Once Upon A Time
Esther 1:10 - Esther 8:9
I love the story of Esther.
It has always been one of my favorites because it reminds me so much of a fairy tale. I know you have just read it, but I hope you won’t mind if I retell it to you…
Once upon a time there was a Jewish orphan named Esther. She was raised by her uncle, Mordecai. She became his daughter, and he loved her very much.
One day a proclamation went forth throughout the land asking all the fair young maidens to gather to a palace where they would be trained to meet the King and be considered to become his wife. Every maiden who wanted to be considered had to pass through months of preparation, so Esther left Mordecai and went to the palace where she would be prepared to meet the King.
Mordecai missed Esther, and every day he walked passed the place where she was, “to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.” (Esther 2:11) Finally, one evening, after months of preparation, every maiden came unto the King.
In the Kingdom there were many rules. One of the rules was that no one could talk to the King unless he called for her by name. The penalty for talking to the King without being called for by name was death, so each of the maidens waited in the palace until her name was called.
Now, when it was Esther’s turn she went up unto the King. The King loved Esther above all women, and so he set the crown upon her head and made her the Queen. There was a great feast, and it was called Esther’s feast. The King gave gifts to everyone because he was so happy.
One day a terrible thing happened. The King’s advisor, Haman, who was an evil man, told all of the people they had to bow before him. Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, was loyal to the King, but he refused to bow before this evil man. This made the King’s advisor furious. He wanted to punish Mordecai, who was a Jew. On top of that, he wanted to punish all the Jews in the land. The King did not know Esther was a Jew. He didn’t know very much about the Jewish people. Because he trusted his advisor he listened to what he said. Haman, the evil man, talked the King into sending out a decree that all of the Jews in the land should be killed.
Queen Esther was afraid for Mordecai and all of her people. She didn’t know what to do, so she sent one of her servants to ask Mordecai’s advice. Mordecai told Queen Esther to go to the King and tell him that she was a Jew and ask him to save her people, who had done nothing wrong to the King.
But Esther was scared.
Remember the rule of the kingdom? No one could go in to speak to the King unless they were called for by name, and Esther had not been called in to see the King. She reminded Mordecai of the grave danger she was in if she chose to approach the King.
Now, here comes my favorite part of the story.
The servant returned to Esther with Mordecai’s answer. Mordecai knew how dangerous it would be for Esther to stand up for her people. He had raised Esther as his daughter, and he loved her.
I imagine he must have been so worried about Esther.
But still, he gave her great counsel. He reaffirmed the importance of her mission to save her people and then said, “who knoweth whether thou are come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 3:14)
In other words, you have been sent here to earth with a specific mission to fulfill, and the events of your life have been orchestrated such that you are in the right place at the right time, and this is your moment to shine.
Now, that may have been true, but it didn’t make it less scary.
Queen Esther thought long and hard about what she was about to do. Finally, she sent her servant back to Mordecai with her answer, “Go, gather all the Jews…and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 3:16)
Queen Esther decided to stand up for what she believed. She chose to fulfill her divine mission, knowing that it might mean she would die. In this moment it is important to notice one essential detail.
She did not go into the King alone.
Mordecai and all of the Jews were fasting for her. And she, and all of her best friends were fasting. Queen Esther approached the king knowing that the strength of her people, her friends, and most importantly, the Lord, was with her.
And so, on the third day, even though the king had not called her name, Esther put on her fancy, royal clothing and stood in the inner court of the king’s house.
And the king sat upon his royal throne.
When the king saw Esther, the queen, standing all dressed up in the middle of the court he remembered how much he loved her, and he raised his golden scepter.
Then Esther came to him, and touched the top of the scepter, and she was allowed to speak without being put to death.
The king said, “What wilt thou, queen Esther? And what is thy request?” (Esther 5:3)
Queen Esther reminded the king of the evil decree and told him she was a Jew, and then she begged him to save her life, and the life of her people.
The king wondered how such an awful thing could happen, and Esther told the king that his servant was a wicked man, and his enemy.
So Haman, the evil man, was put to death.
And Esther and her people were saved.