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