Human history has shown us various examples of what tragedy, change, and revolutions look like. Throughout each generation that has passed there were instances of those who fought for a specific cause in order to produce change. World history records uprisings such as ‘The American Revolution’, ‘The Arab Spring’, and ‘Tiananmen Square’ as conflicts and protests that were sparked out of a dissatisfaction with the status quo. Basically, these revolutions among many others throughout history served as a reminder that where there is a cause there will be those who are willing to take a stand.
War and protests have occurred over many centuries because those who were courageous enough to fight understood the ramifications that their involvement would have on the world. Each of the three uprisings named in addition to countless others changed the shape of our world the way that we see it today. Even in our current view of the world, there are examples of revolts and those who are willing to actively pursue a stance against what they believe to be oppression and tyranny.
There is such an example of someone in the Bible who understood her role in standing up for what was right and her name was Esther. Esther was a woman who had a Jewish background who according to scripture would later save her people (the Jews) from annihilation. The book of Esther contains 10 chapters which account for the story of a woman who rose to prominence as the Queen who ruled with King Xerxes over Persia.
Before getting into the principles that can be extracted from the book of Esther, it is important to understand the historical background of who Esther was and how God used her to save an entire nation of people.
Starting with chapter 1 in the book of Esther, King Xerxes was married to Queen Vashti. However, in verses 10-21 of this chapter, Vashti is deposed as Queen for the reasoning of her open obstinance in the face of King Xerxes. (Verse 12). As a result, she was removed as Queen and a replacement was sought. Moving forward to chapter 2, we are introduced to Esther. She was adopted by a man named Mordecai who was also Jewish. In this chapter, Esther along with many other beautiful women were brought before the King to be chosen as his next Queen.
It is important to note that Esther was told by Mordecai not to divulge her nationality, otherwise she would not be seen favorably by the King. Eventually, Esther was chosen by the King to be his Queen. In chapter 3 there is a pivotal point which will bring us to the principles for this particular blog post.
There was a man by the name of Haman who was promoted to one of the highest offices in the Kingdom. However, in verses 1-3, we can see that Mordecai who is now employed by the King as a gatekeeper comes into contact with Haman. When Haman arrives, Mordecai does not bow down to Haman which was a sign of disrespect. In verse 5 of this chapter, we see that one reason had to do with the fact that Mordecai had told others that he is a Jew.
As a result of this information, Haman becomes enraged and devises a plan to exterminate all of the Jews in addition to killing Mordecai. In chapter 4 of Esther, Mordecai finds out that there is a decree to destroy all of the Jews who were under the reign of King Xerxes. Mordecai then requests the help of Queen Esther, and they exchange responses through messengers that they send.
Mordecai believes that since Esther is the Queen, she can persuade the King to revoke the order of destroying the Jews. At the onset, Queen Esther is skeptical and does not think that she has a chance to even go before the king. Notice what Esther’s response is in verse 11:
(NLT) “All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.”
However, look at Mordecai’s response:
(NLT) “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”
There are three things that we can take away from this particular passage:
1. God had a reason for establishing Esther as the Queen – In Mordecai’s plea to Esther, he poses the question of the possibility that God perhaps allowed her to become Queen in order to save the Jews from extermination. Mordecai even challenges Esther not to be silent about this problem because if she does, she and her family would lose their lives if they are found. The principle for you and I is that we were made to be impactful within our world.
The fact is that our world is growing worse and worse due to the increase of wickedness. However, God is searching and calling those who are willing to stand up against the enemy who is satan. All of us were made to do great things for God’s Kingdom, but we must be willing to forsake the ways of sin, and accept this tremendous call that God has placed on our lives. Even if you are not in Christ, God has a plan for your life and He wants to use you to accomplish His will. By accepting Jesus Christ, God’s purpose will be fulfilled in your life. Just like there was a looming tragedy in the time of Esther, today we are living in times that are quite troubling. However, God is calling those who will, to stand for His truth.
2. Esther was willing to face her initial fear – In verse 11 Esther tells Mordecai about the harsh reality of being killed if she or anyone were to appear before the King without being summoned first. However, she accepts Mordecai’s request and appears before the King in chapter 5 in verses 1-2. Despite the risk of being killed for appearing before the King without permission, Esther realized that the cause was greater than her own life.
That is what we who are called by God must understand and that is, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and standing against what the world has deemed ‘acceptable’ is a greater cause than we could ever know. If it means risking alienation, persecution, and even death then the cause of Jesus Christ must be what we stand for. Facing the challenges in a sinful society is what Christians are called to do, and we must do so without restraint.
3. The lives within the Jewish nation were saved – It was in part because of Esther’s willingness to face what seemed like a hopeless situation that in the end the Jews were saved. However, if you look back at chapter 2 in verses 21-23, Mordecai hears about an assassination attempt against King Xerxes. As a result of this, Mordecai sends the information to Queen Esther and the assassination is thwarted. Haman who was the individual who wanted to destroy all of the Jews and kill Mordecai is later found guilty by the King for wanting to eliminate ithe Jews and Haman is put to death for it.
Mordecai is later discovered by the King to be Jewish in addition to Queen Esther’s heritage being disclosed. However, because of Mordecai’s loyalty to the King in thwarting an assassination attempt that a new decree was put into place to save every Jew from destruction. So, in essence, God used Esther through her willingness to stand up for the Jews, and God honored Mordecai for his dedication to the King.
The fact is, that when we are obedient unto God and when we allow Him to use us, lives can and will be saved through Christ. We who are Christians have a tremendous opportunity to share the Gospel with the lost. By standing firm and facing opposition, we are in a position to experience what it looks like for the lost to be saved.
Do you know Jesus as your Lord & Savior? If you do not, you can be apart of the harvest which involves reaching those who are not in Christ. Like Esther, God can use you to change a generation and the world around you. God wants to use every person who is willing to bring the Good News to all nations. Our world will only grow worse as sin abounds, but the hope that we have is in Jesus Christ. You and I, we can impact the world for God.