The Obedient YES and Those Who Encourage It
The book of Esther stands out amongst all of the Bible because it doesn't mention God by name.
Isn't that kind of how life goes, though? It isn't in every single situation that we clearly hear God's voice, nor do we see His words over our circumstances printed clearly in red. It's in the book of Esther that we learn that even if God's name is silent, even if His movement is silent, God is still moving and accomplishing His will. He's still present in our stories even when we can't clearly see Him working. In fact, the thing that our lives have in common with the Book of Esther is that God's fingerprints are so evident on all of our stories.
I love the whole story found in the entire book of Esther (ten chapters in all). We meet a woman who is chosen to be the next queen after the previous queen embarrasses and disrespects the king, the leaders of her kingdom, and the people of the kingdom. Esther seems to be the polar opposite of Queen Vashti. Where Queen Vashti says "no," Queen Esther says a quiet and obedient "yes." Let's dive into Esther's story and witness a woman who yielded to wisdom. Where would this obedience take her?
It's through Esther's story that we learn of four themes that we take for granted or underestimate.
Don't underestimate God. We can clearly see God at work in Esther's life and story. God's favor was on Esther when she was taken to the palace and put in the custody of Hegai. Hegai looked on Esther with favor (2:9). The king loved Esther more than all the women and won his favor as he made her queen (2:17). After much prayer and fasting, Esther enters the inner court of the king's palace without having first been invited. She had favor the moment the king held out his golden scepter to her. (5:2) God's favor on Esther was so evident. His favor made her stand out from the crowd. His favor also preserved her life and the lives of His people.
Don't underestimate timing. Was it an accident that God made Esther queen WHEN He did? Was it an accident that Haman chose AFTER Esther was made queen to start making his moves against Mordecai? Was it an accident that Haman's hatred for the Jews was revealed? Was it a coincidence that at the same time that Haman built the very gallows he planned to hang Mordecai from, that the king also went through his book of memorable deeds and stumbled upon Mordecai's foil of an assassination plot and the knowledge that Mordecai hadn't been rewarded for saving the king? God is in control of the timing even when it doesn't seem like it at the time.
Don't underestimate your position or the position of others. Esther was quick to point out to Mordecai the law that forbade people from approaching the king in inner court without first being invited. The loophole to the consequence was if the king held out his golden scepter to the person, that person would be spared. While the king loved her, didn't he at one time love Queen Vashti (assuming he made her queen in the same manner he made Esther queen)? Would her life be spared if she approached him uninvited? One position we quickly overlook was Mordecai's position in her life. He approached the queen with the news of their people. He used his status and maximized his influence with his position in the kingdom. What would have happened if Mordecai had not made her and the king aware of the assassination plot against the king? Our position, no matter how small, can have a HUGE impact!
Don't underestimate the people in your life. We all have people in our lives who influence our decisions, but are we aware of those who love us enough to say the uncomfortable things? Mordecai pointed out that with the King's decree against the Jewish people that Esther would not be spared. Are we aware of those around us who encourage and challenge us in our varying positions in life? Mordecai challenged her to step into her purpose. What other reason could God have positioned her so perfectly to rescue the Jewish people than to actually do so? God placed her in the right position at the right time with the right people around her to bring about the salvation of His people. God was using Esther and Mordecai knew it! Mordecai was the one who showed Esther that evidence. People like Mordecai are so valuable in our lives. Their words speak gently to our soul and cause us to rise up in action. Mordecai was a faithful follower of God and that influence and faith were passed down to Esther. Notice how her first response is a plea for everyone to fast and pray. She was motivated to speak up and rescue her people, but she refused to do anything until prayer and fasting were involved. She didn't do anything until God was invited to the party.
Where did yielding to wisdom and being obedient lead Esther?
It led her to into the throne room before the king uninvited. It led her to host a private feast for her husband and her enemy. It led her to speak up for people and herself. It led to the salvation of her people, the destruction of her enemy, and the promotion of Mordecai. Esther's quiet obedience led to an impactful kingdom change. She teaches us that we don't have to be loud to make a BIG difference.