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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Bravery of a Queen

This is the beginning of the fifth week of study in Beth Moore’s Esther study for me. While I have been familiar with Esther’s story since I was a young kid I don’t think I have ever truly walked through the pages of this book in such depth. The name of God is no where to be found on any of it’s pages, but His hand is amazingly present at all times.

We are entering the 5th chapter of Esther and in the story Esther is about to approach her king on behalf of the Jewish people. A noble in the kings court has issued a decree that all Jews are to be killed. Esther is a Jew and she has a choice to make. She can go to the king on behalf of her people and risk immediate death (any man or woman approaching the king without being summoned is put to death- Esther 4:11) or she can remain silent and die along with her people. She is scared, and her husband, the king, has not summoned her for thirty days so she is not sure where she stands with him. She declares a fast for three days and then the time comes.. and this is what I imagine…

“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes…” Esther 5:1a

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Behind the ornate door of the queen’s chambers maids work feverishly to prepare their queen. She is “lovely in form and features” (Esther 2:7) and dressing her like a queen is not hard. Her long dark hair is washed and groomed to perfection. Her best robes are chosen. Purple, for royalty, with beads on the bodice to show her great wealth. Her dressing maids button the many satin buttons that will close her gown in the back down to her small waist.  Her long flowing gown is ornate and beautiful and fit only for a queen. Jewels are placed around her neck, a reminder of her wedding day and a gift from the wealthiest man in the kingdom-her opposite in many ways, her husband, the King of Persia. Delicate shoes are chosen to protect her feet from the cold stone floors as she makes her brave ascent to the king’s inner court… a very nervous, scared and focused queen who earned her place based on beauty alone. Would her beauty be enough to save her and her people now with this hard hearted man? “God, please change his heart,” she whispers as she makes her final preparations.

A final prayer and she begins her long walk from the queen’s chambers to the king’s court yard. It has been a while since she has been outside, for her safety she is kept indoors,  and the sun hurts her eyes. She climbs the stairs as maids follow along carrying her long dark train. It’s velvety fabric cause it to be very heavy, and yet, deep in thought, the queen hardly notices the weight. 

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What will I say? How will he respond when he sees me standing there? Will he receive me? Will my very presence send him into a fit of rage? The thoughts won’t stop. They are overwhelming and yet they do not stop her footsteps. She must take a stand on behalf of her people, her cousin who raised her, and herself. They walk in silence and deep in thought as each maid realizes the seriousness of her decisions. They pray earnestly as they walk.

As she enters the final corridor she hears the sounds of wailing. Several people are crying as if they are in mourning. Where is it coming from? She looks around and at the king’s gate and there they are… her people… the Jewish people standing with sack cloth around their bodies and ashes on their faces rocking back and forth in agony. They will die if God does not intervene.  They have heard their fate issued through a decree that was sealed with the king’s signet ring, and they know that without a miracle they will all die at the hand of one evil man. Their heart wrenching cries hurt her ears as she passes by, and the pain on their faces hurt her heart.

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Her pace quickens. They have prayed for her. They have fasted, for three days with no food or drink, for her as she has prepared for this day. There is no turning back. The words of her cousin, Mordecai, ring in her head, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” For such a time as this… for such a time as this.

As she approaches the massive doors to the king’s court yard the guards realize that the king has not summoned the queen and yet here she is. With respect they bow and open the doors for her and her servants to enter. It is apparent that she is here with purpose and yet her beauty captures their attention all the more. They glance at each other in wonder. Is she mad? Has she lost all senses to appear before the king unannounced?

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She stops just inside the door and takes one last deep breath. She closes her eyes and steps inside. The maids quickly spread her train and scurry back behind the wall careful not to be seen. As the heavy doors close his attention turns to see who has entered his private court, and he can hardly believe his eyes. She is beautiful.

“When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.” Esther 5:2

Who knew the Bible could be such an amazing adventure?

Is it old? Well, yes.

Is it relevant? Oh, to me it is life!

Is it inspiring and full of life? You tell me…

“My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22

7 comments:

Rebecca Jo said...

What an amazing story... it was like I was there - totally picturing it in all its amazing glory!

Sharon said...

Ohhhh... I love it. I totally felt as if I were right there with her. :)

Faith said...

I love the story of Esther! I really want to do this study SOON! I have heard so many wonderful things about it!

Valarie said...

I told you - you should be the one leading this study!!! ;-)
Love ya girl and I'm so glad you're a part of this class!!!
V

MiMi said...

Isn't this just the most awesome Bible study ever! Like you, I have heard the story of Esther since I was a child, but it has truly come alive during this study! I think every woman needs to do this study. I want to take it again as a review after I finish going through it this time!

Loved this post and love you!

Have a great week, my friend!

ThreeGirlyGirls said...

You did really great writing this out!! Loved it!! I'm taking this class too on Wed nights and wow have I learned so much! This was awesome girl!!

Jensmere said...

I'm doing the same study and it truly is wonderful!

I loved the parallel to Psalm 23, where Esther's banquet with the King and Haman is compared to "you prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies, you annoint my head with oil, my cup runs over!"

Amazing....
Susan