Esther: Service with Courage

This month’s Characteristic of a Christian Steward is Courage. February’s Biblical Role Model is Esther.

By Deacon Tim Sullivan

The story of Esther in the Old Testament is filled with intrigue and danger. Ahasueras, King of Persia, has chosen Esther, adopted daughter of Mordecai, as his queen, not knowing that she and Mordecai are Jewish. Haman, a top aide of Ahasueras, takes offense because Mordecai will not bow down to Haman. Haman prevails upon the king to issue an order that all the Jews in the kingdom be killed.

Mordecai encourages Esther to petition the king to withdraw his order. Esther knows that approaching the king without being first summoned by him is an offense punishable by death.

So Esther prays: “My Lord, our King, you alone are God. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand…Manifest yourself in the time of our distress and give me courage. Put in my mouth persuasive words…Save us from the power of the wicked, and deliver me from my fear.”

When Esther then presents herself to the king, he becomes angry, but God changes his anger to gentleness. He responds sympathetically to Esther’s request. When Ahasueras learns of Haman’s deception in securing the command to destroy the Jews , he orders his execution. The king then delegates to Mordecai all of his royal power.

The story of Esther gives rise to the annual Jewish feast of Purim, which is celebrated on the day that Haman had secured for the killing of all the Jews. On that day, the Jewish people celebrate the courage of Esther and God’s turning a day of destruction into a day of celebration.

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