In continuing our examination of the lives of Joseph (last week) and now Esther, we are compelled to once again remember Romans 8:28 “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those how love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

ESTHER - A member of the “weaker sex,” yet a strong arm of God and a means of salvation for her people. The story of Esther is recorded in ten short chapters of the Old Testament. Certainly not every incident, circumstance or emotion of her life is recorded but the essentials are and they show a young woman of ordinary fear and misgiving yet one of extraordinary faith and service.

Esther was an orphaned Jewish maiden being raised by an uncle. To compound matters, she and her uncle were uprooted by the conquerors of Israel and driven to a foreign land in defeat. Having been hurt and confused at the loss of her parents, she is now in shock at the destruction of her country and emotionally numb during the long trip to Persia; relocated, resettled, and finally dumb-founded at the prospect of being forced to be a part of King Xerxes harem. Chosen for her beauty, she is expected to be honored by this selection and later does indeed become his queen.

Her family history is tragic, her losses great, yet her position as a harem girl might be considered by some as better than a transplanted refugee with little hope of advancement in life, but certainly against accepted Jewish morals. Later then, as queen she was able to become the instrument through which God worked to save King Xerxes’ life (with the help of Mordecai, Esther’s uncle) and to save the Jewish people throughout the empire; as Haman, a bigoted, pride-filled, hateful man planned to destroy the Jews as one means of climbing to higher political power in Persia’s government.

But wait a minute! How much does one person have to put up with? She’s already been forced to do more than most. What now? All this and more may well have gone through her mind – for a while – but then she got on with the business of life; not always understanding everything, most certainly not ever understanding some things. But instead of fussing over what she didn’t understand, she proceeded to do what she did know and left the rest to God.

As Haman’s spiteful plot began to take shape, her Uncle Mordecai requested she go to the king. But to go before the king un-announced could be dangerous. If he did not want to see you or hear your petition, you could be executed for intruding on his time. She hesitated. She was afraid. After everything else that had happened to her, she was reluctant to put herself in harm’s way again. Esther sent word to Mordecai that she had not seen the King in thirty days, (he must have been a busy man) and that she feared the punishment for interruption. Mordecai counseled her, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:12,13, 14

Did God make all these things happen to Esther? He could have, but I don’t know that he orchestrated every aspect of Esther’s life. But He certainly used them as she made herself available. For her circumstances, her purpose, the reason for her being was usefulness to God, and through God, his people. God is defined in scripture as being he, “…who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,…” Ephesians 3:20 I believe she realized and depended on this principle.

Did Joseph and Esther, in their days of need, want and uncertainty, always feel secure in their Lord? Probably on some days to a lesser degree than others. Was their faith rewarded by blessing? Absolutely. Immediately? Probably not. But as they lived their lives in faith and obedience to God he eventually expressed his faithfulness to them in mighty and wondrous ways. Who’d have thought a Bedouin nomad would rise to such power and privilege in Egypt? But look at the path he took to get there. Who’d have thought a young Jewish girl could become queen of the country that had so recently conquered her people. We see the clothes, the jewels, the servants, the power; but consider the road she traveled first to get to that point.

When troubling times come your way, remember Joseph and Esther. What you are experiencing now may just be the tip of an iceberg of joy and blessing. You may be being prepared for a difficult yet rewarding task by being tested, trained and disciplined. I’m not saying you must be ecstatic over a perceived hardship but I am encouraging you to keep your head up and to keep doing what you know to be right. The only way to see the beautiful view from the top of a mountain is to climb the steep and rocky sides first! You can do it and as you make yourself available to God, you will.

For our circumstances, our purpose, our reason for being is usefulness to God and his people! As, “…we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10