Part 2 of 2
You can read part 1, Created for Such A Time as This, here.
This week, in my circle of influence, I have friends and family members who are dealing with joblessness, interminable work stress, illness, loss of independence as they reach their senior-senior years, stress and fears about the coming school year, divorce, raising their grandchildren, car troubles, job transitions, struggling businesses, being full-time caregivers, financial hardship, depression, addictions, and the list goes on and on. Add on top of that all that goes with this season of the coronavirus, Covid-19—the stresses, the worries, the instability, the fears, the heartaches, and the losses. How are we, who were created for such a time as this supposed to live up to this calling that God has put on our life? I already have so much on my plate just fulfilling the roles God has given me on a normal day. How do I add more roles and responsibilities? And what does that even look like?
I cannot help but wonder if Queen Esther had some of those same thoughts. In the first blog in this series, Created for Such a Time as This, we talked about how each of us is uniquely designed, created, and put into position for this season of humankind’s story. God planned this in advance and He knew that one of you and one of me was just what the world needed. Not because we would be the one that saves the world, but because we would be used by God to point others to the One who saves the world. But how do what form that role will take and how to step into that role?
Queen Esther was facing that same question. Here she was a relatively new queen. Not just one of King Ahasuerus’ (King A, the King of the Persian Empire) queens. She went from orphaned Jewish exile girl living in a foreign country to two years later fulfilling a very important role in the household of the most powerful man in the world at that time. This is the same man that had enough riches to give a 187 day feast for all his officials and all his servants from 127 provinces. She may have already felt in a bit over her head as she learned to navigate this new area of responsibility, and expectations. Then thrown on top of this, her older cousin who was a father figure to her, tells her that if she does not go talk to King A and convince him to change the edict sent out by one of his most trusted officials, then all the Jews, including her loved ones, would be executed. Talk about a time of stress, worry, instability, fear, heartache, and loss.
Let’s see how Queen Esther handled it.
We pick up the story at the point where Queen Esther has just learned from her servants and attendants that in twelve months on one special day all the Jews in the land of Persia and its provinces will be gathered and killed by King A’s orders. Needless to say, the Jews were very upset by the news and had taken to the streets with very loud and public displays of grieving. When Queen Esther tries to cheer up her cousin by sending him clean clothes to put on instead of his ash covered sackcloth ones, he challenges her to take seriously the role that she can have in removing the death sentence from Jews. The fact that Queen Esther went from orphaned exile to the king’s chief queen was not meant to read like a cute Disney fairytale. God had a purpose for her to be where she was just like God has a purpose for where we are during this coronavirus.
There are seven lessons we can learn from actions Queen Esther took.
1.) She gathered her serious prayer warriors.
Queen Esther knew that what she was about to do could result in her immediate death. She was about to approach King A without being summoned. Plus, she was about to speak ill of someone that the king trusted enough to give him the king’s signet ring with the freedom to write carte blanch an edict in King A’s name. This was not just someone of high rank in the king’s court. This was someone that King A trusted completely. Her first step of preparing was to ask for prayer. Not a simple “Hey, I would appreciate prayers” thrown out on social media type prayer request. Those are useful, but she knew this was serious business and required serious prayer. So she told Mordecai she wanted him and every single Jew in Susa to get together in one place, not eat or drink for 3 days or nights, and to spend that time in prayer over the situation. Plus, she would get all the young women in her sphere of influence to do the same. Queen Esther knew that during this time of prayer is where she would learn from God the instructions of what to do and gain the courage to do follow those instructions.
Friends, I believe that God has created and placed you and I in a position to make a difference in the lives of others, but we cannot pretend that this is not serious business. Take time to gather your prayer warriors. Actually call them up, seek out those you know will spend time on their knees for you, even fast for you, and ask them to join you in praying over what God has called you to do. Or if you do not know what you are supposed to be doing that would provide relief and deliverance to others during this time, what if you gathered together and prayed this hard that God would give you guidance and make your path clear. Whatever you do, do not just throw it out on social media and call it good enough. This is serious business; act like it!
2.) She accepted the possible outcomes.
Queen Esther says in 4:16, “If I perish, I perish.” How many things could we accomplish for the Lord if we were to say, “If I perish, I perish?” I am not advocating a reckless abandonment in our activities, there are reasonable cautions that will allow us to be used by God longer. However, if God tells us to act and the reason we do not is that we worry about what will happen to us, then it is our fear holding us back from being fully used by God. Paul reminded Timothy in his letter to him about this very thing.
6For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:6-7)
I urge you, “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you”. Do not allow fear of death—physical, social, or financial—to be what holds you back from doing what God has uniquely crafted you to do. Move forward in God’s spirit with power, love, and self-control.
