Author: Elaine Roub, from the Charis Community in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Rags to Riches
In the book of Esther it says, “On the seventh day of his banquet the king was drinking and feeling happy, so he called in... his personal servants, [and] he ordered them to bring in Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown. The queen was a beautiful woman, and the king wanted to show off her beauty to the officials and all his guests. But when the servants told Queen Vashti of the king's command, she refused to come. This made the king furious... (and he and his advisors decided that Vashti’s ‘place as queen would be given to some better woman.’ (Esther 1:10-19)
Esther was brought to King Xerxes in the royal palace. The king liked her more than any of the other women… He placed the royal crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.” (Esther 2:15-18)
The Old Testament book of Esther tells the fascinating story of a Jewish orphan girl becoming a queen and saving her people from certain death. Its ten short chapters are chock-full of feasting, fasting and favouritism. Every page holds plotting and intrigue, cowardice and epic courage, cliff-hangers and conspiracies. Esther’s unknown Jewish author also seemed to love irony and duplication; there are no less than 16 pairs of events in the book—two lists, two reports that Esther concealed her identity, two royal edicts, two letters.
A banished queen, a people-pleasing king, a scheming villain, an orphan-turned-queen, a hero in exile challenging his adopted daughter to risk her life for her people—all these characters fill the stage of The Book of Esther - a book of the Bible that does not once mention the name of God. And yet, His character, plan, and protection shines through on every page.
If you're looking for the courage to speak up, step up, or stand out, why not take a walk through the book of Esther this week? Go on, have a read before tomorrow’s meditation—it’s only 10 chapters.
Scripture quotations from The Good News Bible, © 1994 published by the Bible Societies/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd UK, Good News Bible ©. American Bible Society 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992. Used with permission.