Lessons learned from the book of Esther

This week we completed the study of the book of Esther. I was deeply impressed. Although God is not mentioned once in this book, His character and work are so beautifully presented. The book was written in a historical context, when the Jewish people were scattered throughout the empire of Emperor Ahasuerus, which stretched from India to Ethiopia. The events take place 500 years before Christ. Esther was an orphaned Jew, raised by her uncle Mordecai. The Bible says of her that she was beautiful in appearance and pleasing to the eye. Precisely because of these qualities, she became queen in the kingdom of Ahasuerus, instead of Empress Vashti. The king knew nothing about her nationality, because Mordecai stopped her from telling it. 

Ahasuerus had then brought Haman to power, the second after him. Haman was greedy for power and a proud man. Everyone who passed by had to kneel and bow before him. But Mordecai refused because he was a Jew and worshiped only God. This angered Haman, and he decided not only to destroy Mordecai, but also the entire Jewish nation throughout the kingdom. He succeeded in convincing Ahasuerus to issue an edict (which, once signed, could not be abolished) so that in one day all the Jews would be killed. This news shocked all Jews. Mordecai wept bitterly and fasted in sackcloth and ashes. Then he went to Esther to ask her to come before the king and to intercede before him for the people. She initially refused, because there was a law in the country that no one had the right to enter the emperor’s room without him calling. This also applied to the empress. However, at Mordecai’s insistence, Esther accepted the challenge and fasted with her maids for 3 days and urged all Jews to do the same.

Meanwhile, Haman, the enemy of the Jews, had prepared a 22 m high gallows that he planned to hang Mordecai. On the night that Haman was preparing the gallows, King Ahasuerus couldn’t sleep and asked to read the book of Chronicles. He discovered that he had not rewarded Mordecai for a good deed he had done some time before, preventing a plot against the king by some men close to the king. He immediately summoned Haman and asked him how to reward the man who had done good to the king. But Haman did not know that it was Mordecai. He believed that the emperor wanted to reward him. Then he suggested that the king put the king’s crown on the man’s head, put him in royal robes, and order him to ride a horse through the city, and all to praise him. The king liked the idea and commissioned Haman himself to do so. Haman was very angry and upset when he understood that he had to do this to Mordecai.

After 3 days of fasting, Esther entered the king’s room and got ahead of him. She asked him to come to a feast which he had arranged for the king and for Haman. The emperor agreed. And on the second day of the feast, Esther told the king about Haman’s plans to destroy the Jews. Consequently, the king ordered Haman to be hanged in place of Mordecai. Later, Mordecai took Haman’s place, and Ahasuerus gave Esther and Mordecai the right to issue edicts to protect the Jews from massacre. That’s what they did. They issued a decision by which the Jews were given the right to defend themselves from enemies, and the fear of the Jews seized them all. It was a day of victory for the Jews. And that day was called Purim, from the word Pur. The Jews decided to celebrate the Feast of Purim from generation to generation, annually, in remembrance of these events.

Personally, I had a lot to learn from this book. First, I learned about God’s character. That He is faithful to His Word and miraculously protects His children. Then I saw how important fasting and prayer are in difficult life situations. Another thing I learned from Mordecai was the verticality of character. He did not compromise his faith, and when it was to cost him and all his people their life, he stood firm and sought God’s help. And, how beautifully he was rewarded by God! Chapter 10 ends with a beautiful feature about him: “He was well known among his brethren, for he sought the good of the people, and spoke for the happiness of his whole nation.” And Esther is an example from which I can learn. Even when she reached a very high position, she did not lose her character, she listened to the advice of her mentor, Mordecai, and she acted wisely.

I highly recommend you to study this course on your own. It took me exactly 20 days. From April 26 to May 15. There are 4 lessons in total, 5 days each. If you want, I can come and teach it in your church or in a study group, or in another place where there are interested people. Contact me for details at 060710027 or email vitalie.marian@moldovacrestina.md.

Translated by Nicoleta Vicliuc