Our aunt Mindy used to say that “real people’s stories were better than any movie or book”. She would tell us stories of people she knew from the old days in Miami or from the lower east side of New York City. The stories would always surprise me with the bravery, resiliency, emotional turmoil and strength that the person would demonstrate. The story of Esther is just like those stories!
For many of us we have heard the story of Esther so many times that we can get kind of numb about it. All of the perspectives spoken about this story are so important but, in this blog I wanted to focus on Esther and her life story before she became a queen.
In the book of Esther chapter two, we meet Mordecai, and in verse seven we see their relationship, “He was the guardian to Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had no father or mother. Now the young woman was beautiful of form and face, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.” Esther was an orphan, even though Mordecai took her into his home, her mother and father were gone. The loss that she went through could have easily impacted her in a negative way. She could have felt as many children have felt who have been orphans. This feeling of being an orphan is also felt by those who have had parents but, have been abused, abandoned or mistreated, which causes them to act as orphans. Being an orphan, whether physically or spiritually can create certain thoughts that are not from God. Some of these thoughts are:
- I am not loved – The person guards their heart. They evaluate others performance to see if they really do love them.
- Feels insecure – They feel rejected and strive for acceptance.
- Feels shame – They feel embarrassed by their faults and failures.
- Distrusts authority – Acts rebelliously against those who are over them as they can’t trust that they desire good for their lives.
This was the first reason that Esther could have used to say “no” to God. The loss she experienced could have festered and grown so that she could have been angry towards God, but look at verse 7, “Mordecai took her as his own daughter.” Mordecai became a father to Esther. Even though she had an incredible loss there was someone there who cared for her, took care of her, encouraged her and someone she could trust who had her best interest at heart! This same concept is no different for those who have been abused or abandoned. We all need a father to come forward for us and to stand with us.
Esther’s second crisis with God is in Esther 2:2-3, “Then the king’s attendants, who served him, said, ‘Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king. And may the king appoint overseers in all the provinces of his kingdom, and have them bring every beautiful young virgin to the citadel of Susa, to the harem, into the custody of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let their cosmetics be given to them.” The king didn’t actually replace Vashti immediately. In fact, it was four years later, after Ahasuerus invaded Greece and was defeated that he searched for a new queen. Notice that it says, “have them bring”, these women were not asked to go into the harem they were placed into “custody”. The king had a new sexual partner every single night and the next morning the young woman joined all of the other concubines. Once these women were with King Ahasuerus they belonged to him and they were his property which meant they could not marry another. If the king didn’t like these women, they were doomed to a life of loneliness, isolation and being imprisoned in the harem. This was the future awaiting Esther. As she was placed in custody going to the harem, God stepped in and provided Hegai the eunuch. In Esther 2:9 it says, “Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him. So he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and food, gave her seven choice female attendants from the king’s palace, and transferred her and her attendants to the best place in the harem.” In the crowd of women that were in the harem, Esther could have easily been overlooked but, God provided someone who could guide and direct her. Esther’s cousin Mordecai was also being faithful, even though he could not rescue her from the harem. In verse 11 it says, “And every day Mordecai walked back and forth in front of the courtyard of the harem to learn how Esther was and what was happening to her.”
The Bible shows us these two instances where Esther has horrible life changing events. These two events before she even becomes queen create the opportunity for God to show Himself as a faithful God. He provided Mordecai to be a father to her, He provided Hegai so that she would become the queen. God was there even though she was an orphan, He was there even when she faced imprisonment in the harem. These experiences created the foundation for Esther to believe God was faithful and could be trusted! May her lessons help us to believe and trust God.