There are many fascinating stories to choose from in the Bible but there was one that caught my attention as I was flipping through deciding what I should do my paper about. It was the story of Esther. I picked this story because, to me, it shows perseverance and strength through adversity and persecution.
Chapter I: Esther becomes Queen
The story starts with the king banishing, Vashti, his former wife, from the kingdom and ordering a decree for all the eligible young ladies to appear in his court so he can choose a wife that he likes. Then she will be the new queen. So it was done and the entire kingdom heard the news. The king was looking for a new wife.
Now in the kingdom lived a man named Mordecai, who worked for the king. He had a niece named Esther who was very beautiful. When Mordecai heard the decree the king sent out he knew his niece would be taken to the palace where she would be prepared to see the king. In the palace she had twelve months of beauty treatments to get ready. Finally at the end to the twelve months it was her turn to see the king. The court was full and when she entered everyone stopped and stared. The king was awe struck by her beauty and fell in love. He sent all of the other ladies home with out even seeing them and made Ester queen. Mordecai told Ester before she went to court that if she became queen she would not share that she was Jewish. He felt she should keep this concealed for her safety.
Some years later Mordecai uncovered a plot to kill the king and told Queen Esther about it. She went and told the king and gave credit to Mordecai and the two guards were caught and hanged. This whole event was recorded in the “book of annuals.”
Chapter II: Haman Comes into Power
Some time later the king honored, Haman, a trusted advisor, and was put him above all the other officials second only to the king. “Mordecai, the Jew, bowed not, nor did him reverence” (1.Beacon Bible Commentary). This enraged Haman and he found out that Mordecai was a Jew, but he was not satisfied with the idea of just killing Mordecai. He wanted to kill all of the Jews. So Haman went to the king and told him about a people dispersed throughout the kingdom whose customs were different from all other people and they don’t obey the kings laws. Haman also said the king should not tolerate them. He asked that there be a decree issued to destroy them. The way it would be done was to pay everyone who helped and do it on the thirteen day of the first month. The king gave Haman his ring and told him to do with it what he wanted. So Haman ordered a decree to kill the Jews.
Mordecai heard the news and immediately tore his clothes and went into mourning. Esther’s attendants saw this and told Ester. No one was allowed to go into the court when in mourning so she sent one attendant to him and Mordecai told the attendant about the decree and their only hope was for Esther to go and plead with the king to save them. When Esther heard this she said that no one is to visit the king and if they try they will be killed, but Mordecai said she had to do it for her people. So she put on her best robes and got ready and went to the king. He sat there, looked at her, and held out his golden scepter and he was happy to see her and her life was spared. The king asked what her request was and told her she could have anything she wants even up to half of the kingdom. So she invited the king and Haman to dinner she prepared for the next day and then she will answer the kings question.
Chapter III: Haman Humiliated, Mordecai Honored
That same day Haman went out into the city in high spirits and passed by Mordecai who neither bowed nor showed fear of him. This enraged Haman. He restrained himself and went home to his family and boasted about himself. This did not make him happy. He was still upset about Mordecai. His wife suggested to have gallows built seventy-five feet high and hang Mordecai from them. This delighted Haman and so they were built.
That night the king couldn’t sleep so he read the book of annuls and saw the story of Mordecai saving his life. He asked his attendants what honor Mordecai had received for his faithfulness and they said none. The next day the king asked Haman what should be done for a man who honors the king. Haman then thought of himself and said he should have a robe the king has worn and have a horse the king has ridden and paraded around the city proclaiming this is done for you when you honor the king. The king then told Haman to take Mordecai on a horse around the city saying this is what is done for those who please the king. Haman was humiliated.
Chapter IV: Esther Saves her People
That night they had the dinner with Esther and the king asked what her petition was. She said that if she had found favor with the king then she pleaded with him to save her life and spare her people. Esther said her people had been plotted for destruction and annihilation. The king asked who would do such a thing and asked who it was. Esther said it was Haman. The king got up and went to the garden. Haman stayed behind to beg the queen. Just as Haman was going to fall where she was reclining the king entered the room enraged at what he saw. He then found out that Haman had the gallows built for Mordecai and the king ordered Haman to be hung on it instead of Mordecai.
Now the only problem was that the king could not take back his decree because it was sealed with the royal ring and no one, not even the king, can take back a royal decree. They didn’t know what should be done.
The king appointed Mordecai into Haman’s spot and the two of them would be saved, but they wanted all of their people to come to no harm. They brought all of the royal secretaries in and thought of an idea. They decided that when the day came for their destruction the Jews could arm and defend themselves from anyone that tried to attack them. So when the day came no one even tried anything because they were all afraid of the Jews and knew they, themselves, would come to destruction if they attacked the Jews and so the Jews were saved.
Conclusion: God has a Plan and Perseveres
“The primary message of the book is God’s protection of his people, perhaps to be understood through this book as the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15), through which he preserves and carries on his plan of redemption” (The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, pg. 354).
Though we may not know it God is putting our lives together and making a plan. We have to trust him even in the most difficult circumstances. Things don’t just “happen.” We have a purpose. We need to seek his will and when we are doing what he wants we will have a peace that we have never felt before. We have many talents and abilities that we can put towards Gods use. If we all did that imagine what this world would be like.
Esther was an orphan raised by her uncle and even in those circumstance she became queen of Persia and saved an entire nation. She was a “no one” who became incredibly powerful by following God’s plan for her life. God was never mentioned in this book, but it is clear he was at work. The whole time he was arranging things behind the scenes with her life like he does with ours. That’s one of the reasons why I like this story. I struggle with this very subject of trusting him. It is very hard for me to give my life to God because I am not in control. I am not driving and I don’t have the wheel. This
story shows me its o.k. not to be in control. That if we are not in control things won’t go wrong they will actually go right. We just have to trust him like Ester did.
She had to persevere and have faith or else her people, an entire nation, would be lost. “Difficulties do not daunt the strong. Obstacles that seem insurmountable in ordinary times dwindle much in presence of great emergencies” (The Pulpit Commentary, pg. 93). I think that pretty much sums it up. All things are possible through God. He will give you the strength to persevere.