Once upon a time … in a kingdom far, far away … there lived an orphan girl by the name of Esther …
Esther was raised by her cousin, Mordecai, who loved her dearly.
They were both Jews living in a heathen and gentile land.
The identification of being Jewish at this moment in history meant “one who worships Yahweh”.
The Jews, God’s chosen people, understood that worship was more than going to synagogue every week or praying around the dinner table.
Worship was always meant to be a lifestyle.
Worship has always impacted one’s daily choices.
Worship is all or nothing.
Esther was forcibly entered into a beauty contest along with thousands of other beautiful, young virgins from across the Persian empire.
The winner of this contest would receive a crown …gorgeous clothes for the rest of her life … maidens to wait on her hand and foot … luscious, abundant food … and a palace in which to live.
And one other thing … the winner of this contest would also become the wife of one of the most powerful and cruel kings in all of history.
King Ahasuerus … also known as King Xerxes.
She won the Miss Persia Beauty Contest … and became the wife of King Ahasuerus.
Let me tell you a little bit about this historical figure whose massive reputation is recorded in most history books …
Ahasuerus was the royal despot of one of the greatest empires in recorded history and he was a tyrant … wicked to the bone … evil and controlling.
When Ahasuerus was interested in his brother’s wife … he had his brother and both of his sons killed.
When one of his political allies asked for his only son to be excused from a battle campaign … Ahasuerus had the young man cut into two pieces and had his army march between them.
And into the life, Ahasuerus walks the beautiful, faithful Esther.
Young. Lovely. Jewish. Forced to marry an older man who had absolutely no value for human life.
Absurd! Ridiculous! Inconceivable!
God!! Where are you?! Do you even care?!
God does indeed, care.
Even though God’s Name is not mentioned in the book of Esther … His presence is there.
God shows up on every page … between every line … and will ultimately reveal His providence in the midst of human pain.
Ahasuerus had an evil sidekick by the name of Haman. Haman was prideful … a buffoon … and scheming.
Haman wanted everyone in the capitol of Susa to bow to him as he walked by.
“All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded regarding him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage.” – Esther 3:2
Mordecai refused to bow.
Mordecai would only worship the one true God.
It’s who Mordecai was … he was a worshipper of Yahweh.
Haman convinced King Ahasuerus to sign a command that all of the Jews in the entire empire of Persia would be annihilated on one fateful day simply because Mordecai wouldn’t bow to Haman.
“Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of all other people and they do not comply with the king’s laws, so it is not in the king’s interest to let them remain.
“If it is pleasing to the king, let it be decreed that they be eliminated, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry out the king’s business, to put into the king’s treasuries.”
– Esther 3:8 & 9
The problem is this … Ahasuerus did not realize that his lovely bride is a Jew.
This is where the story gets complicated … as you can imagine!
When Mordecai told Esther what was about to happen to their people, he said, “You have to go in and talk to the king! You have to beg for our lives!”
Esther knew her husband’s horrific reputation … and she also knew that she hadn’t seen him in nearly a month.
Esther reminded Mordecai that if the king didn’t extend his scepter to Esther that he could kill her immediately!
The king could take one glance at the uninvited Esther and exclaim, “Off with her beautiful head!”
Mordecai knew what Esther refused to admit … if she didn’t go in to petition for the lives of the Jewish people … she would be killed for sure.
“Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the other Jews
“For if you keep silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
– Esther 4:13 & 14
Queen Esther … lovely … young … brave … called a fast for 3 days.
She didn’t weep and wail … she fasted.
She didn’t get a petition to circulate … she fasted.
She didn’t call in the media … she fasted.
She didn’t gossip … she fasted.
“Go, gather all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants also will fast in the same way. And then I will go into the king, which is not in accordance with the law; and if I perish, I perish.”
– Esther 4:16
Three days later … Esther went into the king.
Esther’s entrance into the throne room of the king is among the bravest recorded acts in Biblical history.
Esther’s choice to go into the throne room ranks as one of the highest, most difficult, and most faith-filled actions in all of scripture.
The three Hebrew boys were thrown into the fiery furnace … Esther approached a king with a fiery temperament and who had no value for human life.
Daniel spent the night in a hungry, ravenous lions’ den … Esther went into the throne room of a despicable, ravenous king.
David slew the giant Goliath with 5 small stones … Esther changed the heart of a giant of a man with the power of fasting.
Paul and Silas were beaten and put in chains in a Roman prison cell at the midnight hour … Esther barged into a prison of darkness and brought the light of life with her!
I don’t know what hard thing the Lord has asked you to do lately … but I can tell you that the same Holy Spirit who was with Esther is with you.
The same Holy Spirit who was with the three Hebrew boys is with you in your fire.
The same Holy Spirit who protected Daniel is with you.
The same Holy Spirit who gave David his courage is with you.
The same Holy Spirit who put a song in the heart of Paul and Silas is with you.
You might wonder what happened next in Esther’s story … and you can read it for yourself in the book of Esther in the Bible.
But let me just give you a little spoiler here … the same thing that happened to Hitler … happened to Haman.
You see … God will always protect His people.
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.” – Isaiah 54:17
God will always have the last word.
God will always prevail.
God will always win.
“But the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the Lord your God loves you.” – Deuteronomy 23:5
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Carol McLeod Ministries