One of my favorite stories in the Bible shows God’s role in world events, and how the obedience of His people fits into God’s plan. Yet this story doesn’t even mention God by name!
It’s an important reminder that we don’t have to say, “God’s at work here” for God to be at work here. We don’t have to say, “I’m a Christian” to live in a Christlike way.
Have you ever read the story of Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai? Let me tell you, this is a real page-turner of a story! If you already know the story, skip to the four lessons below. Here’s a quick recap (but you really should read this for yourself)…
- King Xerxes is the ruler of the most powerful nation on earth
- Queen Vashti (Xerxes’ wife) defies him and is deposed
- When the king is looking for a new queen, a young lady named Hadassah catches his eye
- Hadassah went by her Persian name of Esther, so the king didn’t know he married a Jewess
- Mordecai was Esther’s cousin, her legal guardian, and a palace worker
- Mordecai uncovered a plot to assassinate Xerxes, which he shared with Queen Esther, who told the king, who investigated and had the plotters killed
- King Xerxes had a prime minister named Haman, who was really full of himself
- Mordecai wouldn’t bow down to Haman because Haman thought of himself as a deity
- Haman wanted to show Mordecai, and all the other Jews like him, who was boss so he deceived King Xerxes into signing a law that would allow for all the Jews to be killed on a set date
- Mordecai again told Queen Esther about the plot, but the queen was scared to go before the king unsummoned (where the penalty for doing so could be death)
- Esther finally had the courage to approach Xerxes and invite him and Haman to dinner
- At dinner, the king asked Esther why she really invited him to dinner, and Esther said, “Come back to dinner tomorrow night and I’ll tell you then”
- King Xerxes couldn’t sleep that night so he asked for the royal chronicles to be read to him
- The king discovered that Mordecai had never been rewarded for uncovering the assassination attempt
- Xerxes asked Haman what he should do for a man he wanted to honor; Haman thought the king was talking about him, so he gave an elaborate plan of recognition, to which the king replied, “Excellent! Go do all that for Mordecai!”
- Haman was so ticked off that he built a 75-foot tall gallows on which to hang Mordecai
- At the second dinner, Esther asked for her life to be spared; the king wanted to know who would presume to attack her and the Jews, and she called out Haman
- The king stormed from the room while Haman stayed to beg for his life
- As the king returned, Haman was pawing at the queen in desperation, so the king’s bodyguards grabbed him
- The king found out about the gallows built for Mordecai and gave orders for Haman to be hanged on those very same gallows
- Mordecai became prime minister and wrote another law to help save the Jews from annihilation
4 BIG Lessons From Esther for Christians living in a pagan culture today
- All of History is His Story. God’s timing to bring all of the key players on the scene at just the right moment is obvious. Even giving the king insomnia at just the right time was a part of God’s plan!
- God gives us favor and we win favor by obeying God. The word “favor” is all throughout this story. God-fearing people are given God’s favor which leads to man’s favor as well.
- God-following people do make a positive impact on their culture. Esther becoming queen pleased the people, as did Mordecai’s just laws.
- Pride humiliates and destroys; humility elevates the person and glorifies God. Just look at the contrast between Haman and Mordecai!
Do you have any other takeaways from this story? If so, please share them in the comments below.