Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Story – Esther

For the past few weeks, I’ve been running posts I wrote for Gloria Dei during a series on The Story, a chronological abridged version of the Bible.

This post on Esther is the sixth, and last, post in this series.

To read the first five posts:

Two Brave Queens
(First posted at Gloria Dei on February 6, 2013)

One king. Two queens.

God’s upper story. Two lower stories.

God isn’t mentioned in the Book of Esther, and yet, He’s there weaving the lower stories together for His purpose—to save His chosen people from annihilation.
And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14 NIV
We don’t know much about Queen Vashti, but I wish we did.

What we do know is that she is queen when King Xerxes throws a 7 day banquet, following a full 180 days in which he displayed his vast wealth. 

King Xerxes likes to show off.

During the banquet, in which he has provided unlimited amounts of wine to all of his guests, he commands Queen Vashti to join them.

Scripture doesn’t say how long she’s been queen, but I imagine she knew what he was like—that He liked to drink and put what was his on display.

She also would have known that when the king issued a command, he wasn’t asking for an opinion. He wasn’t issuing an invitation and asking for a RSVP. A command was expected to be carried out, or there would be consequences.

Queen Vashti had to have known this, and yet, her answer was no.
But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger. Esther 1:12 NIV
Although I’m not-so-secretly cheering for Queen Vashti, I have to ask, Why now?

What made Queen Vashti take a stand and refuse the king’s command? It probably would’ve been easier to do what he “requested,” get it over with, and get back to the banquet she was giving at the time.

But she decided to not obey the king’s orders, and she was banished from the palace, with her royal title being stripped from her.

Queen Vashti’s lower story doesn’t make sense. But her piece fits into God’s upper story.

There is now an opening for a queen, and whether she likes it or not, Esther gets the role.
And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14 NIV
Esther makes the best of the situation and everyone likes her, including the king.

Helping her situation is the fact that her uncle Mordecai overhears of an assignation plot, and Esther is able to warn the king.

When the plot is investigated and found to be true, both Esther and Mordecai gain credibility with the king. And credibility, along with having won the king’s favor, is what Esther needs to walk through the next part of her lower story.

Mordecai tells Esther of Haman’s plot to annihilate the Jews, and instructs her to go to the king and beg him to save her people.

Esther is not naïve. She knows what happens to someone who refuses the king’s command, as well as someone who goes to the king without being summoned. Queen Vashti proved that no one is exempt from the king’s temper.

Where Queen Vashti made her choice, Queen Esther doesn’t have much of a choice. If she goes to the king, she may be put to death. If she doesn’t go to the king, her people will be wiped out. What an enormous responsibility for a young Jewish orphan girl who was thrown into being queen!

Esther’s lower story on its own doesn’t make sense. But when we see the lower stories of Vashti and Esther woven together, we see God at work.

Our lower stories often don’t make sense, but who knows that maybe God brings us into situations as well—in His time, for His purpose.

Have you experienced a time when life didn't make much sense, but you knew God had a purpose for it?

In Christ,

Linking up with Sharing His Beauty and Soli Deo Gloria

1 comment:

  1. Hi Laura!

    Yes, I've experienced times in my life when things didn't make sense, but in retrospect I could see God's perfect plan! And then, because I've learned this...when I go through confusing times, I can trust God because I know he has a plan, even if I don't understand it!

    Blessings, Joan


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!