Day 152: There is no such thing as hopeless (Esther)

Posted: August 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

Even in a world seemingly controlled by evil, God is in control.

Such is the central theme of the book of Esther, a book full of as much drama and intrigue as daytime soap opera! It was a dark time for the Jews in this book. During the reign of King Xerxes, the Jews were still a remnant, displaced by Babylon. And the drama would all start with one bad decision from the queen. Queen Vashti refuses to see the king, which sets off a chain reaction of events so head spinning, it’s hard to believe that it’s anything but God at work. The queen is banished from Xerxes and a search is made for the next queen. Lo and behold, a modest, yet beautiful Jewish woman named Esther is thrown into the mix, eventually earning favor with the king. Before she knows it, she has a crown on her head, but her troubles are only beginning!

Soon, an evil man aptly described as “the enemy of the Jews,” Haman, has his feathers ruffled when Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, refuses to bow in his presence. So naturally, he burns with anger and plots to not only kill him, but the entire Jewish remnant! Anger management, anyone? Yikes. There are a couple other subplots, but I’ll stick to the meat of the story here, as it relates to my bigger point. Mordecai soon uncovers the plot and reports to Esther, who is beyond grieved about the news that her people are in danger of being wiped off the face of the earth. So in a desperate move, she approaches the king without permission (a violation punishable by death), and puts it all out on the line. Fortunately, Xerxes is more than happy to oblige the request, Haman is found out and killed, and Mordecai is even promoted to number 2 in the kingdom! Talk about a hopeless situation flipped on its head!

And that’s the point I got out of this book tonight. Reading parts of this story before, obviously, it’s easy to point out that God blesses His people (in the case of their survival against the plot); you never know what God has in store for you (Esther, a Jewish woman, being selected as the queen of a pagan nation); and eventually, those who fight against God will be punished (Haman). But for me, the bigger point is the fact that even in the most hopeless of situations, we can always turn to the LORD for protection, guidance and strength. When Haman’s plot was revealed, the Jews were in serious danger of being exterminated. Pretty bleak, right? But God had other plans for His people. He raised up Esther and Mordecai to be beacons in the “citadel of Susa.” Knowing God was on her side, she showed courage of heart in approaching the king. She risked everything, and God prevailed.

I can honestly say that I have it pretty good. I’m not rich, by any means. In fact, I’m pretty much the opposite of it. I get by. I work. I have a wife and family that loves me. I have freedoms. That’s more than a lot of this world can say. I am not a slave. I am not a beggar on the street. All in all, I am blessed. The same cannot be said for the Jews during the period in history. Their very survival was on the line ALL THE TIME. The threat of death was very real constantly. In terms of the word “hopeless,” I can probably say that my situation doesn’t compare. However, we all have our problems. I’m not trying to downplay the serious problems some of us may have. Work, financial problems, family stresses, you name it, when things are tough, our lives can look pretty grim, and the outlook is dark and gloomy, but God has never given up on us.

It seems like the last three books, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther, have a pretty common theme. God blesses those that seek His face. Draw close to God, and he will bless your life. It may not be exactly the kinds of blessings you have in mind, but God knows what we need even better than we do. The bottom line? God is in control, even when it seems like the world around us is spinning out of it. Satan loves to discourage God’s children by making circumstances look worse than they appear. Take heart! God loves you! Even in the midst of our storms, we can smile as the lighting strikes and the thunder rolls around our battered lives, because we have a Savior that has already won the fight! What greater joy exists than this?

Esther was an encouraging book. God is involved not only in the affairs of current events, but in the personal events of our lives. He longs to be involved, yet so many times we shut the door and leave Him outside. Open the door today, let Him in, and experience the joy that He has to offer, even in the midst of our greatest trials. When it comes to Jesus, there is no such thing as “hopeless.” That word simply doesn’t exist!

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