Esther: The Prayerful Girl- Part 7 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on the newest book in the Love Letters series. If you made it this far, congratulations! We are now half-way through and, as a thank you, at the end of this post you’ll be able to enter a five- book giveaway of Girls’ Love Letters from God.

Esther: The Prayerful Girl

Read: Esther 2-8

I just saw a funny photo on Facebook. It showed a room full of little girls, all of them dressed in pretty pink, wearing tiaras and tutus, except one. She was wearing a batman cloak and mask. The tag-line read:

In a world full of princesses, dare to be batman.

It reminded me of Esther, who, even though she wore the crown, was brave enough to be herself, and to act as a true superhero who rescued generations of Jews from extinction.

 

Let’s meet Esther, The Prayerful Girl…

Descended from the tribe of Benjamin, Esther lived as a Jewish exile in Persia, and since both her parents had died, she was raised by her cousin, Mordecai.

Young and beautiful, Esther, whose Jewish identity is not yet revealed, is chosen by the King of Persia to be his bride. We meet Esther living in the palace, wearing her royal robes, sitting in front of her mirror, with a big decision to make.

As is always the case in every great story, there’s a ‘baddie’ lurking in the wings. His name is Haman, the king’s right-hand man, who devises an evil plot to exterminate all the Jews living in Susa.

Mordecai sends word to his young cousin in the palace, pleading with her to approach the king on behalf of the Jews. But this is not something Esther can chat about with her husband over a cup of coffee. She is well aware of the royal rules.

No one may approach the king to speak unless they are invited, and those who break that code face death. Coupled with that, King Xerxes doesn’t know that his young, pretty bride is a Jew herself, and who knows what will happen if Esther reveals her true identity?

Just as Esther is twisting her beads around, trying to decide what to do, Mordecai utters these iconic words, which are forever associated with the story of Esther:

Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14

It doesn’t take Esther long to realize that she needs to use her position to save her people, but she also knows that she cannot do it alone. And so she sends this reply:

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. Esther 4:16

Imagine how it must have felt in Susa for the next three days, as every Jew fell to their knees in prayer and fasting, not knowing whether they would live or die?

Imagine how Esther felt, knowing she had committed to approaching her husband, not knowing whether God would intervene to save her?

But our story has a happy ending. After three days of intercession, Esther is allowed to talk to the king; her Jewish hereditary is revealed and accepted; her people are spared; and in a bizarre twist of events, Haman is hanged on the very gallows he built for Mordecai.

No wonder Jews all over the world celebrate Purim every year, to remember Queen Esther, and how she bravely saved her people.

It’s hard to identify with a queen. I tried a tiara on once… that was the closest I got. But I really think that Esther, queen or no queen, was actually an ordinary woman who, throughout her entire life, really had no choice about the direction it would take.

She did not choose to be an orphan, or for her family to be exiled.

She did not choose to be born a Jew, or be raised by her cousin.

She did not choose to be Queen of Persia, or to live in a palace.

Esther was chosen not just by the King of Persia to be his wife, but she was chosen by the King of Kings, to be a force for good at just the right time, in just the right place.

And when she finally did have a choice to make for herself, she chose to do the right thing.

Friends- you and I, we, have been chosen by God, for a specific purpose, in this time, in this place.

And when we have the choice, may we, like Esther, be given the grace and the strength to choose the right.

Questions for Reflection

  • What positions of responsibility do you hold-  in your family, or in the work-place, where you can be a voice or an influence for good?
  • In what sense have you been born for just a time as this?
  • Do you believe you have been chosen by God? And if so, for what?
  • What role do prayer and fasting play in your life?

Going Deeper

Looking back on the seven women of the Old Testament who we’ve met so far: Eve, MiriamRahabDeborahHannahNamaan’s Servant Girl, and Esther, whose story has impacted you the most, and why?

Enter this five book giveaway of Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart.

17 thoughts on “Esther: The Prayerful Girl- Part 7 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

  1. Mary Jane Jewell

    “for such a time as this” has always been compelling to me, as well as challenging. It makes me wonder what God has chosen me for i.e. “for such a time as this”
    May God always show me what I am to do; what I am to say; what I am to be!!

    Reply
  2. natalie

    •What positions of responsibility do you hold – in your family, or in the work-place, where you can be a voice or an influence for good? Interesting you mention this 😉 I feel like I act as a glue, keeping the relationships from breaking by staying the course by embracing one another’s differences, of course that is whole another basket of worms to fry. There are pauses in between and I sit around, like glue does, waiting for those pauses to break – and enjoying every little minute when it does!!!
    •In what sense have you been born for just a time as this? I cannot compare myself to Esther.
    •Do you believe you have been chosen by God? And if so, for what? Deep. Can’t answer.
    •What role do prayer and fasting play in your life? I do not fast. I know my father has. The two do not go hand in hand for me personally.

