This lesson about Queen Esther is the third devotional Eric has written to use with kids in the neighborhood.
By Eric Jordan
Esther is a book of powerful kings, beautiful queens, deceit, pride, and trust; however, the two most important themes woven into the story are courage and God’s providence. Esther showed much courage throughout very difficult circumstances. God showed his control by making Esther find favor with Xerxes after the king had banished Queen Vashti, his wife. There are things we can do every day to apply the lessons in this story to show courage and faith in God.
Esther’s tremendous courage saved the Jews. Esther’s courage starts to emerge in Esther 4:16: “I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (ESV) The story is set after Queen Vashti was disposed of due to her disobedience. To find a suitable bride, Xerxes sent his men to search throughout the kingdom. After many months, Esther won the favor of King Xerxes and became queen. Esther never told Xerxes she was Jewish. Ultimately, the malevolent Haman, the king’s second-in-command, tricked Xerxes into ordering that the Jews be eradicated by not telling the king that it was the Jews that he was destroying, but instead telling him that “a certain people” were not obeying the laws placed by the king. Esther then risked her life by approaching the king without his summons. It was his custom to put to death those who presumed to approach him uninvited. Esther further risked her life by telling the king that she was one of the people Haman had ordered killed, and she begged the king to issue orders to protect her people, the Jews, from destruction. Esther had tremendous courage, and risked her life to save the Jews in Xerxes’ kingdom.
Even though the book of Esther never mentions God or prayer, it is clear that God is in control, and it is also clear that Esther and Mordecai serve him in their efforts to save the Jews. God chose Esther to be queen of this place at this time so she and Mordecai could foil Haman’s evil scheme to eradicate the Jews. Moreover, God orchestrated these events to preserve the line from which Jesus would come. He protected the Jews from destruction in order to keep the promises he made to Abraham to build him into a great nation and bless all families of the earth through him. See Genesis 12:1-3. Also, Galatians 3:8 proclaims, “Long ago, the scriptures said that God would accept the Gentiles because of their faith. That’s why God told Abraham the good news that all nations would be blessed because of him.” (CEV) God used Mordecai and Esther to protect his people and carry out his promise of blessing all nations through the Jews.
So how can we apply the lessons of Esther to our lives? First, we can remember that even when circumstances seem grim, God is in control and can, and sometimes does, transform potentially tragic conditions into blessings. However, in Esther’s case, she didn’t stand back and watch this tragedy unfold, she allowed God to use her as part of the solution. She had to approach the king without knowing whether he would kill her or listen to her petition. We should always remember that God requires us to take part in his plan, and sometimes that means stepping forward into uncertainty. As Christians we need work hard to trust God while we work hard to serve him.
God’s providence and Esther’s courage are witnessed throughout the book of Esther. We, as Christians need to have more courage; we also need to have more faith in the sovereignty of God. It would be sad to read Esther and not let its lessons affect our lives. The most important lessons intertwined in this story are the sovereignty of God and Esther’s courage.