I love the Old Testament account of Queen Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman who put her life on the line to serve God and save her people.
Esther had been orphaned as a child and raised by her cousin Mordecai. She was elevated from a life of relative obscurity – via rather unique circumstances – to sit atop the throne of the Persian Empire. King Xerxes chose her, from many, as his queen following a royal bridal contest. He was unaware that Esther and Mordecai were Jewish. It is unlikely that he would have chosen
Esther had he known. Mordecai was then appointed to a low level government position.
After Mordecai unearthed a conspiracy to assassinate King Xerxes, he quickly advised Esther. She, in turn, warned the king, giving full credit for the discovery to Mordecai who was richly rewarded for his loyalty.
Meanwhile, Haman, Xerxes’ highest-ranking executive – an evil man who hated the Jews – devised a plot to have all the Jewish people killed, including Esther and Mordecai. King Xerxes agreed to the genocidal scheme, still oblivious to Esther’s Jewish heritage.
Once again, Mordecai learned of the conspiracy and urged Esther to reveal her Jewish heritage to Xerxes, saying, “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 4:14)
Esther called the Jewish people to fasting and prayer and – at risk to her own life and limb –devised a clever scheme of her own. She held a banquet for Xerxes and Haman wherein she revealed her Jewish heritage to the king and begged his mercy for herself and the Jewish people.
Xerxes was moved by Esther’s courage and love for her people. He granted her request and became enraged at Haman. He had Haman executed and promoted Mordecai to his post. Xerxes then pledged safety for the Jewish people.
To this day, Esther’s bravery, her faith in God and God’s deliverance of His chosen people are celebrated during the Jewish festival of Purim.
The Bible is rich with stories of brave women who were called to serve God and country. These stories, like Esther’s, are an inspiration to men, women and children alike. Still, such stories – such callings – are not exclusive to biblical times.
Women, you too – every one of you who both love the Lord and wish to serve Him – are called “for such a time as this.”
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