Friday, March 27, 2009

Esther, Star of Persia

Hadassah was a lovely young orphan living in a foreign land with her Uncle Mordecai. In a fit of loneliness, the King of Persia decreed that the most beautiful and accomplished women be chosen from each province of his kingdom. From these candidates he would choose his Queen.

Because of her exquisite beauty, Hadassah was taken from her home, to the King's palace, where she was given a new name, Esther--which means "star." After months of preparation, she met the King of Persia. The King was so charmed by Esther, he proclaimed her Queen of Persia.

But the King did not know Esther was Jewish. Her Uncle Mordecai had admonished Esther not to disclose her nationality to anyone.

Meanwhile, Haman, an evil man who hated the Jews, had became very powerful. Haman deceived the King into authoring the wholesale slaughter of Jewish men, women and children throughout the entire empire. This malevolent man callously cast lots to determine the exact day they would die. When the date was set, decrees were sent throughout the kingdom, and the Jewish people went into mourning.

Mordecai informed the Queen of this decree, asking her to intervene for her people, saying, "And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"  Esther had not seen the King for several month.

The law of the land was anyone who would appear before the king in the inner court without being invited was doomed to die unless the King held out his golden scepter.

Yet this brave young woman replied "I will go before the King, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish." After fasting three days, she carefully adorned herself in rich royal robes. Then she entered the inner Court in front of the King's rooms--uninvited.

When she came into the inner court, the king saw her standing from afar.  His heart turned within him, perhaps he wondered that she would risk death to see him.  He welcomed her, held out the golden scepter and she drew near to touch its top.  Thus her life was saved, and in the end, the lives of her people.

Queen Esther was a powerful woman. But her power came from something deep within her soul. It wasn't because she was the most beautiful woman in the land. There was something else which caught the King's heart. "Why are you troubled, " he queries. Though Esther must have been terribly frightened, she bravely faced death for the sake of her people. In making herself vulnerable in a time of great danger, she risked everything. Because she did, she saved an entire nation of people from the evil plotting of a murderous man.

Queen Esther was just one woman, but her wisdom, obedience, bravery and trust in God, changed the tide of history itself.

Greatness is when an ordinary person risks everything to do what is right in the face of grave danger. We live in dangerous times.  Life can change in one moment--and an ordinary person may be asked to do the extraordinary.

I believe every woman has a "Queen Esther" deep inside. Each of us has a purpose, and have been given great power to influence the lives of those around us. Let us choose to face life with courage, wisdom, and trust in God. Let us speak words of peace and truth to those we love, just as Queen Esther spoke them to her people in the days of Purim.

If you get the chance, read the book of Esther.  It is a wonderful story of a young woman's courage in the face of monstrous circumstances.  It can be found in the Old Testament of the Bible.


Clytie said...

I can see the tension and determination in her face. Wow, what a woman she was! And you have captured her perfectly.

Grannie Annie said...

Hey gifted sister, I love the story of Esther. I wish I could become more like her, a truly committed strong woman instead of just a gummy worm. The drawing is beatiful and does her justice.

Tammie Lee said...

Your art is full of sweet spirit.
I also feel that greatness lives in each of us. Wonderful story.

Catherine said...

Beth, What a lovely, regal rendering of Esther. Her story has been such an inspiration to me, and you have captured her essence beautifully! Thank you for sharing her powerful story!