Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lessons from a Queen!

The story of Esther has so many great lessons and just plain interesting things in it.

First of all, this book of the Bible is a great example of how NOT boring the Bible can be. Many people think that the Bible is boring, but Esther is far from it. I’ll leave it at that and you can read it for yourself to find out why I say that!

One lesson found all throughout the book of Esther is the importance of obeying the King’s commands or you may end up in trouble. There are several cases throughout the book of Esther where someone went against the King and they ended up being killed by the Kings orders. The King James Version says they were hung on a tree. The New International Version says impaled on poles. The New King James says hanged on a gallows. The New Living Translation says they were impaled on a sharpened pole. Either way, I wouldn’t want that to be me in any case!

Interesting Bible Fact: Esther 2:12 - Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.

I’m not sure if a whole year of beauty treatments would be heaven on earth or torture! I mean think about it. We do crazy things now days like plucking eyebrows. What did they do back then? I don’t think they had tweezers! I’m just saying, Bible time beauty treatments could be a little scary.

Life Lesson #1: Esther listened to her “father”. Mordecai had essentially adopted Esther when she was young, but she respected him and listened to him when he asked her not to reveal to the king that she was Jewish. Had she told the King she was Jewish at first, she likely would not have been his choice to be queen and would not have been able to save her people. We need to listen to our Heavenly Father and follow his instructions. He knows best!

The King had a right hand man, Haman. He was not impressed with Mordecai because Mordecai would not kneel down and pay his respects to Haman as a royal official. This infuriated Haman and he not only wanted to kill Mordecai, but he wanted to kill all of his people as well. When he went to the King about this, the King just handed over his seal and told him to do with the people what he wanted. When Mordecai found out about it, he was distressed and asked Esther for help.

Interesting Bible Fact: Esther 4:11 - All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives.

How awesome would it be to be able to banish everyone you didn’t want to see and only see the people you summoned! I’m just saying, that sounds like a perk to me for being the King!

At first, Esther didn’t want to go to the King as Mordecai asked her to, because she was not supposed to go to the king unless he summoned her. Mordecai said something to Esther that makes me stop and think. He said, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Wow, what a statement. First of all, someone will deliver the Jewish people if you don’t! Secondly, why do you think you were put in a position of power? Don’t you think this could be the reason you are queen? How many times do we think we have no authority in a situation? But what if we are in just the right place at just the right time? We just have to step out on faith and trust that we will make a difference if we do the right thing.

The king liked Esther so much, that when she approached him, he asked her what she wanted. He said whatever she wanted up to half of his kingdom could be hers. She invited the king and Haman to a banquet. At the banquet she invited them to a second banquet. This is when she was going to tell the King what she wanted.

In the meantime Haman passed Mordecai again who would not show the respect he wanted. Haman was furious and at the suggestion of his wife, he set up a pole reaching a height of fifty cubits and was going to ask the King in the morning to have Mordecai impaled on it.

The king that night didn’t sleep well. He was thinking about the person who exposed an assassination attempt on him. When he discovered it was Mordecai, he wanted to properly show his appreciation.

So, the King asked Haman what he should do for a man who the King wanted to honor. Haman responded thinking the king was speaking of him. He named off a list of great honors to bestow on the man.

Life Lesson #2: Vengeance is Mine sayeth the Lord! Once Haman listed all the honors he thought should be bestowed upon this man, the King told Haman to go and bestow these honors on Mordecai! (He had to personally honor his arch enemy)! Haman was mortified and ran home, but he still had a banquet to attend. When Esther finally made her request to the king (to spare her people from being killed) the King wanted to know who had planned this terrible act. Esther told him it was Haman. Haman ended up being ordered to be impaled on the very same pole that he had set up for Mordecai and Mordecai was honored. How ironic is that? Not only is he embarrassed by having to honor Mordecai in the streets, but he is killed on the same pole he had set up for the king to impale Mordecai on!

Life Lesson #3: Think before you speak! I am pretty sure that at this point Haman’s wife was wishing she had given him some different advice! Not only did she lose her husband in a humiliating way, she lost everything that belonged to him.

In the end Esther and Mordecai were given Haman’s estate and were able to write their own edict signed by the king to protect the Jewish people.

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