Esther has to be my most favorite book of the Bible. It is dramatic, full of intrigue, betrayal, conniving, and bravery. This book houses some of the most interesting relationships in biblical narrative.
If you read Esther today, you might find that Esther is not really the heroic figure in the story. She does not do all that much. She is a pretty passive character. I have thought in the past that perhaps the book should be called the book of Mordecai.
Mordecai is the actor in the story. He recognizes that Esther becoming queen is advantageous for their people. He is determined to pivot her position in favor of the Jews.
He finds his opportunity in Haman. Haman is a vain man, so Mordecai picks a fight with him by refusing to bow to him, which homage was warranted by Haman’s new assignment as the king’s right hand complete with the power of the king’s signet ring.
To say that Mordecai had religious reasons not to bow is to add to the text. It doesn’t say that. Nor does it mention persecution of the Jews for failing to bow to Xerxes or his dignitaries being a problem at the time.
So Mordecai creates a problem by aggravating Haman. Then the persecution starts and Haman uses his authority and influence on Xerxes to set a date for genocide.
Mordecai is the ultimate gambler! He starts this trouble, creates a public display of mourning that catches Queen Esther’s attention, and then advises Esther to use her influence to save her people. This better work!
Esther does not have power. But she has influence as Xerxes wife. She does not have an agenda. But she trusts the agenda that Mordecai has.
Esther is only heroic in how she conducts her relationships. She is noted for listening to Hegai on what to wear when she first met the king…that worked out for her as we know. And she also listened to the advice of Mordecai.
Mordecai did not have position or influence, but he had a trusting, cooperative relationship with someone who did have position and influence– Esther.
And the plan worked, thank God.
Mordecai eventually takes the position that Haman had as right hand to Xerxes. This means that he ended up using Esther to attain even more power and influence than she had. The Bible doesn’t say anything about her feeling jilted by that– and why would she be, under Mordecai’s advisement the Jews became rich and powerful in the Persian empire.
Mordecai’s “for such a time as this,” was a statement about opportunity. It was like saying “this is our chance!”
As we journey together as Christians, our end game is the earth being filled with Christ’s glory. This means that every opportunity should be seized upon to advance the cause of Christ– regardless of “whose who.” We have to be willing at times, or all the time, to be like Esther. This is to have a heart that doesn’t cling to position, power, recognition, or “whose doing it.” It is a heart that is willing to yield.
A heart that is willing to yield takes advice. It shares it’s position and influence. It accepts the possibility of losing it’s position taking action on a plan it doesn’t totally understand.
A heart that yields is always ready for the right opportunity surrounded by the right relationships.