Debbie Salter Goodwin
When do you see stars? At night, mostly. In fact, the darker the night, the better we see them. Esther lived in a very dark time and it only got darker. God needed a star and He recruited Esther in ways she didn't even recognize . . at first.
Esther was an orphaned Jewish girl who was raised by her cousin, Mordecai. They were living in Persia even though their people had been allowed to return to Israel. Mordecai had a good job as gatekeeper and probably wanted to give Esther more opportunities than she would have had if they joined the repatriation group in Israel.
Esther’s life changed dramatically when she won the Miss Persia beauty pageant and was added to the King’s harem. But living in luxury was a dream-breaker for Esther. Her dream of a
Jewish husband and family life was ripped from her as she was “taken” into the palace with little more than what she could carry. Was it a blessing to be pampered with potions and clothing and maid service? Or was she living the curse of all her broken dreams?
I find one answer God embedded in her name. Her Persian name comes from Ishstar, which means star. Esther was born to be a star. Not the kind that takes bows at center stage for stellar performance. The kind of star that shows up in night sky. You know, don’t you, that stars shine best in a dark night. The darker, the better.
Well, Esther was living in a dark time. The king that kept her hostage was arrogant, impulsive, and hosted orgies. And then there was Haman, who wanted to wipe out all Jews.
And that’s where the lessons start.
1. We always have a choice to shine or whine.
Separated from family and friends, Esther could have whined with a pity party. But Esther didn’t respond as a victim of someone else’s choices. She continued to allow God more control in her circumstances than what she had wished for. She shined.
2. The place of our greatest fear can become our shining moment.
Esther had to approach the King without invitation as the first part of a plan to plead for the lives of her people as well as her life. It carried a probable death sentence. Instead, the King raised his scepter to allow her safe approach. Fear didn’t have the majority vote for Esther; God did. No matter how we try to control fear, it controls us more than we realize. Esther reminds me that fear is a weak opponent in the face of God’s direction.
3. God fights our enemies better than we can.
This may be the most important lesson I learned from Esther. Do you realize that Esther did not fight her enemy? Haman tricked the king into signing a law to annihilate the Jews. For Esther to bring her enemy down, she only had to invite him to dinner. God did the rest. Haman hung on the gallows he built for Mordecai!. It reminds me of the line from the Psalms: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. We fight too many battles on our own when all we need is a dinner table where God is the host!
Paul echoed Esther’s story for us when he wrote to the Philippians:
Where are your shining moments where has obedience brought God’s best answer? Where are your opportunities to shine today?
Darkness isn’t so dark when the stars are out. Let God use you as one of his stars.
I'm starting something new with this 10-part series. I'm providing a Bible study page to let you explore each character and find your own mentoring answers. I would appreciate knowing if this is helpful. Write me at email@example.com
Here is this week's study on my favorite leading lady in the Bible: Esther: God's Star. Or you can access it using the Devotional Guide page on my website. Ifyou have any trouble wih the downlaoad, write me and I'll send it to you by email.
Pictures: Rodion Kutsaev, Jeremy Perkins, Canva