Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her.Esther 2:15(NASB)
The story of Esther is remembered as one of the greatest victories in Scripture when the evil plots of Israel's enemies were set to exterminate the entire Jewish race, but God turned around this harrowing situation for good. The intriguing story of a beautiful young orphan girl, who entered a beauty contest and became queen of the greatest empire in the world, is the stuff of dreams and fairy-tales.
Esther is identified as a woman of courage and humility, with many additional qualities and attributes. She was a woman who was greatly used by God to save His people, Israel, from a wicked plot to annihilate the entire race. However, there is also a sordid aspect to this story, and some ungodly acts that are often overlooked in this fascinating account.
Within the well-loved story of Esther, there are elements of disobedience, compromise, and sexual promiscuity, together with many other violations of God's holy law and His perfect will for His people. As the story unfolds, it is evident that there are godly principles that were shelved by Esther and her uncle, in the political, cultural, physical and spiritual arenas. As Israelites, Esther and her uncle, Mordicai, evidently broke many aspects of Jewish practices, including food laws, moral laws, religious laws and marriage laws, among a number of other, God-given requirements.
Having divorced his wife the king was persuaded to hold a talent contest of the most beautiful virgins in the land and chose the one he liked the best. Instead of protecting Esther, from participating in the king's ungodly beauty show, Mordicai encouraged her to take part, knowing that she would have to engage in fornication and other practices that were totally forbidden by the Lord.
The way that Mordicai and Esther willingly compromised their faith stands in stark contrast with men like Daniel and his three friends, or Joseph, the son of Jacob. Esther not only used her beauty to forward her plans and hid her Jewish heritage from the king, but she was also ready to break the moral law by engaging in sexual intercourse with the king.
And yet there are many men and women of faith who similarly compromised their faith in God, such as Abraham with Hagar, King Saul who offered a sacrifice to the Lord instead of waiting for Samuel, Elijah, who was intimidated by the ungodly Jezebel, and even apostles like Peter, who stopped eating with Gentile believers, for fear of the Jews... and Paul who chose to take a Jewish vow, so that he could testify of his innocence, instead of trusting God to fulfil His will through his life.
The day came when it was Esther's turn to go to the king's bed-chamber. "Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihai, the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go into the king, she did not request anything, except what Hegai, the king's eunuch, who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther found favour in the eyes of all who saw her."
God in His grace used the many compromises of Esther and Mordicai to forward His plans and purposes, and through them, God prevented His people from being annihilated. And to this day the Jews remember Esther and her uncle every year in the feast of Purim, when they celebrate the great victory that was gained through her courage and wisdom. God in His grace used ungodly men, the plots of evil people and even the compromised principles of Esther and Mordicai to bring great things to pass.
Do we condemn Esther as a woman who deliberately disobeyed God's Law and willingly engaged in many compromises during her life or do we applaud her courageous acts during her life and her willingness to be used by God for such a time as this? Do we denounce her for her fornication and duplicity or do we commend her for obedience to God and willingness to serve Him, honour the king and do what was right, at the risk of her life?
Well, sin is always a violation against God, and the Lord will never condone sin and neither should we. But we also rejoice for the wonderful way that God used Esther and her uncle in bringing good out of evil, and forwarding His plans and purposes, despite the evil ways of man and the compromises of His children.
Perhaps it is neither her sin nor her courage that should grab our immediate attention. Perhaps our focus should be on God's great goodness and amazing grace in using sinners such as Esther, as a channel of His blessing. Perhaps we should stand in awe of God, Who used a whole range of natural and supernatural circumstances to permit this woman and her uncle to restrain the evil that was coming upon God's people, and turn evil to good.
Perhaps we should rejoice that God will use sinners, such as you and me, to bless others and to increase our own spiritual temperature, and perhaps we should recognise that God is in control of this fallen world system and use this story to develop our personal trust in God and maintain a growing faith in His Word.
May we use the lives of people like Esther and Mordecai, Joseph and Daniel, Elijah and King Saul, and the apostles, Peter and Paul, as examples in our Christian lives on how to live and what to avoid. May we eschew the evil and do that which is good in the eyes of the Lord. May we be obedient to God's Word and be careful not to compromise our faith, even in those times of great difficulty and danger. May we thank God that He works all things together for His good purpose and may we worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness and live a life that honours Him, for His greater praise and glory.
Loving Heavenly Father, thank You that by grace we are saved and by grace, our sins are remembered no more. Thank You, that by grace we are established in the faith and only by grace are we enabled to carry out the good works You have prepared for us to do. Forgive me for the times I have failed to listen to Your voice and walk in Your ways, and keep me from promoting any worthy works I may have done, for without You I can do nothing. Keep me low at the cross and humble before You, and I pray in Jesus' name, that all I am and all I do would be for His glory and His alone, AMEN.