for the unfolding of the Lord’s plans and purposes even when we are going about our day-to-day life. While Esther’s life was far different than ours, I’m certain she didn’t know the great things God would accomplish through her.
We also learned that it is important to have someone in our life we can turn to for wise counsel, especially in spiritual matters. Mordecai was Esther’s guardian—and her counselor.
As we continue reading Esther’s story, we see there are more lessons to be learned.
Esther’s Introduction to King Ahasuerus
Esther 2:15-18 says, “When the turn came for Esther … 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. And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus … 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. Then the king gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther’s feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity” (ESV).
You can read Esther 2:12-14 to better understand the context of this passage
Esther spent an entire year preparing to appear before the king. An entire year. Can you imagine?
What stood out to me when I read this passage was the end of verse 15: “Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her” (ESV).
We learned yesterday, from verse 9 of chapter 2 that “the young woman [Esther] pleased him [Hegai] and won his favor” (ESV). Apparently, he wasn’t the only one who took notice of Esther.
Although we don’t know much about the year Esther spent preparing to appear before the king, we can draw some conclusions from the details that are included in the first 15 verses of Esther 2.
Esther Knew When to Speak up and When to Remain Silent.
Her relative and guardian, Mordecai, had instructed Esther not to reveal her heritage. There would be a time for her to do so, but this was not that time. And there is no evidence I’m aware of that indicates she revealed her family connections even to those closest to her.
Would that we would have wisdom as to when to speak and when to remain silent.
Esther Knew When to Submit to the Authority of Others.
Our culture has made submission and authority out to be unpleasant concepts at best. How many times have we heard someone say, “Some day I want to be my own boss.” While I’m very much in favour of becoming an entrepreneur, even those who are self-employed have those they must submit to, those in authority over them.
And, unless those in authority mandate we do what is clearly contradictory to the commands in God’s Word, we are to submit to them.
Esther did so graciously and God brought about His plans and purposes through her.
There are several references in chapter 2 to Esther’s physical beauty, but as I mentioned, I believe there was more to this woman than simply her appearance.
There are many attractive people in the world, but to win the favour of other—at least their ongoing favour—requires more than physical beauty.
While we have much to learn from this young woman, we must also be cautious that we don’t make excuses for not doing what the Scriptures clearly command.
Ecclesiastes 3:7 is true to this day. There is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” However, we must be willing to speak up and share the gospel—the truth about Jesus’s life, substitutionary death, and resurrection—even if the hearers are not necessarily receptive. Our default should be to look for opportunities to share the gospel, not for excuses to keep quiet. After all these years as a Christian, I’m still working on this one.
I do recognize the fact that some believers share their faith at great personal risk. I pray that these brothers and sisters in Christ would have wisdom as to when to speak up and when it’s best to remain silent.
And when it comes to submitting to authority or complying with a social norm, there are questions we can ask ourselves to help us determine if it is right to do so. (Please note that I’m not referring to civil disobedience. That is far beyond my purview to address.)
When considering what directives to submit to, we may want to prayerfully consider the following questions:
- Will submitting to a particular directive or behaviour help or hinder my Christian testimony?
- Is it clearly opposed to the commands and imperatives found in the Bible?
- Am I reluctant to submit because of pride?
- Do I trust that God has a plan and purpose?
Am I willing to consider the possibility that submission in this area may be part of the Lord’s plan for me?
Follow the Life of Esther series:
Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books.
Steph is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and The Word Guild. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Steph’s goal is to nurture and inspire. She blogs at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests. She also guest posts regularly on the topics of Christian living, writing, and fitness. You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
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