My letter from Esther in the Bible to my readers.
Dear Women of God in 21st Century America,
And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? Let your greatest desire be to please the King. I was nobody, powerless and a Jew. I was an outsider. That didn’t matter to God. I really want you to hear my voice and see my perspective.
There are many books written about the book of Esther; however, I don’t think much attention is given to how God used a woman like me to deliver his people. I am a real person, not a figure of imagination created by someone. God created a real woman. Don’t waste valuable time trying to be somebody without realizing that only God molds and shapes those he uses for his purposes. When we try to find significance in life, without God, it is useless. You have to release yourself to Him. He knows the plans for you.
Mordecai said to me, “…And who knows?” God knew what purpose he had in mind for my life. That’s all that matters. You will never reach your potential in life unless you follow where he leads. Are you learning to recognize His hand? It requires times being alone before Him away from the busyness of work, family, friends and even ministry. Sometimes He allows us to be in a situation whereas there is no one else to lean on but him. That is what happened to me. Maybe you can relate.
My safety net, Mordecai, was gone when I entered the gates of the palace. All of us have a safety net or two; what are yours? Who or what are you relying on more than God? Sometimes we become so attached to our careers, material possessions, status, giftedness––and, yes, even our ministries and churches that we don’t know what God has put inside of us. If any of these things are taken away, where will it leave you? Would you be able to trust God anyhow? Would you lose your rhythm in life?
Would you be so off track that you are paralyzed? Maybe you are like me. I did not realize how much I relied on Mordecai until God brought me to a new place, a place I had never been before. He thought just maybe I became too comfortable in my royal position. Mordecai didn’t realize that in his absence, God had been growing me up. I was no longer his little girl. If he had known this, he would not have spoken so strongly about my being in the king’s house as if that was all I had going for me. By the time I learned of the bad news concerning my people, I was at a point in life where God was all I had. I was thoroughly committed to doing His will because He brought me through a process of surrender. I was confident that God would take care of the results.
Now, when I look back, I see nothing but God’s favor. I experienced His favor in the past, but never to this extent. It seemed like He kept opening doors that I just walked through without manipulation, fight or plea to gain the king’s approval. King Xerxes’ focus was on finding a queen; God’s focus was on making a servant. I am a servant of God. Through my life, He saved His people.
When He makes a servant, He uses her. Many of us want to be used by God but we are not worshippers. We worship Him for who He is. If he does nothing or nothing else, His name should be exalted. True worship leads us into surrender. We let go. Obedience becomes a strong desire. Behavior aligns with His will. We live in such a way that every now and then we sense God is smiling on us! The more we know Him, the more we want to please Him. Giving ourselves to Him comes after He reveals Himself to us. Then we are open to be stretched by Him in service. He gives the opportunities; we don’t have to look for them. He will lead us.
You have many distractions today. It’s easy to put your trust in something or someone other than God. I trusted Him even when I was forced to go to the palace. I trusted from day one, but still while I was there my faith was enlarged so that my feet would not slip. When it came time for the greater assignment, I was ready. God makes you ready. I stopped thinking about those things that bring people happiness; God helped me to see those things that are important to Him. I considered a greater purpose.
I did not blindly come into my marriage relationship. No, Hegai taught me things about the king. Many women get married today without even learning what marriage is about. It was different for me; Hegai taught me how to be a queen. Who’s teaching you how to be a queen? Concubines and queens don’t behave the same way. The standards are higher for queens. Know the difference and chose to live as a queen!
The longer I was with my mentor, the more I got to know the king. Who knew the king better than Hegai? I was motivated to know him because I wanted to please him as his wife not as a concubine. Too many young ladies are settling for the concubine role instead of preparing to be a wife. The benefits in being a wife are far greater than being a concubine. Don’t settle for less! Even in our spiritual life, we settle for the "I’ll-be-with-You-when-I-need-You" fellowship with our Heavenly Father rather than a constant fellowship with Him. It all begins with a desire. The Apostle Paul passionately and consistently prayed for the Ephesians, “the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17).