3.) She took 3 days to think and pray about what she would need to do.
As I read Esther chapters 4 and 5, I cannot help but wonder if, Esther did not have a complete plan. I wonder if she knew the first few steps: invite the king and Haman to a banquet, but was still unsure how God was going to work out King A’s response along the way. I wonder if she knew to prepare the banquet for King A and Haman, but went into it depending on God to tell her what to say and when to say it. What I find encouraging is that whether God had revealed the whole plan or not, she sought His face and favor and then moved on what she did know.
Often times when I feel the prompting of God to take action, I fall into one of two possible pitfalls. I think and plan and procrastinate far longer than I should. This is usually a sign that I am allowing fear to continue to hold me back. Or, I go blazing forth with sword raised into the battle with no plan, often leaving in my wake people who felt me move forward in a spirit of power, but not love and self-control. During this time of quarantines, social distancing, illness, economically difficult times, and uncertainty, people need to feel us move in God’s spirit with power, love, and self-control. Take time to seek those things, but then take action. Neither procrastination or impulsiveness are characteristics that reflect the character of God.
4.) She took on the fullness of her position as royalty.
She did not approach King A as the orphaned Jewish girl. After three days of prayer and fasting, the story says “she put on her royal robes”. A large part of moving forward in God’s spirit with power is remembering who we are. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, then you have been adopted into the royal family. You are the daughter or son of the King of Kings! You are the sister or brother of the Prince of Peace! You are royalty. You no longer have to do the things that God has designed, crafted, and positioned you to do as (insert your old descriptors here). You are royalty! Clothe yourself in your royal robes. God has given you something to do.
5.) She made herself visible.
I find it interesting that Esther did not send a request to see King A or speak to him first. Instead, she simply stood, regally in her royal robes, where the king could see her. From the story of Esther, I get the impression that she was a quiet and reserved person and she was used by God to be the messenger sent to talk to King A. This has never been one of the things said about me. I have to work hard to make sure I am not being boldly obnoxious. Yet, I know many people that I love dearly that would find this to be one of the hardest parts to embrace in the story. They are the quiet, behind the scene heroes so making themselves visible is something they shy away from. However, I want to encourage those of you who struggle with this. There comes a time when you are acting on God’s behalf that you may need to make yourself visible. Not in a show-off and proud way, but with bold confidence in your royal position in the family of God.
6.) She played to her strengths.
Not only was Queen Esther beautiful, more than once we were told that she was liked by everyone. In other words, she was beautiful both inside and out. Queen Esther used her beauty and her reputation as someone enjoyable to be around to get the kings attention. She did not have to use sex as the way to get King A’s attention. She wore her royal robes. She invited him to a feast with Haman in attendance. No trickery was used. Queen Esther was simply herself.
I want to encourage you to be yourself. The world needs you as you were created with the skills and abilities you have. If Queen Esther had tried to be like someone else and approached the king, it would have been disastrous for both her and all the Jews. There are always ways that we can grow and improve who we are, but do not let those things stop you from serving God now with the skills and abilities you currently have.
7.) She was measured in her approach.
This is where Queen Esther amazes me by doing what I consider to have been a near impossible feat. As I mentioned earlier, I am the one who has to work to hold my tongue, so the fact that Queen Esther did not just pour out to the king everything when he asked is remarkable in my book. First, she prepared and served a feast to King A and Haman, not once, but twice. On the third time the King offers her anything, up to half of his kingdom, she explained Haman’s treachery calmly and directly. Then when the time was right, she released her full emotions and cried and pleaded on behalf of her people.
When Queen Esther did these things, God used her to convince King A to remove his servant Haman and also to stop the edict that had previously been sent out. To this day, the Jews celebrate the holiday of Purim which is the observance of the way God used Queen Esther to save the Jews from death. I do not know if people will celebrate a holiday in honor of you stepping into the role that God has created you for. I do know that God has designed, created, and positioned you to be used by Him to accomplish great things that bring glory to His name—especially in such a time as this.
8/22/2020 07:10:44 pm
The story of Esther has always been one of my favorites, and your insights were inspirational! Thank you!
8/26/2020 02:15:20 am
Thanks, Kristen. The story of Esther is one of my favorites, as well. There is so much we can learn from this courageous woman.
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Hello! I am Dawnita Hall. Sometimes I need to put into words the things God is teaching me. This blog is my way of sharing those moments with you with the hopes that what God is using to grow and encourage me will also inspire you. Please, share your thoughts in the comment sections after each post. Let's make this a place where we work together to encourage each other to live inspired to be an inspiration.