The power of a surrendered life.
The ancient story of Esther speaks so much to us today if we but open our hearts to hear. It stands to this day as a reminder of what God is able to do through a life that is fully His. Through Esther, God saved His people from annihilation while demonstrating His sovereignty in a magnificent way. She became a beacon of light and hope in the midst of darkness and uncertainty. Her life testifies to the faithfulness of God in keeping His promise of giving grace to the humble. Even though she came from very humble roots, God lifted her to a position of great influence. Esther remained faithful to God and embraced courage in the face of adversity. She used her influence to honor God even when it meant giving up her very life. Her faith, humility, and courage make her one of the most influential women in history. The story of Esther still impacts us today and it inspires us to live lives fully consecrated to God. It would have been so easy for her to forget about her people and her God after being crowned as queen and enjoying all the pleasures of the sophisticated lifestyle that she became part of as a result. Hidden inside the glorious palace of the king, she was separated from the modest lifestyle of the Jewish people who lived outside the palace gates. Even before she was able to see the king and spend her first night with him, she went through careful beautifying preparations which elevated her to a high social status and made her feel even more beautiful than she already was. Once she became queen, a beautiful crown was placed on her head and she enjoyed the admiration of her husband and of everyone else. She could have become proud and arrogant, yet she didn’t allow any of these sinful desires to stain her character. She chose not to forget where she had come from and was determined to remain true to who she was, a Jew. When she learned that the Jews were threatened with annihilation, she identified with her people’s mourning, “So Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed” (Esther 4:4a, NKJV). The luxuries of royal life did not chip away at her faith in God nor did they cause her to think of herself as more superior than the Jews because of the status she now possessed. She preserved her true identity and remained faithful to God and her people. Esther stepped up courageously and took active steps toward helping her people. She instructed them to fast and committed to fasting herself. She shared in their suffering and pain and chose to help her people by using her influence to serve them. Her faith and courage were really put to the test when she faced losing her life by going into the inner court of the king without being summoned. Her love for God and for her people determined her to be bold and courageous. Esther understood that God Himself made her queen. She also realized that the favor which had been bestowed upon her life was from God and it was not for her own individual benefit, but God intended to use her influence in order to deliver His people. Her set-apart character is brought to light through her humility and servitude. Esther’s unshakeable faith in God is demonstrated by her attitude as she remained unmoved in her decision and stated with confidence, “…if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16b). Her commitment to serving God wholeheartedly filled her with a fierce passion that caused her to choose to obey God over preserving her own life. The queen’s willingness to obey God by saving the Jewish people is also portrayed in her decision to risk her life a second time by inviting the king and Haman to dine with her at the banquet. She was not afraid to unveil her true identity. Esther’s faithfulness to God is closely tied to her courage and humility. Instead of shying away from revealing who she really was due to fear or unwillingness to humble herself by admitting who her people were, she decided to act in faith and to humble herself. Because she was full of faith in God, she was certain that He was in control of the situation, and she openly asked the king to spare her life and the lives of her people, the Jews. She stated, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request” (Esther 7:3b). Esther was not ashamed of her heritage and of the God of the Jewish people and she was willing to do anything to save her people and to honor her God. Esther was committed to carrying out God’s plan in complete faithfulness by bringing justice to the Jews. She did not give up until she received the king’s favor. She pleaded with the king one more time, more fervently than the first time, “Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews” (Esther 8:3). Her faithfulness to God fueled her deep affection for the Jewish people when she stated, “For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?” (Esther 8:6). She fully believed that God had appointed her to bring deliverance to her people, and she followed through with her commitment until she saw God’s purposes come to pass. Esther’s faith, humility, and courage can be clearly seen through the way in which she served God and her people. Even though she was taken away from the Jewish community when she started living in the palace, she preserved her true identity and remained faithful to God. Her humility can be seen all throughout the book of Esther, despite the many opportunities she had to exalt herself due to her new status and influence. She used the role she had in order to serve, not to be served. Esther stepped out in faith countless times as she fought for the deliverance of her people while staying true to her commitment to God. Her true faith in God made her choose to lay down her life as a courageous sacrifice to God. She was not afraid to speak up for her people and allowed God to fulfill His purposes through her life. Esther was chosen by the king because of her beauty but she possessed something deeper than just external beauty. Authentic beauty goes deeper than what our eyes can see. Real beauty radiates out of a heart that no longer beats for self, but for God. In what ways is your life like the life of Esther? Will you embrace faith, humility, and courage and allow God’s dreams to become the story of your life, no matter what the cost? God desires to move in the same ways in our lives today if we surrender everything that we are at His feet and choose to walk in obedience rather than following after our own selfish whims. What an amazing privilege to allow God to write the story of your life! His dreams unlock the beauty of life itself.