By sis Tan Geok Eng
Though the word ‘God’ is not found in the Book of Esther, the book is inspired and included in the Canon of the Bible for our learning.
Who is Esther?
Esther was one of the Jews who lived under the rule of King Ahasuerus during the Persian reign. Her parents died, leaving her in the care of Mordecai, her cousin. Mordecai, a descendant of Kish, was a Benjamite working in the palace of Shushan, the capital of Persia. Mordecai was carried away into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Among those taken captive was Jehoiachin, king of Judah. (Est 2:5-6)
A decree of the king was issued that one among the young virgin maidens in the country would be chosen to serve as a new queen for King Ahasuerus.
Esther, a candidate for the new queen
Esther was one of the young maidens on the list to be selected as the next queen. She was placed under the care of Hegai, the keeper of the women in the king's house. In Est 2:9, it is recorded that Esther pleased Hegai and received kindness from him and whatever she needed for her purification, it was provided speedily for her by him. Maids were assigned to help prepare her to appear before the king for selection.
She was selected to be the new queen at the time of selection. “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.” (Est 2:17)
Esther obeyed Mordecai
Esther was not only fair and beautiful, but she was also obedient to her cousin, Mordecai, who cared for her after her parents’ deaths. He had instructed Esther not to disclose her true identity to anyone (Est 2:7,10).
Esther came to know of the Evil Plot
In the palace, there was a chief advisor to King Ahasuerus named Haman. Haman hated the Jews, especially Mordecai. Everyone would bow down to him except Mordecai (Esther 3:2-5). Haman schemed an evil plot to kill all the Jews. He told the king that there was a group of rebels in the province who did not obey his laws. He even offered to donate a certain amount of money to the king's treasury and wrote a letter with orders to the king's lieutenants and governors to exterminate and kill all Jews in every province, young and old, with the king's ring seal.
When Esther learned that Mordecai was clothed in sackcloth and sitting outside the king's gate in ashes, and howled loudly in the city, she sent her servant to inquire. Mordecai told the messenger all that had happened to him. He also gave him a copy of the written decree to exterminate all Jews that he might show to Esther and explain it to her. (Esther 4:8).
Mordecai charged Esther, the queen, to make supplication for her people before the king. Esther explained the difficulty behind this as she was only allowed to come to the king when called, and if she came on her own, she could be executed for daring to approach the king without an invitation; for the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden sceptre, that he may live.
Esther did not forget her identity
Mordecai then reminded Esther of her identity and said, “Do not think that you can escape in the king’s house more than all the Jews. For if you are to remain silent, deliverance may come from another place, but you and your father’s house shall be destroyed. Who knows whether you come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Est 4:13-14)
Esther then told Mordecai to gather all the Jews that were present in Shushan to fast for her for three days, and that she and her maidens would do the same. Then she would go to the king, though it was against the law. (Est 4:15-16)
What is our identity bearing the name “Christian”?
The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. Acts 11:26 reads, “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
In 1 Pe 2:9, the apostle Peter says, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Yes, we are called by the gospel of Christ out of our ignorance and sins to the knowledge of the truth and the redemption for our sins.
We are thankful to brother Paul for the “Thanksgiving Message” reminding us to:
Be committed - Our true love for God.
Be connected - Our true love for man.
Be concerned – Our true love for the church.
Jesus said in Mat 22:37- 40: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets.”
Psa 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
May we keep meditating on God’s word always.