The Esther Difference

Today, the Bible reading plan lead me to Esther.  I read chapters one through five, leaving me hanging about Mordecai’s faith.  I’m really enjoying this plan.  The makers put a lot of thought into dividing up narratives into serial chunks.  They did it with the lives of David and Saul; that’s where I noticed it.  Even though I’ve read the Bible tons of times, it’s kind of fun to be left with a cliffhanger ending.

What got to me about Esther day is rather simple.  You know the story (Esther 2:5-8). The beautiful orphan girl raised by her Uncle Mordecai got rounded up with all the other virgin candidates as a possible replacement for rebellious Queen Vashti. Esther’s incredible beauty gave her access to a possible royal alliance.  I hear you saying, Good, good.  Nothing new to mine there.

But wait.  Esther didn’t protest the ridiculous way Vashti got banished.  Esther didn’t revolt against the cattle mentality of hundreds of girls vying for the king’s affections.  The whole “The Bachelor” setup didn’t make her stomach turn, like it might today with our modern sensibilities.  She had no plans to change the system or overthrow the king.  Yes, she fasted and prayed when the fate of the Jews came to her attention (Esther 4:7-9). Yet Esther knew she was put there “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:13-14).  Her placement allowed God to work on the Jews’ behalf.  It didn’t entitle her to special privilege, though those perks came with the job (Esther 2:12).  Esther worked within the existing paradigm to save the Jews from annihilation within King Xerxes’ realm.

Esther goes on to read that Xerxes laid heavy taxes on the people in his kingdom (Esther 10:1).  His basic nature didn’t change because Esther risked her life to save her people. Xerxes and Esther still lived together in the palace, learning each other’s natures, and adapting accordingly.  Granted, given the nature of the relationship, Esther probably did more of the adapting.  My point is that our role in the scope of history might be pivotal to the fate of entire nations.  Or it might be small, like the direction of a single person.  We can work where we are with what we have and make a difference.  Don’t miss it.


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