Queen Esther’s character emerged when she, along with many other young women, were swept into a human-trafficking ring of sorts. Their custodial pimp, Hegai, spent 12 months beautifying them in a preparational harem, and then they competed for a prize that would make them little more than a sex slave with the title.
One by one, Hegai sent them to the King.
In the evening, she would go in and in the morning she would return to the second harem, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the King’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines” (Esther 2:14).
These girls didn’t parade before the King twirling batons or displaying vocal talents; their audition was an overnight visit. Esther wins this twisted Old Testament beauty pageant and joins the King’s concubines.
Imagine Esther’s mental state as she prepared to meet the King in such an intimate and violating fashion. Was she petitioning the Lord? Was she desperate to escape? Did she think God had forgotten her, or worse, remembered but didn’t care?
When we are thrust into situations not of our choosing, we too, question God. Why is this happening? Can this be redeemed? In the early days of confusion, we are unlikely to appreciate the scope of what God is doing or imagine how He might bring the broken pieces together. Perhaps we linger in discouragement or frustration instead of hoping for a joy that may never come. We fear God has forgotten us, or worse, remembered and doesn’t care.
Esther could not imagine what God was orchestrating. While inside the confines of the harem, she could have missed the political positioning happening outside her prison walls if it hadn’t been for her Uncle Mordecai. Mordecai and Esther sent and received messages through the eunuch appointed to attend Esther. Esther learned of a vendetta against her uncle and a plot to ruin him that would impact all the Jewish people. As the persecution against her people increased, Mordecai challenged her to consider whether she had attained royalty for “such as time as this.”
The potential consequences of Esther intervening were massive. Esther prayed, fasted, stepped out in faith, and wisely waited for the right time to intercede. She persevered in unthinkable conditions, conducting herself with dignity and bravery.
She leaves an example to follow.
- When have you been thrust into situations that caused you to question God? What did you learn from those experiences?
- What are the circumstances in your life that have the potential to steal your focus away from trusting the Lord? What might bravery, dignity, and perseverance look like in these circumstances?
- Are you teachable enough that the “Mordecais” in your life can challenge you to view trials through the lens of Scripture? If not, how might you begin softening your edges to invite this kind of interaction with your brothers and sisters in Christ?