Esther—an orphan turned queen of a powerful nation—harbored a secret. Not even the king was privy to his queen’s origins. Ahasuerus didn’t even imagine that the decree he irrevocably sealed with his own ring, and which condemned the Jewish people, also put the life of his own queen at risk. Esther was called upon to enter the scene and use her high office to plead for her people. This was a potentially fatal mission, but inspired by God, the young queen fulfilled it marvelously and left us a great example of faith, courage, and wisdom.
Queen Esther’s faith
Aware of her influence, Esther still knew she could do nothing on her own. She recognized it was a situation that could only be reversed through divine intervention. The queen did everything she was asked to do, and along the way she asked all the people to seek the Lord. She pleaded,
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king
Despite the crisis, she didn’t rush or trust in her own efforts to solve the problem, but she called for help, both from her people and from her God.
Queen Esther’s courage
At the surface level, it may seem that pleading to her husband for her life and that of her people shouldn’t be such a difficult thing to do. After all, Esther was the queen, the wife of the one who had sealed the decree. Couldn’t he just reverse it when he realized his mistake?
That wasn’t quite how things worked. First, anyone who presented themselves to the king without being summoned was sentenced to death, even the queen. The only exception would be if the king extended his scepter, but that was rare. Second, a king’s decree was irreversible, even by himself.
Knowing all this, Esther still summoned the courage to address the king, reveal her Jewish roots, and plead for her nation. She didn’t consider her life any more important than that of all her people. With God-given strength and courage, she fulfilled her mission and said, “if I perish, I perish” Esther 4:16.
Queen Esther’s wisdom
And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre.
We can imagine the collective exhales of those in the room who had held their breath as Esther approached the throne. What could possibly be so important for her to dare this appearance?
When questioned by the king, she did not immediately present her request. Her husband offered her up to half of his kingdom, but Esther didn’t take advantage of the request, “Well, in that case, I’ll take half the kingdom, the lives of my people, and Haman’s ruin, thanks.”
With much wisdom and inspired by God, she devised an elaborate plan that began with a banquet she prepared in honor of the king. She took her time, planned, and remained faithful that all would be well.
During the second banquet, Esther revealed her Jewish background and pleaded for her life and that of her people. The result—you probably already know. The originator of the decree, Haman, was hung on the gallows he had prepared for Esther’s cousin, Mordecai. Thanks to a new decree, the Jewish people were allowed to fight for their lives. In addition, the position formerly held by Haman in the court, the king bestowed upon Mordecai.
I greatly admire this woman’s life and courage. She wasn’t influenced by the honors of the court and her position, but kept her essence and communion with God. In a time of extreme crisis, she used her privilege to advocate for her people. And what’s best of all in this story, is that we can both develop the qualities of this young queen. The Fountain of Esther’s faith, courage, and wisdom is within our reach as well.
I hope Esther’s example encourages you to seek the Lord at all times. Make Him, even in moments of great crises, your first option, just as Queen Esther did.