It’s the LAST WEEK studying Esther!! Who else is sad to say goodbye to this woman from the bible? I think this has been one of the biggest characters we have studied so far, with her story quite well known by all of us. But even so, by stepping into Esther’s shoes we have discovered far more depth to the emotion of this story and the things that might have been playing out for her.
Our final verse to meditate on was:
“In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them” Esther 8:17
This week the verse is unusual compared to all the others we have studied, in that Esther is not actually mentioned in it at all! But I wanted to close on this scene, where the author of the book (remember this would have been a male writer) zooms out from the action at the palace to look at the whole region. It feels like Esther is not important anymore, now she has completed her part in saving the Jews, but for good reason. The important thing is the reaction of those who depended on her – that there was joy and gladness and celebrating.
In a way it’s a little sad that Esther isn’t mentioned here – I mean surely this is her victory? She put in the time, the effort, the risk. But actually, God is the hero here. He planted the idea in Mordecai’s mind, gave Esther to confidence to approach the King, gave the King a dream which put him in the right mind to agree to Esther’s requests, and ultimately save the Jews. How often do we get caught up in getting the credit when really it all belongs to God?
It’s all ok in the end
I was reminded again this week that God never does anything the way we imagine or think. Mordecai and Esther were purely focussed on saving the lives of the Jews, their own bacon! But once again God has something bigger on his mind – not just the Jews but many many others too. At the end of this verse, we see that people of other nations became Jews! Maybe that was his plan from the beginning, the Jews and Esther were all just a detail along the way to the salvation of some more of his precious children. How amazing is that!!
Our worst failures, our most complicated problems, our dilemmas and tragedies and curve balls in life are maybe just there so that God can bring even more of his precious children back to him. Doesn’t that put things in perspective for us?
In Her Shoes
My biggest thing this week was to try and put myself in Esther’s shoes in the midst of this verse. Yes, the author may have zoomed out from her at this point, but she is still there. Where was she during this? Was she alone in the Palace, not really getting to celebrate after her part in this? Was she allowed out to see the jubilation? Was she just completely and utterly exhausted after the emotional and spiritual battle she has just taken part in? I think probably the later. That she was happy and relieved that things have turned out well, but well and truly exhausted. Too exhausted to really celebrate in the way that the Jews outside the Palace walls were.
I hope that Esther was thankful too. After spending all that time praying and fasting beforehand, I really hope that her first instinct after this result was to praise and thank God for answering her prayers.
What happened next?
The rest of the book of Esther (do read it if you get a minute) details the final points of setting up Purim as a holiday to be celebrated every year. Nothing else much is mentioned of Esther after that, so we don’t know if she had a happy ending or not. Did she have children? Did the King love her more as Queen after this episode of their lives? We simply do not know. And it isn’t important, otherwise it would be documented. Some parts of our lives we see God clearly moving, directing every step and making huge changes and advances with us. Some parts we are simply getting on with the day by day. And that is ok. That is life. If Esther teaches us anything, it is that we should remember to turn to God in those big moments, as he is the one who has the power to change the final outcome.
What was your biggest thing to take away from Esther? And what did you learn that surprised you? I’d love to hear!
We are now going to have a week off from Mummy Meditations whilst I finish preparing all the resources for our new series – Unnamed Women of the Bible (Part 1!). I hope you will join me next Sunday 5th May when the first verse is announced!
In the meantime, head over to the new Mummy Meditations Website – all the summary posts for the new series along with all info about how to get involved (including our new Mummy Meditations Family membership….) will be on that dedicated webpage now: