There is a book in the Old Testament that you may or may not have heard. It is the book of Esther. It is the story of a young woman who saved the Jewish people a long time ago before Jesus was even born.
Esther was an orphan and was raised by her cousin Mordecai. He worked for King Xerxes of Persia. Esther had grown into a beautiful and wonderful young woman, and when the king saw her, her fell in love with her and made her his queen.
Now Esther and Mordecai were Jews, and many people did not like the Jewish people, so Mordecai told Esther not to tell anyone she was Jewish. One day, the king said that he was giving another man who worked for him a special job. Because this man, named Haman, was so important, everyone should bow down to him. This made Haman very happy because he thought a lot of himself and was too proud. Mordecai knew that because he worshipped God only, he could never bow down to another person. You can probably guess this made Haman very angry. Haman decided that he would not only punish Jewish Mordecai but also the other Jews by killing them all – even the women and children.
When Mordecai and the Jewish people found out they were all going to be murdered, Mordecai told Esther that she must go to the king and tell him that not only would the Jews be killed but she herself was a Jew and would die as well.
In Persia, no one was to visit the king without his invitation. In fact, that person could even be killed. Esther though came up with a plan to have a banquet for the king and Haman. At the banquet, she told the king that Mordecai was her cousin, and she was a Jew too. Because the king loved Esther so much, he was not mad at her. When the king found out that Haman had planned all this as revenge, the king had Haman killed instead. Then he told Mordecai to stop the murder of all the Jewish people, and he gave Mordecai, Haman’s job in the palace.
All the people across the land rejoiced and celebrated Esther’s bravery and witness to her people. It was said she was made queen by God’s plan for a time like this. By risking her own life as queen, she saved the entire Jewish race in Persia. God used her witness to save His people from death.
God can use any of us to do His good plans. Don’t ever think that you are too little or so unimportant that God can’t use you to help others in ways you might never guess.
Let’s say our prayer for this week. Father God, thank You for people such as Esther and Mordecai who were not afraid to follow You and risk their own lives to save others. Please use us to help others too. In Your name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.