When we picked who got what stories, we drew them from a hat. I was a bit unhappy with having gotten Esther, because it is such a long story for Storying and the story really should have gone to a woman I figured. I tried to get Stephanie to do the story but she declined with her new job and all. So Esther was left to me. Much like the saying in the wrestling gym back home in Tumwater, “If it is to be, it is up to me!”
Some things I found very interesting about Esther. It could have been named Mordecai! The ladies were not big fans of my suggestion about changing the name of the book, but the story is very much about Mordecai also as he was one of the young men taken from Jerusalem by the Babylonians and by the time of the story of Esther, is now living in Susa, with his niece Esther.
Some of the things I found particularly striking:
- The sense of time in the story. A lot happens in the story but the way it is written significant amounts of time actually pass.
- King Ahasuerus threw his initial party during the third year of his reign.
- It took a woman twelve months of perfuming etc in the harem before she could see the king.
- Esther did not get called in to see the king until the tenth month of the seventh year. so four years have passed since the party.
- It was the 1st month of the twelfth year of the kings reign when Haman informed the king the Jews were not paying their fair share or supporting the king.
- it was the 13th day of the twelfth month when the plan to kill and plunder all the Jews in the kingdom was planned.
- It was the 3rd month of the twelfth year when the king revoked the order at the behest of Esther. Like I said, the timeline is interesting and significant.
- We see how faithful God is in the story and Mordecai was well aware of this fact when he informed Esther if she did not inform the king and intercede on behalf of her people, she would die, but God would find another way to save them. This was just a great example of faith by Mordecai and also by Esther when she asked for prayer before visiting the king with her request.
- There are evil people that will hold a grudge and take a very long view towards “getting back.” In light of this the best defense the Christian has is to remain faithful, act in a Christlike manner, and understand the devil will incite others against you for your faith.
- We are wrong to expect a reward for doing good things. Mordecai saved the kings life early in the story and the king’s reign, but he received no reward for his efforts. Mordecai did what was right because it was right. In this instance, the king later discovers Mordecai did not receive anything for saving his life and returns the favor, but this is not something we should wait around for or expect. We should do right because right is what needs to be done. There are enough people doing wrong, lets not be one of them.
There is so much more in the story but I will close this follow up with this message. The story of Esther led our Bible study to discuss the very important role mature women have in mentoring those younger than them. We had a very fruitful conversation regarding this topic in conclusion and I walked away from the Bible Study feeling very good about the group of women in Catalyst and their acceptance of this important calling. For Paul was not fooling around when he wrote in Titus 2: 3-5,
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to too much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
At the end of the day, I was very happy to have studied Esther and given the group the story. It was uplifting to me and them, all glory to God!