Orphan. Chosen. Beautiful. Favor with the king. Queen. Obedient. Brave. Hadassah or Myrtle. No matter how we describe her, Esther was the one God used to save the Jewish people from annihilation.

Indeed, as an orphan girl, her cousin Mordecai took her to raise her as his own and changed her name from Hadassah to Esther, which means star, to protect her identity. At an early age, God purposely placed her in a position to save her people, who were ultimately God’s people.

If you haven’t read the book of Esther in a while, I encourage you to read the story, not just for the entertainment, but for the bigger picture. As the ESV Study Bible puts it, if the evil plot by Haman had succeeded, he would have destroyed all the Jews. What does that mean to us? This goes much farther back than one may think. It runs back to Abraham and Christ. The promised seed was at stake. It is not just a story about the Jewish people in general. It is part of our heritage as God’s people.

This story has a little bit of everything. An evil villain, ethnic hatred, a heroine who is a young orphan girl who becomes queen and finds favor with the king so she can foil the evil plot and save her people. It even evokes laughter at Haman’s expense. But it also shows her faith, God’s providence, and human responsibility.

There has been some controversy over the inclusion of the book of Esther in the Scripture because the author does not mention God’s name, and this is the only place where Esther’s name appears in the Bible. But God’s fingerprints are all over this story. We must take a deeper dive to see how God was working in this young girl’s life.

Esther’s role in the story of Jesus is no less significant because her name does not appear in other parts of the Bible, just as God’s role in Esther’s story is any less prominent because the author does not mention God in the book of Esther.

The Key Word Study Bible gives us several interesting reflections on the book: The fact that Esther asked the Jews living in the capital city to fast shows that she was relying on the grace of God to resolve the desperate situation (4:16, ESV). Esther feared for her life, but Mordecai’s reply led her to ask for the fast, and she found favor with the king who overturned the evil plot to kill the Jews. What he said to her is the most famous verse from the book, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (4:14, ESV, emphasis mine).

But we must also go back a line or two to see Mordecai’s faith, “for if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place.” (4:14, Emphasis mine) This shows that he believes in God’s divine providence. He knows God keeps His promises and that the Jews had to survive to fulfill them. Haman had persuaded the king to agree to the annihilation; he had sealed it with the signet ring, which meant it was irrevocable. But God seals His promises with a Holy Kiss, and they are irrevocable because God cannot lie. It also means if Esther refused, God would choose someone else to fulfill His purpose.

It was thirty years before the efforts of Ezra and Nehemiah, which leads many to suggest that their successes would not have been possible without Esther, Mordecai, and Daniel paving the way with their conduct and accomplishments.[1]

We don’t know what effect our actions will have years down the road. We should consider it a great honor when God chooses us for any mission that fulfills His purpose. I hope that my actions pave the way for others who will come after me, whether I see the results or not. We must take heed to what God is calling us to do today that could have ramifications or great accomplishments, like Esther, for others that come behind us.

Orphan. Chosen. Obedience. Favor with the King. Beautiful. Star. I see so much correlation here to our relationship with God. We were orphans and God took us as His own, heirs with Christ, chosen for a purpose. Christ tells us that He will give us a new name (Rev. 2:1, ESV). In our obedience, we too find favor with the One True King.

One time I asked God how He sees me, His answer fits nicely into this comparison with Esther. “I see you like a star. My children are like beautiful glowing lights. The difference is that I can see inside the light at every intricate detail of your life.”

[1] Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing company of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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