Knowing God is powerful and profitable. I am not talking about knowing about Him, but knowing Him. Let your desire be to deeply love Him. I never let my royal position keep me from growing intimately with God. This is what it takes for Him to walk closely with us. Have you allowed a new position, relationship or activity keep you from growing intimately with God?
When Mordecai said,“ but that you have come to royal position...” in that moment I knew God brought me here “for such a time as this.” I began to think about all that had happened to me from the day I was brought to the palace. God will never have us do something He does not provide for. It was no mistake that I had been exalted to a royal position to help God’s people. I believed it was by His providence that I was in a position to serve a doomed people. I was chosen to serve the king as his wife, but there was a greater purpose – to serve God. I was the right person, in the right place and at the right time. I believed that justice would prevail. I knew this deep inside.
It is easy to be blindsided by the ordinary without seeing how God wants to use you for an extraordinary work. This was a divine assignment and I knew it from the bottom of my heart. My deepest desire above all things, even my own desires, passions, and needs, is to serve the Lord. His fingerprints were everywhere in my life. Mordecai knew it, but he thought I got caught up in the king and all the royalty. You can imagine getting caught up in a five or six figure salary with amenities. God has always been near to Mordecai. But what he didn’t know was that I continued to grow in my relationship with God.
In fact, I got to know God better in the palace than when I was living in the province. Location makes no difference to God; it is never a barrier. He’s everywhere and we are not out of His reach! What do you believe about His providence concerning where you are in life? What circumstances did He use to bring you to where you are in life? Are you growing in your faith right where you are?
“For such a time as this” relates to a specific time. I learned that my people needed to be rescued and I was in a position to help them. Could I have ignored it? It was all in God’s timing. It was not a “just so happen” thing. He needed me in this very moment. If you are walking in obedience and sometimes even disobedience with God, He might show you where He needs you to serve for the good of others.
Abraham walked in obedience; Jonah walked in disobedience for a while. My people needed to be rescued. I saw God’s fingerprints on the situation and it made it easier for me to respond, “yes, Lord!” I had a stronger conviction after our time of fasting and prayer.
You should consider doing a timeline of your life or a map of seasons in your life listing significant events or benchmarks to see how God led you to where you are right now. Don’t be like some women who never stop to exhale to see what God is teaching them. You might be surprised by what you learn about your journey. It's beneficial for us to pause to reflect, pray, discern and imagine!
There is a price to pay in being at one with God. I was willing to pay the price of being thrown out of the palace or even losing my own life to fulfill His purpose. I meant it when I said, “And if I perish, I perish.” When I spoke these words, in my heart, I knew I was sold out to God. I love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. There are those who say they will follow and there are also those who actually follow God; there is a difference. If I tried to do this on my own, I would have messed up everything. He was there for me and I knew it. He gave me what to say and when to say it.
Don’t think God is not strategic. The plan was already in motion. He was asking me to get involved with saving His people. Doesn’t this sound like a big request? He was letting me know that there is nothing too big or complex for Him. I couldn’t imagine God not asking you to do big things for Him to affect the lives of others. Maybe He's speaking now?
My response is a powerful testimony of my love for our God. I could not have done any of this without my faith in Him. My obedience in responding to His will is motivated by my love. Does that make sense to you? Even if I disobeyed God, like Mordecai said, “relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but (me) and (my) family will perish.” To me those were some strong and unnecessary words. Mordecai just didn’t understand where I stood concerning my obedience to God.
Oftentimes people on the outside make wrong assumptions about you. That’s what he did about me. Since I have been in the palace, God taught me how to stand firm believing in His word and strength, coupled with prayer. It didn’t take any persuasion to ask the Jews to pray and fast for me. I needed God’s strength, and I knew they were willing to sacrifice. I desired above all things to obey God. This assignment was entrusted to me and I took it seriously. There was no hesitation on my part. It’s not difficult to obey when you’ve experienced His faithful love.
How does your testimony reflect His faithful love for you? In what ways are your actions motivated by His faithful love? I hope the sermons and Bible studies you attend are balanced. What I mean is that too much about “you” and too little about God isn’t good. I’ve learned about who I am through knowing Him. In fact, I believe it is the only way to know your “true self.” I recognize His character and nature in me because He has revealed himself to me, through His grace. No one is perfect, but my deepest desire in life was to know God. It paid off!
