by Daniel Ausbun, First Baptist Church, Moreland
Once upon a time there was an orphan girl named Esther whose parents passed away when she was very young.
Little Esther was raised by her older cousin, Mordecai. They lived in Persia, which is now Iran. Esther and Mordecai were Jewish. Most of the Jewish people had been captured from Israel and now lived in Persia.
One day the king of Persia, Xerxes, became upset with his queen, Vashti. The king held an elaborate banquet and the queen refused to attend. Because of her disrespect, King Xerxes divorced her and sent Queen Vashti away - thus beginning the search for a new queen.
The king ordered that all the maidens of the land brought together. Esther was a beautiful young lady. She was selected to prepare for one year to appear before the king. Esther kept secret her Jewish identity and king Xerxes selected her to become his new queen.
About the same time Esther was named queen, Mordecai discovered a plot to assassinate the king. Mordecai told Esther, who in turn passed on the information so the plot was foiled.
The king had a prime minister named Haman. He wanted all the people to bow down to him. Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, which infuriated him. Haman began to plot against Mordecai and all the Jews. He had Xerxes sign a decree against the Jews for their destruction on an appointed day.
Mordecai, Esther and all the Jews lamented their approaching doom.
Mordecai then called on Esther to approach the king. He reminded her that as a Jew she would not escape. Mordecai told his cousin she didn’t accidently become queen. “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Esther fasted and prayed and approached Xerxes uninvited - for which the king could have executed her. Esther received his permission to enter his chamber and invited the king to a royal banquet in his honor.
Meanwhile, Haman was busy plotting Mordecai’s death and building a gallows to hang him. Providentially the king happened to read about Mordecai’s faithfulness in revealing the earlier plot against his life.
Xerxes then purposed to honor Mordecai and asked Haman what should be done for the man that the king would like to honor. Haman thought the king was referring to himself, and prescribed royal honor of being paraded around the city on a horse. The king then told Haman to do exactly as prescribed for Mordecai.
Haman had entered the king’s presence to ask Xerxes to order Mordecai’s execution. Instead he left the king honoring Mordecai throughout the city.
On the second day of Esther’s banquet, she revealed Haman’s plot to the king. The king ordered that Haman be hung on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. The king then issued another decree allowing the Jews to defend themselves on the day they were scheduled to die. The Jews were victorious on the day appointed to die.
God used Esther in the protection of His people. Her cousin helped her realized she was in a position of influence to save thousands of lives. The brave queen risked her life by revealing her Jewish identity and exposing the king’s prime minister.
Who would ever guess a Jewish orphan would end up the queen of the greatest empire the world had ever known? Who but God could bring about such a powerful reversal through the “weakness” of a young woman?
Esther, a Jewish beauty selected by Persian King Xerxes to become his new queen, saved the Jews from Haman’s wicked plot, so her cousin Mordecai established the yearly Jewish feast of Purim – which was celebrated last month on March 16.
Purim was supposed to be the day all Jews died, rather it turned into a day of deliverance.