This morning (written last week), I took the Veggie Tales version of Esther out of our DVD player and hid it away until further notice. Why?
The other day the girls and I were watching this together and I was struck again by how Esther's character is portrayed. She comes across as wishing she were anywhere other than where she is - displaying that she is discontent with being in God's will. She is whiny and I comment on that every time we have watched this.
I don't know about you - but I've always admired Esther for her high character and what I saw on this children's video is not at all what I want my children to believe about Esther.
All of this prompted me to return to the Bible and read her account. Here are some thoughts:
* Those in the public eye do have a great influence, whether for good or for bad. Queen Vashti was deposed from her position because of her disrespect for her husband. In my own sphere of influence, how do I handle this responsibility?
* Esther wasn't extravagant, she wasn't flamboyant or demanding. She was simply herself and beautifully at rest in this. Esther had a purity and uprightness of heart that shone from the inside making her all the more beautiful on the outside. I want to be like this - having an inner beauty that exudes to the outside.
* I knew that Esther and Mordecai were cousins, but I wondered if they were possibly more like peers than Father/Daughter which is what I've pictured for many years, although if he was carried into exile by King Nebuchadnezzar as 2:6 notes - perhaps he was quite a bit older.
* Haman is such a picture of pride whereas Esther and Mordecai both represent and display humility. When Haman presents his plan to the King, he doesn't really present the whole truth. But, the part he does share shines the light favorably on his plan. Do I only present part of the truth to make something look favorably in the sight of others? Manipulating a situation like this can bring great harm to myself or others - as evidenced by Haman!
* Let it be a lesson to me - not to take everything I hear at face value, I may not have all the facts. Do not make hasty decisions but make the time to seek God and hear from Him on the matter.
* I can't help but imagine what it would feel like to receive the news that you and your people were going to be killed on a certain day in the future. Haman ordered all of the people to, "destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews - young and old, women and little children - on a single day, ... and to plunder their goods." I said to David this morning - Haman was like the first Hitler except that his evil was never carried out.
How I would feel: scared out of my mind, weighed down with this burden, trying to find a way out perhaps, prayerful and seeking God earnestly. It says in Esther 3:15 that "the city of Susa was bewildered."
* I am reminded of the challenge and benefits of fasting. Esther asked that many Jews fast together for three days before she went to the King about this matter. When I have fasted, it is important to listen to God and then to do His will. Is there a time I've remained silent when I should've spoken up? God is in control of those in authority and uses them to His glory.
* Why did Esther have banquets for the King and Haman instead of just presenting her request, I wonder? Was it to show her pure motives? A servant's heart? To wait for God's timing?
* I see what an influence wives can have: Queen Vashti with her disrespect, Haman's wife who suggested he build a gallows which he was eventually hung on, Queen Esther's respectful and pure heart which was a glory to her husband, a blessing to her people and a beautiful offering to her God bringing Him glory as well.
* Haman described a wonderful reward for the man the King wanted to honor thinking it was himself. Out of all the things he could've described, he wanted public attention, glory and feeding of his pride and self-centeredness. It must've been very humiliating for Haman to carry out these praises for Mordecai at the King's command.
* I find it interesting that the King tells Haman to carry out all the good things he mentioned for Mordecai the Jew. The King knew he was Jewish; but Haman had only said, "a certain group of poeple" when misleading the king.
* Comparative ideas found in Luke 14. Thoughts on the Lowest Place.
* Esther models humility in being a servant and having pure motives. She is willing to speak up when the time is right. Being humble doesn't mean being silent, but being open to the leading of the Lord.
* I love that Mordecai was the one put in authority after Haman's evil was revealed. He was allowed to write the repeal to the orders Haman had put into effect - God is so good! He thinks of every detail - to make His honor and glory greater and to further His Name! He doesn't just say - leave them be and remove their dignity - he empowers and emboldens them with strength and courage to defend themselves.
* In Chapter 9, they are observing days of feasting and joy and "giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor." It seems easy to give the gift of food - but do I so eagerly give to the poor? Also, do I reflect the meaning of the celebration or just get caught up in the celebrating and preparations?
* Doing the right thing before God is more important than any agenda we create. He is the One worthy of the glory (not me).
What do you admire about Esther's example and character? How can we be like her in our lives today? What do you learn from this beautiful account - I have only scratched the surface with these observations. I'd love to hear your thoughts -