On 2nd May 2015, the eyes of the world were on London as we celebrated the arrival of Princess Charlotte. In the days leading up to the royal birth, excitement mounted as people camped outside the hospital in anticipation.
Over two thousand years ago, a young woman prepared to meet royalty, albeit in very different circumstances. Esther was a girl who didn’t have the easiest start in life, being a Jewish slave who was tragically orphaned at a young age. After being adopted by her cousin, she was raised in Persia. Whilst living there, Esther was chosen for an audience with the King and, subsequently, became Queen.
No sooner had Esther taken up residence in the palace when she discovered a plot to annihilate all the Jews living in Persia. Esther is suddenly placed in a real predicament and has to choose her course of action. Does she keep mum and protect herself? Does she enter panic mode becoming no good to anyone? Or does she put herself on the line and do the right thing? Esther decides to risk all, go before the King and plead for mercy for her people. What a response!
Whilst the book of Esther makes no direct reference to Jesus, we see His hand at work on every page. As Esther prepared to meet her King, we must prepare our lives for Jesus, our coming King.
As Esther prepared to meet her King, she was responsive. She could have felt sadness for what the Jews were facing but done nothing. She could have viewed the whole scenario from the safety of the palace and come up with a million reasons as to why she should keep out of it. She could have turned a blind eye and let someone else sort it but she didn’t.
In the same way we too have a choice to make. When we look at the needs of the world, as we watch society veer more off track, we can either passively sit on the side lines or we can decide that we are going to be like Esther. We can decide that we are going to rise up and make a difference.
When I look at the devastation and despair that surrounds us I often feel powerless and overwhelmed but I have come to realise that God does not expect me to change the whole world. He just wants me to bring change to my world. Esther used her beauty, her brains and her position to respond to the needs in her world. She used what God had given her, to shine a light in the darkness that surrounded her.
Let’s ask ourselves, what has God given us? What do we have and what are we doing with it?
We all, without exception, have something which God can use to impact our world. What will be our response?
An outsider in Persia, Esther was plucked from obscurity and cast into the lime light. Can you imagine how daunting that was?
Even though she knew it was forbidden by law, Esther determined to go to the King. She wasn’t deluded, she knew she had a giant to slay. As you await your coming King, maybe you can relate to Esther? Maybe you are up against a giant today?
Sometimes we get the wrong impression about Esther. We read of her bravery and assume she was fearless. I think that couldn’t be further from the truth. Esther was a normal girl, with normal emotions but as she plugged herself into God she moved from a place of fear to a position of faith. The same applies to us. We can overcome giants and find freedom, by placing our lives in God’s hands knowing that He will work all things together for our good. With God in the equation, we can find the courage to press past our fears, move beyond our mistakes and get through the challenges we face.
Despite the pressure that Esther was under, she decided to be herself and in doing so her authenticity shone through.
‘We are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’. As His handiwork, we are unique and God is looking for authenticity, not perfection.
‘It was for freedom that Christ has set us free’. Jesus always holds out his royal sceptre to us and we can know freedom because of that. As we walk out our salvation, as we await our coming King, let’s learn from Esther. Let’s be responsive, let’s be courageous and let’s embrace the freedom that’s ours today.