Shalom! God’s blessing of peace to you! May I introduce myself? My given name is Hadassah, though perhaps you have heard me called ‘Esther.’ (You can call me ‘Esther’, if you would like.) I am a Hebrew girl, hence my real name. Hadassah means ‘myrtle,’ which is a tree or shrub. My name signifies peace and thanksgiving.
I would like to share with you a little about my life; do you have a few minutes? Perhaps as I relate to you the events of my life, you might think “Oh! My! Not for me!” But don’t…I have lived a life overshadowed by the hand of the Great I AM! And I am sure that you have, too. Perhaps you will see some similarities between your life and mine. Perhaps you will be reminded of great and small things that Almighty God has orchestrated in your life…for such a time as this!
Throughout most of our lives, there are usually a few people—loved ones, mostly—who are the major characters in our story. For me, God placed two wonderful men as the main men in my life and my heart. The first is my Uncle Mordecai…can I tell you about him? Oh, please allow me—he was such an honorable, wise, God-fearing man! You see, my abba-leh (my daddy) died while my ama carried me under her heart. And my ama <sigh!> died as she labored to birth me. By God’s grace, I had loving ones who raised me…in particular, my wonderful Uncle Mordecai. Uncle Mordecai, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, deeply loved the Almighty God, the Great I AM and lived his life to serve Him. When the Babylonians conquered our land, they took many of our people away as slaves, amongst them my parents and Uncle Mordecai. Eventually, they settled in what is known as Persia in the capital city of Susa. Uncle Mordecai always had my best interests at heart and raised me according to the Law.
And there is another primary character in my story—my love, the king, Ahasuerus (also known as Xerxes) who made me his queen. It’s quite a story Esther chapter 2 how this happened…me, one of the captive Hebrews becoming the queen of a most powerful ruler of many lands and peoples. His domain reached from India to Egypt. Amazing! But I was telling you how I, a young Hebrew woman, became the queen of all this… You see, Ahasuerus DID have a queen; a stunningly gorgeous woman named Vashti. Oh, he loved her…it was quite apparent. But Vashti’s heart became proud. And she turned from lovingly submitting to Ahasuerus to outrightly defying him publicly. The king turned to his advisors to see how to handle this.
“This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord. Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.” The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memukan proposed. He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household….
Here’s where Almighty God caused my path to cross with the love of my life, Ahasuerus. After his heart (and anger!) had recovered from Vashti’s deception, he sought a new queen. Only the Almighty God could have known that, of all the beautiful, lovely young women of the kingdom, I would be the one who would find favor in Ahasuerus’ eyes—and his heart!
And the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the maidens, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Years went by and all was well…Ahasuerus ruled his kingdom, and let his heart be ruled by our love. All was very well. Let’s jump ahead a bit because in the twelfth year of the king’s reign, a dastardly, devilish plot was launched to annihilate my kin, the Hebrews. Esther chapter 3 When Uncle Mordecai heard of this, he was devastated!
When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly.
I sent a trusted friend to Uncle Mordecai to find out what was wrong and he sent me the strongest message I had ever heard him speak!
Verses 13 and 14
Then Mordecai told them to return this answer to Esther, Do not flatter yourself that you shall escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?
You see, I had held back…well actually deceived the king. I had never revealed to him my true heritage—that I was a Hebrew and served the Almighty God. And so, remorseful, I sent this message back to Uncle Mordecai:
Verses 16 and 17
Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.
I felt the weight and responsibility of not only my role as queen but my identity. Uncle Mordecai was right! And if I perished…so be it.
Not much time elapsed and I knew I must speak. Risking banishment at best, and death at worst, I arrayed myself respectfully and went before my king. His favor and love for me won out, and he welcomed me before his throne. I asked only one thing.
Esther 5:3 and 4
Then the king said to her, What will you have, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of the kingdom. And Esther said, If it seems good to the king, let the king and Haman come this day to the dinner that I have prepared for the king.
He granted my request. Ahasuerus and <hisssss!> Haman <hisssssss!> came to my home for dinner. And upon leaving, I asked that they return again the following evening. Time was running short and the execution of my people was imminent. When they returned, I spoke plainly and pointedly to Ahasuerus.
Esther 7:3 and 4
If I have found favor in your sight, O king and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition and my people at my request. For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, slain, and wiped out of existence! But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I would have held my tongue, for our affliction is not to be compared with the damage this will do to the king.
Upon hearing my distress and fear, my king rose to my defense demanding to know how this happened and who was responsible. ‘Haman.’ I replied. Esther 7:5-10
Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews. Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him. “If it pleases the king,” she said, “and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews… For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”
Upon realizing what Haman had been devilishly plotting and hearing my pleas, he immediately revoked the order and saved my people, the Hebrews. Prior to this, Ahasuerus had had a dream (perhaps that was our Almighty God?) reminding him of the loyalty and devotion to the throne of Ahasuerus that Uncle Mordecai had always had. As an added blessing, Uncle Mordecai was rewarded for his loyalty to the king.
Verses 10 and 11
Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king. The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves;
Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor. So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration….
These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants. So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of Xerxes’ kingdom—words of goodwill and assurance—to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fasting and lamentation. Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.
Imagine! A simple, orphaned Hebrew girl raised by her uncle in the midst of slavery brought by the hand of God through hard and evil times—for such a time as this! My people, the Hebrews, to this day celebrate the Festival of Purim and the joy of God’s deliverance during the reign of my king, Ahasuerus.
At the beginning of our chat, I had said that perhaps you might be reminded of great and small things that Almighty God has orchestrated in your life. Have you thought on this? I pray to the Great I Am that He would open your eyes to these things…for such a time as this!
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Dear Lord, please help us to recognize Your mighty hand of blessing…Your directing our path as You did the path of Esther’s life. May we see how You have done this, too, in our lives. We praise You, Lord, for Your sovereignty! Please help us to never doubt Your goodness and grace and favor; may we rest in Your care knowing that all is well. May Your perfect will be done in and through our lives. In Jesus’ precious name.