Tomorrow, I am preaching at Cross Community Church about Esther in part 2 of Divine Intervention. She is one of the most awesome heroines of the Bible. Her decision to risk her life saved the lives of an entire nation. No wonder she is highly honored by Jewish people still today.
But I have a love/hate relationship with the story. While I honor the way that God divinely rescued the Jews by utilizing a very brave woman, I hate what she had to go through to be in the place where God could use her in such a powerful way.
The key phrase in the book of Esther is “such a time as this.” It comes from Esther 4:14 when Esther’s cousin, Mordecai challenges her to step up and intercede for her people who were about to be annihilated by King Xerxes and Haman. “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” She was waffling on whether or not she should ask the King to spare her people. There was a very real chance that she would die for even trying. Ultimately, she did the right thing and the King changed his decision.
Mordecai is saying to her (my paraphrase) “God has put you into the perfect position at the perfect time. He did this for a reason. Everything you have been through in your life is in preparation for this moment. Don’t blow it!”
Here is where I struggle with the story and what I do not plan to share while I am preaching tomorrow: Everything Esther had gone through was apparently orchestrated by God. If you know the story, you might be squirming a bit, too. Basically, Esther became queen because the king had sex with a bunch of young women in one of his harems and he liked Esther the best. (Reminds me of the disgusting TV show The Bachelor!). Because Esther was the most attractive and apparently the most sexually satisfying to the King, he chose her to replace the queen he had just disposed. Think about it. This kind of degradation of women is a little hard to overlook. She had to be intimate with an arrogant, self-centered and most probably disgusting despot in order to save others. Would she say it was worth it? We have no way of knowing but I would assume she would say it was.
This whole story makes me wonder what all God will allow His children to go through in order to get them where He wants them. A little scary to me. I don’t have the theological answers for this one and I’m not really even looking for them. But I sure don’t plan to open that can of worms to the good people who will be sitting in the chairs at our church tomorrow.