    Reply
  3. Anita

    At this time in my life it seems that being a wife, mother and grandmother are the most important roles for me: supporting, loving and encouraging my family whenever the occasion arises. Sometimes all that is needed is a smile or a hug and often a silent prayer for God’s arms to hold my family member helps comfort me when I cannot be present with the one who is struggling. Because we are now retired, we are able to be present with our children and grandchildren when we are needed – a blessing to us and them.

    When I was working in the church I felt that I God had chosen me for that position and I hope I was a blessing to all who I encountered in the 20 years a served as an administrative assistant. The people I was in ministry with blessed me in many ways. Now I feel that God has given me the ability to create quilts that serve as comfort and blessing to many people through the ministry of our local quilt guild. I receive so much joy when I am creating a special quilt for someone who needs comfort.

    I rarely fast but I pray often during the day and spend time every morning during my devotional time lifting up those in need in prayer and asking God to bless them and keep them in His care.

    Reply
    1. Glenys Post author

      Anita, I think that to be a wife, mum or grandma is such an important purpose in life! And I love what you said about just the simple act of smiling. It is so true. Just today I saw this wonderful quote from Mother Teresa: “Always greet each other with a smile – for the smile is the beginning of love.” Isn’t that so true and a wonderful thought! We can be agents of love no matter where we are in the world or with whom we spend our days. You are doing just that.

      Reply
      1. Anita

        Thanks, Glenys – your affirmations mean so much to me. We miss you and David so much. We need to get up to see you soon 🙂

        Reply
    2. Peggy Manrose

      Anita, God has used you well in the different areas of your life, and He continues to use you! I’m so thankful you and Jack are back at SUMC and growing our Bell Choir. You are always so positive and loving to all you meet.

      Reply
  4. Pauline Smith

    I want to tell you a little tale. I hold a position of responsibility at work in social services and I had a “for such a time as this” experience last November. A care home had closed 2 years previously and the boxed ashes of an elderly resident, who had no family, were found and brought to our offices where they lay in a senior manager’s filing cabinet until our Head of Service remembered them in November. She asked the safeguarding manager (Joan) what on earth they could do with them as it was disrespectful to leave them there. Joan said, “I know someone who can help, Pauline, don’t you know she’s a trainee minister?” So on a cold November morning 5 of us stood round a little plot of earth at the cemetery where with a Bible reading and prayers we laid this unknown lady to rest. None of the other 4 were Christians but who knows what God has planned for them and what seeds were planted that day.
    We may never be sure until we look back whether God has put us in a certain place “for such a time as this”, whatever our place might be. And Natalie, without glue we would have an awful lot of broken things. God bless xx

    Reply
    1. Glenys Post author

      Pauline, what a wonderful story! And I love that thought… that we might not actually realize at the time that we are in a certain place ‘for such a time as this.’ I can hear a sermon coming on…
      And I love the ‘glue’ comment for Natalie 🙂

      Reply
  5. Pauline Smith

    You may recall Glenys that I asked for David’s help as I’d never done anything like that before. I love the story of Esther although i always think the impaling of all Haman’s sons was a bit drastic.

    Reply
  6. Lori

    It is very interesting reading everyone’s comments and the different approaches to the questions. Pauline’s story was very beautiful and shows that God is always present even when it seems he is not.
    I worked through all the questions but I would like to express 2: Do you believe you are chosen by God… I believe that we are ALL chosen by God. He chooses us the moment creation begins. It is more do WE choose God? What has he chosen me for? He has chosen me to love him with all my heart and love my neighbor as myself. We try and make it more complex but I really believe it’s just that simple. The ways in which we carry this out are vast and personal but WHAT he has chosen me for is the same.
    The 2nd ends up being related to the 1st. Which of the 7 women’s story has impacted me- All of them. They are all the same in that the main theme in all is LOVE. Love moved them to the actions that they took. Eve was curious but loved God and wanted to protect that by blaming the snake, Miriam loved her baby, Rahab loved her family, Deborah loved her people, justice and fairness, Hannah loved her husband and wanted to give him the status of a child and not a shamed wife, Namaan’s servant girl loved God and people, Esther loved her uncle and Jewish people. All of the stories come back to the greatest commandment: to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. We have 66 books to tell us this one sentence over and over and over again.

    Reply
    1. Glenys Post author

      Lori…how beautiful that you found the common thread of love in all the stories! You are so right. I had never thought of that. And yes, God chooses all of us all…to love him and others. So simple, so true.

      Reply

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