Imagine little Esther of the Old Testament, as a young girl being whisked away to a palace. It sounds like a young girl’s dream and the answer to all of our problems. Lots of money and clothes, married to a king, nice home and furnishings and people to do whatever we want. But the reality would have been terrifying.
She’d already lost her parents and now she is taken from familiarity to a totally unknown place and people. While she is favored in her training for queen (2:9), one can only imagine the jealousy and bitterness from the other girls who also were competing to be queen. Her sad life hit a new low.
Being a Victim
Esther may have felt that she had lost all. Her predicament caused her to cry out to God. One doesn’t always feel God at these times but we have to trust that He is there.
What we do at these times really counts. One feels like curling up in bed with your head under your pillow but we need to take action. Esther, even when things were bad, got up and got dressed. So basic but she took action.
What we do apart from prayer counts. It’s common to see people pray for answers but then continue to do silly things. We want a godly partner but we continue to date those whose lives are messed up. We want to get our finances under control but we continue to spend with no discipline, excusing our behavior.
We remain victims. We pray but make no change. We ask God for an answer but then continue to think the same thoughts and do the same things. How serious are we about building a better life?
What to do Apart from Pray
Esther prayed but she also responded to God’s opportunities for change. She saw bad predicaments as opportunities for good. She determined that her life would not be run by emotion but she made herself live by biblical principles.
Firstly we have to rid our minds of the thought that others don’t understand. We tend to see ourselves as unique when in crisis and that others have never had it as difficult as ourselves. We hang out with others in the same bad situations. However Esther sought her cousin Mordecai although he was not regal.
She found her spiritual advisor and listened without excuse. She did not seek the opinion of many but one. Esther in 2:20 writes that she followed her cousin Mordecai’s directions as she did when she lived in his home.
Secondly she did the advice even though it made no sense to her. In Esther 4:16, she says, “if I must die, I must die.” Common sense says to be quiet and hide in the palace but Esther understood that a better future meant that she changed her ways.
Thirdly she was honest. In Esther 7, Esther stands before the king with no excuse and explains her predicament. She didn’t ignore her problems and hide behind those of another.
When God challenges us to change, we can look at other’s shortcomings. Perhaps we don’t like another’s opinion or the way something is done at work. We therefore focus on those things rather than our own shortcomings. However this does not help us but holds us back. Own your dilemmas, pray and look for the ways in which you should change.
When getting critical of family, friends, work, church – drop your criticism and examine yourself. Where are you being challenged in this difficult situation?
Esther’s difficult situations took her from being a Jewish orphan to a Persian queen who saved her people from death and destruction.
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