A Time as This

There is a beautiful story in the Old Testament in the Book of Esther that shows God’s protection and purpose revealed by the placement of the Hebrew Esther in King Xerxes court in Susa.  The story begins with King Xerxes holding a grand banquet for all the nobles near and far.  King Xerxes ruled over 127 provinces from India to Cush, so was a great and powerful King.  180 days into the banquet the King orders his eunichs to bring Queen Vashti wearing her crown so that all may view her beauty.  However, Queen Vashti refuses to obey the King and subsequently Vashti is put away from the King for her disobedience.  The King’s consultants suggest the King pick a woman from among those they provide for him and make her Queen instead of Vashti.

Esther had lost her parents, so was raised by her relative Mordecai who worked at the King’s gate.  Mordecai submitted beautiful Esther as one of the women the King would choose from.  Esther pleased the King more than all the other women, so the royal crown was placed upon her head and she was made Queen.  Later, Mordecai overheard of a plot to kill the King and relayed the message to Esther who reported the information to the King referencing Mordecai.  It was this act of Esther that saves Mordecai later, and allows him to receive honor from the King.

Right after this event, the King raised up a nobleman, Haman, higher than all the other nobles and ordered all should kneel down to Haman to honor him.  Because the Jews only knelt to God, Mordecai refused to kneel before Haman. Haman decides to take revenge against Mordecai by manipulating the King into believing the Jews that lived in his kingdom did not follow the King’s decrees.  The King believes Haman and orders all the Jews to be killed.  Before the slaughter is carried out, however, Mordecai learns of the King’s intent and asks Ether to plead for their lives with the King.  However, any man or woman entering into the King’s court uninvited, including the Queen, could be killed unless the King showed favor by holding out his royal scepter.

Mordecai tells Esther that she wouldn’t escape either if all the Jews are killed, and likely God would provide relief and deliverance for the Jews in another way if she refused to go to the king. But, the most significant point of the story is Mordecai words, “…who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”  Esther responds, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther is willing to sacrifice her life to save her people, and because of her willingness to do God’s will, is greatly blessed instead along with her Uncle Mordecai.

 

Esther enters into the court, and because Esther was so favored and loved by the King, he holds out his scepter, and asks her what she wants, even to including half of the kingdom.  Esther requests a banquet with Haman where she accuses Haman in front of the King of wanting to kill her people (the King didn’t know Esther was a Jew).  Later, Haman is impaled on the very pole he had arranged to have Mordecai killed on, and Mordecai is raised up to be second in rank to the King.

What is significant in this story is the thread of God’s purpose arranging people and events so that His chosen people would be protected.  Esther is chosen by King Xerxes to be his Queen, but what was it about Esther that caused the King to favor her over all the other women that were brought before him?  Esther, as a Hebrew, would have been raised listening to the beautiful visual language and teaching of the Torah, and most likely would have had a gentle and wise spirit.

God knew the King would favor Esther and used her for His purpose.  The king had concubines, and other women to choose from, but Esther provided him with something more than just sex.  A man’s soul needs to be fed as well and his heart touched along with the sexual satisfaction.

Attempting to be satisfied by sex alone is like performing salat when one doesn’t know the translation of the Arabic words in the prayer.  It is empty and meaningless.  Also, it is like two animals howling in the night when mating.   Making love the way God wills it should be is two people encompassed by the desire that comes from souls that are being fed from a deep spring and each other, and an emotion filled heart.  It is such an enjoyment of each other in all ways, that on the bed of marriage, when two people are intertwined spiritually, emotionally, and physically, they can pass the night into the dawn without any sense of the passage of time.

It was the King’s desire for his beloved that moves him to offer half of his kingdom to Esther.  This is a man who is satisfied with his Queen in a deeper way, and not just sexually.  So, God in His wisdom uses the King’s desire at a certain point in time to save His chosen people from annihilation.

 

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