Yesterday, Kate got us started in our study for this week on the book of Esther. Today, let’s dive in to Esther chapter 2. The book takes place about 3 years after the events detailed in Chapter 1. The Lavish party the King threw in Chapter 1 is a long past memory, the King was disobeyed by Vashti, and now he’s probably feeling a bit sorry for himself and lonely. So King Xerxes is looking for a new queen, and thus women are gathered up solely for their beauty and brought to the king’s palace.
“The king’s servants who attended him said, “Let a search be conducted in the king’s behalf for attractive young women.” Esther 2:2
I’ll be honest. I was not excited to write today about this book. The overt focus on female beauty and imagining the reality of kings and their concubines just makes my stomach churn. For example Esther 2:4 reads “Let the young woman whom the king finds most attractive become queen in place of Vashti.” This seemed like a good idea to the king, so he acted accordingly.”
In preparing for today and reading that my face literally contorted into the expression of “ick.” I had to stop and pray something along the lines of:
“God, I don’t want to write today. Sometimes your Word makes me feel gross. It feels sacrilegious and dishonoring to confess that to You. I’m sorry for the state of my heart now. Please, remove what veils me from the Life found in Your Word. Send your Holy Spirit to reveal something more than what I’m seeing and feeling now. Take me to something deeper, something I can relate to, share with our readers and apply today. Thank you. Amen.”
It took some time, and re-reading. It felt especially hard to mine for the Truth since God is not even mentioned in the entire chapter. “Where are You God? I want to see You” was the quiet hope of my heart.
Eventually, I was taken on a deeper dive and I think there’s a bit of Truth that I’m seeing now that is worth sharing. Hint: it’s not about the physical beauty of a woman named Esther. It’s about the beauty of a relationship between an orphan girl (Esther) and her adoptive father (Mordecai).
“…when her father and mother died, Mordecai had raised her as if she were his own daughter.” Esther 2:7
At the revelation, my heart cracked open. “Now, we are talking Lord,” my heart celebrated! As an adoptive mom to two beautiful (but that’s not important, *wink*) girls myself, God now had my attention. There is something to grieve when a child is orphaned. I believe God’s original plan did not intend for there to ever be anyone orphaned. Even still, God makes plans for the orphaned – big plans! The story of Esther is a shining example. Esther lost both of her parents at a very young age. That is nothing short of tragic, but triumph was coming…
“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.”
There was Mordecai, reflecting the character of God and being a “helper to the fatherless.” He took his cousin Esther into his care. She was once an orphan but, spoiler alert, she became queen!
“And the king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she met with his loving approval more than all the other young women. So he placed the royal high turban on her head and appointed her queen in place of Vashti.” Esther 2:17
At the end of Chapter 2, God’s big, dramatic, and exciting plans begins to unfold. God needed Esther to be in the right place at the right time and in relationship with Mordecai because other, evil plans were being made. Mordecai uncovers that there’s a plot to assassinate King Xerxes and tells Esther. The king’s life is saved because of Mordecai and Esther.
Even while living as queen, Esther continued to honor and obey her adoptive father, always listening to him and doing as he asked.
“..Esther continued to do whatever Mordecai said, just as she had done when he was raising her,” reads Esther 2:20.
She was obedient to him, in the same way that we should be obedient to our own adoptive father, the Heavenly Father God who has Big Plans for each of us. He was there for us when we were first orphaned by sin and continues to provide for, love and govern us, always. And even if we rise to have access, power and wealth, we are to remain under His authority, choosing to obey Him in order to have lives of impact and fulfill His plans.
Mordecai did not forget the orphan, and even when she did not “need” him, Esther did not forget her adoptive Father. Hopers, let’s remember that today. Whether we feel like an orphan or a queen in the circumstances of our lives, we are meant to be in relationship with The Father.
Oh, one more thing… this is just the tip of the iceberg! Stay with us this week as we continue in this book and more of God’s great story for Esther is revealed!