Come on over my little girls, put down your toys and cuddle in. I've got another story for you to write on your heart. While I know that the stories of Cinderella and Snow White are royal indeed I have another queen who I hope you will remember. Tonight's bed time story is the tale of Queen Esther.
Like most princess stories this one starts with a sad tale. Our heroine, Esther, is an orphan who is being raised by her cousin, Mordecai. They live in a land far from home where her people are scorned, mocked and persecuted. Esther is a beauty, unmatched by the other young women in her day. Mordecai is wise and watchful. His action has saved the life of the king.
This tale also features a bad guy. Haman. He's an arrogant, violent, scheming, nasty sort of man. He hates Mordecai. With a deep murderous hatred.
And there is the king. King Xerxes. This one is easily manipulated and he has a temper. He's frequently drunk. Not great character qualities in a leader. He has even forgotten how Mordecai saved his life.
Girls. Watch carefully. People will tell you who they really are by how they behave. Believe them.
So King Xerxes gets mad at his current wife and kicks her out. He decides to have a beauty contest to pick the new queen. Guess who wins? Yup, our Esther.
Listen my daughters. Don't take opportunities for granted. Sometimes God uses our talents and circumstances to strategically put us in places of influence.
Haman's hatred has grown to the point of action. He sets up a pole to impale Mordecai on at his first opportunity. Then Haman goes to the king and convinces him to pass a law calling for the genocide of all of Mordecai's people. The king agrees. They roll a purim, a type of dice to choose the day that all the Jews will die. Mordecai is heartbroken and goes to prayer. Weeping and grieving prayer. Esther asks why he cries. Mordecai tells her she must go to the king and ask for the salvation of her people.
Esther pauses. If she goes to the king when she is not called for under Persian law she could be put to death. Mordecai speaks.
"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14
"Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:15-16
My daughters. Pray first. Be brave. Fight for right. Speak when you must. You were born in this day for such a time as this. You can trust God with the result.
So Esther goes. She invites the king and Haman to dinner. Clever girl. They consent and Haman feels like quite the man - being honored with a special banquet by the queen. At the dinner the king asks Esther what she wants. And all she asks for is for Haman and the King to come to dinner again the next night. Biding her time.
The King goes home. He can't sleep so he calls for the royal readers to come to him from the books of history. As they read they randomly cover the time that Mordecai saved the life of the king. The king realizes he never thanked Mordecai. Oops.
See girls. Bedtime stories are royal treatment and important! Don't forget the stories. Write them on your heart.
Just then.....(Oh how I love this story....such great timing)....Haman enters.
When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?” Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” Esther 6:6
So Haman puffs up his chest and lists out the honors he'd like. Royal clothes and a grand parade. The king likes his ideas.
“Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.” Esther 6:10
The tide has turned. After his humiliating parade honoring Mordecai, Haman heads to Queen Esther's dinner. She chose this time to state her case for the King.
Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?”
Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!”
Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen.
Oh my girls. Some advice from Haman's life? It's not about you. Remember kindness to the people around you. For you will reap what you sow. May it be kindness returned tenfold. If you sow hatred, it is your own life you will wreck.
The story of Esther ends with Haman being impaled on the pole he intended for Mordecai. The King sets out a new decree allowing the Jews to fight and defend themselves. They do and win a great victory.
I love the story of Queen Esther. It's about bravery and courage. Timing and faith. Prayer and watchfulness. It's a great story for such a time as this. Tell your children.
I really enjoy The Bible Project's Read Scripture series. The session on Esther is again a big picture overview. I love the literature analysis - how the book is put together gives great insight. Watch and Learn.
Beth Moore! Enough said.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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