The birth announcement that I received in the mail stated the precious girl’s name was “Hadassah.” Flipping through my mental rolodex of names to search for a match, I came up empty. I was surprised to learn that Hadassah was actually a Biblical name – Esther’s birth name, to be exact.
With my several-times-a-week as a child church attendance, you would have thought this name would have rung a bell, but for some reason my Sunday School classes didn’t include Esther in the Old Testament rotation. Maybe because some of the plot is for a mature audience. Maybe because it isn’t considered one of the “greats” alongside Noah, Moses, and Jonah. But in skipping this short book, I feel I missed out on learning some amazing biblical truths; points that I desire our children to learn as we study this book together.
1. God’s Plan for You Doesn’t Surprise Him
Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” A couple of chapters later in 19:21, Proverbs reiterates, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
I have no doubt that Esther’s plans for her life didn’t include her parents’ early deaths, being taken to the live in the king’s palace, and being married to a prideful king. To top that off, Esther never dreamed of a situation where she would have to choose between her own life and standing up for the lives of her people, the Jews.
But none of this was a surprise to God. He reminds us in Isaiah 55:9 that His ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts.
2. The People around You Matter
In reading through Esther again I was struck with the importance of surrounding ourselves with wise, godly people. King Xerxes is the prime example of what happens when you don’t do this. Esther 1:13 states that “it was customary for the king to consult experts in matter of law and justice.” The problem is that the advice that the king received from his “wise” men and his right-hand-man Haman led him to make very poor decisions – decisions deadly for the Jews.
Quite the opposite for Esther. From the beginning Esther listened to her Uncle Mordecai’s wisdom. Because he forbid her, Esther didn’t reveal her nationality (2:10). Later in the story, Mordecai pleaded with Esther to set her fears aside and stand up for deliverance of the Jews.
3. God is Sovereign
Esther’s situation looked bleak as did the future of her people. Yet throughout the Old Testament, a promised Messiah was to come from Jewish lineage. Was God wrong? No. Regardless of man’s plans, God has the final say because He is sovereign.
4. God is Always at Work Behind the Scenes
Interestingly, God’s name is never mentioned in Esther. Not. One. Time. Yet God’s fingerprints are on every page. God was with Esther when she lost her parents and she was raised by her wise uncle. It wasn’t by mistake that Esther had “a lovely figure and was beautiful” (2:7). Was it happenstance that Esther was a Jew? Of course not. God was arranging every single detail for His glory.
5. God Has Placed Us Where We are for a Reason
In chapter four, Mordecai encourages Esther to approach the King and beg for mercy and plead for the Jewish people. But believing this would mean certain death and Esther was adamantly against his advice. In defense Mordecai shared with his niece probably the most popular verse from Esther, “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” (4:14). Maybe God had placed Esther as queen so that she could stand up to the king.
Such an amazing story! But will you take a moment with me to think about your current situation?
Do you feel like Esther?
• Are God’s plans not matching up with yours?
• Are you seeking wisdom from godly people?
• Do you believe no matter what happens you serve a sovereign God?
• Does God seem to be absent?
• Does the grass on the other side look greener?
I would guess that Esther questioned her situation and wondered if God had forgotten her, but think what would have happened if she had given into those fears?
God is sovereign and His fingerprints are all over your life. And wherever God has placed you is exactly where He wants you for this moment. Now that’s some pretty amazing Biblical truths for us to all remember.
Heidi Franz is stay-at-home, Jesus-seekin’ momma of four, striving to help her children understand the truths of Esther. She is the creator of the popular online Preschool Bible Curriculum website ABC Jesus Loves Me and blogs at Our Out-of-Sync Life.
Check out the What’s in the Bible? series for all the great stories of the Bible – Esther is featured on Volume 7. What’s in the Bible? Volume 7: Exile & Return (Ezra, Nehemiah & Esther) is available on DVD or Digitally (Streaming on JellyTelly and Buy/Rent on iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft Movies on Demand, Vimeo)
Learn about the whole What’s in the Bible? series here.