The biblical story of Queen Esther is beloved by many people for its intrigue, heroism, and demonstration of God’s faithfulness.
The king’s adviser plotted to destroy the Jewish exiles living in the kingdom. Queen Esther’s cousin Mordecai urged her to go to the king and ask him to save the Jewish people. “Who knows?” he told her. “Maybe it was for a moment like this that you came to be part of the royal family” (Esther 4:14, CEB).
When I decided to write a novel that re-imagined Esther’s situation as if it took place today, I knew the Bible gave me the basic elements of the plot. But in order to bring the story to life, I had to study more about her. What motivated Esther to risk her life to save the Jewish people, and how could I translate that into a modern setting?
I identified four lessons I could apply to my own life. I call them “Keys to Esther Living”:
- Kneel. When Esther faced a crisis, she went to prayer. In Esther chapter 4, after asking Mordecai to gather all the Jews and fast for three days, Esther says she and her attendants would also fast. Such fasting by Jews is generally considered to be prayer as they called on God for help. God hears and answers our prayers if they are offered with the right attitude. James 5:16 tells us, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
- Expect God to show up. Esther trusted that God would go before her and prepare the king’s heart. Whatever we face, we can expect God to work out the details to fulfill His purpose in our lives and bring glory to His name.
- Yield to His will. Esther told Mordecai she would risk her life in order to save her people. “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4: 16), she said, leaving her future to God.
- Sacrifice. Esther was willing to sacrifice her life. What does sacrifice look like for us today? It might be a business professional who sacrifices a well-paying and successful career to become a teacher. Or a grandmother who gives up peace and quiet to provide respite care for the parents of a special needs child. Or the woman who uses her leisure time to visit her sick neighbor. These are sacrifices, and we see them all around us.
If we follow Esther’s lead, we may not have to risk our lives, but we can make a difference in our world.
For Such a Moment
Revealing her secret could save lives … or change hers forever. In this book that re-imagines the story of Queen Esther in a contemporary setting, Ellen Neilson enjoys her comfortable life as the wife of an American CEO. Having lived in America since the age of ten, she has forsaken her mixed heritage and kept aspects of her childhood secret. Her husband has become engrossed in his job, and she believes having a child will salvage their troubled marriage.
When her cousin Manuel, whom she hasn’t seen for twenty years, shows up as one of her husband’s managers, Ellen fears that her past will be revealed. The company buys a banana plantation in her native country of Guatemala, and Manuel informs her that illegal pesticides have poisoned the water. People are dying, but she doesn’t know who’s to blame for the cover-up.