God uses women to change the world in powerful ways even when the odds are against us. I am the face of many women desiring to be used by Him to make a difference in the world. More women like me are in the Body of Christ.
The 21st Century needs women of God who speak truth about the failure of systems and structures that harm and even destroy people. You cannot become too comfortable and forget about those who need your leadership. How hot is your fire for a worthy cause? Who keeps coming to mind as someone needing an advocate? In what ways is God making you ready for a royal position? How responsive are you?
You have so many wonderful role models from the past and present to glean from. Some of them appear in this book, but there are many more. Continue to learn from them. Spend time with those women who walk the talk. Pray for them. Emulate them. Give and be willing to receive. God gives so that you have something to give to others. Sow seeds for a harvest of righteousness.
Remember, my obedience to God reflects the obedience of His own Son, Jesus Christ. I did nothing out of selfish ambition but obeyed God for a greater purpose.
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
He made himself nothing by not allowing others to make Him their earthly king because they wanted deliverance from the hands of the Romans. He did not ask the Father to save Him from going to the cross. He knew it was why He came. Obedience is motivated by love. There is no greater love! This truth is revealed in Jesus words, “I will not speak with you much longer (speaking to his disciples), for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what My Father has commanded Me” (John 14:30-31).
Jesus told the Pharisees, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does. Yes, to your amazement He will show Him even greater things than these” (John 5:19-20).
God shows you what to do in life––in good and bad times. You have to know Him for yourself. Haman had no hold on me; God did. Mordecai’s initial reaction was fear, but once I sent word back by Hathach, he was at ease. He understood that God had chosen me as a vessel to save His people. I am so thankful to Him for using me. There is nothing that means more to me in life.
He has chosen all of you for something that will benefit others far greater than you can imagine. There are always people who need to taste and see that He is good. There are those who need to hear about what He has taught you so that they can experience true freedom from whatever keeps them from surrendering to His will. They might need to hear that He came to earth as a living, holy sacrifice for sinful man.
Such a great cloud of witnesses surrounds you. I am one of them. Consider the need for social justice today. The woman called for such a time as this is open to God’s leading to positions of influence, power and where He needs her to make a great impact for kingdom gain. She knows how to walk alone. She does not allow promotions to keep her from doing her Father’s business. She understands that it is not about her, but “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed” (Psalm 103:6). She has this purpose in mind. She looks beyond where she is currently to see her role in paving the way for the next generation. She understands that systems are failing: education, law and justice, and the family institution. She is concerned with issues like the young dying to violence, premarital sexual relationships, the rise in domestic violence and many other social ills.
So many women of all races, ages and backgrounds have been encouraged by how God used me for a great purpose. They say I was pretty and smart, powerful and strategically positioned to be abundantly blessed. Some say, I was positioned for greatness. This was God’s doing; He gave me favor, which I did not deserve. I, even, love my man. I am grateful for everything! I would sometimes be overwhelmed that God used me for such a time as this!
As you encounter girls and women who want to know about our loving and awesome God, tell them about Vashti, me, and the courageous women who followed. Pray for their hearts to be open to the things of God. Teach them to emulate us and those women who are living transformed lives. We considered a greater purpose.
To God be the glory!
Lord, I yearn to live in the greater purposes of God. If there is anything holding me back from experiencing the fullness of your love and grace, please set me free from all hindrances. You are my King, Redeemer and Lord of Lords! There is none like you. I desire your will for my life. I’m open to the guidance of your Holy Spirit leading me in the path of righteousness for your namesake. Help me to be sensitive to other women who live beyond mere lip service and status quo but live in the greater purposes of God. Help me to understand, encourage, help and pray for them. Keep me from any spirits of competition, comparison and jealousy. Help me to courageously tell my own story and to be a witness to others of your greatness, faithfulness and love. In your mighty name I pray. AMEN
Excerpt from Consider a Greater Purpose, Vashti, Esther and the Courageous Women Who Followed.