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Behind the Scenes

Wondrously show Your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at Your right hand.
Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings
Psalm 17:7-8 (ESV)

Series Focus: “Piece by Piece”

A common question in our household is, “What’s the plan?” I have asked this question a million times over the years. No matter the amount of planning I do, what I want to happen isn’t always what actually happens. We might have a general idea of what the day, or even the year, holds, but there are always moments we have to shift our direction, or our thinking.

Over the coming weeks, we invite you to journey with us through specific stories of men and women in the Scriptures who faced uncertain futures, situations, promises, and even tragedies. What did they do? How did they overcome? Are you excited about finding out? Let’s go!

Today we meet Esther. She was a young Jewish girl who lost her parents and was adopted by her cousin Mordecai. They lived in the province of Susa, ruled by the Persian empire. Because of an unfortunate incident between the King and Queen, the King removed Queen Vashti from the royal court. We join this story as Esther takes her place as a royal candidate for King Xerxes.

As a result of the king’s decree, Esther, along with many other young women, was brought to the king’s harem at the fortress of Susa and placed in Hegai’s care. Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem. (Esther 2:8-9 NLT)

After many months, King Xerxes crowned Esther as his queen and grew to treasure her deeply. On the advice of Mordecai, she kept her nationality and family background a secret from the king and his officials. This could disqualify her, but God was working behind the scenes to orchestrate Esther’s position in this kingdom. Esther would soon face a challenge requiring an immense amount of courage and complete trust in her God. (God is never officially mentioned by name in the book of Esther, but it is quite clear He is present and active.)

One of King Xerxes highest ranking officials, Haman, was a prideful man with a hatred for Esther’s people. His anger burned especially upon Mordecai because of his refusal to bow down to Haman. In Esther 3:8, Haman concocts a plot for the annihilation of all Jewish people living in the provinces of Persia:

Then Haman approached King Xerxes and said, “There is a certain race of people scattered through all the provinces of your empire who keep themselves separate from everyone else. Their laws are different from those of any other people, and they refuse to obey the laws of the king. So it is not in the king’s interest to let them live. (NLT)

Mordecai pleaded with Esther for help, arguing she was the only hope her people had to survive this attack. She forewarned Mordecai about the risk of death for appearing before the king without being invited. But he reminded her of God’s power in 4:13-14:

Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Esther had to decide to respond with her faith in God or recoil in fear of losing her life. She couldn’t predict the outcome and had no way of knowing if the king would find favor upon her request. Her faith gave her the courage to move forward.

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:“Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him. (Esther 4:16-17 NLT)

We will be confronted with situations where we must choose courage in our faith over fear in our uncertainty. We must fight part of this battle before the attack. Find strength in  God’s promises. Remember all He has already done in your life. Stand firm on His word, submit to His plan, and release your anxious thoughts to Him. He is always working behind the scenes, moving things, creating openings, positioning us for His glory. Be brave sisters, call upon His holy name and take one step today.

Queen Esther trusted and glorified God, and her people were saved. Never underestimate the story God is writing for you. You may be exactly where you need to be for such a time as this.

Holding Fast to Hope,

Scripture References: Psalm 17:7-8; Esther 1-10


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