Sunday, December 4, 2022

Posted on Dec 02 2022

The Story of Esther-“For Such a Time As This!”

Bible Background: A little Bible trivia: What’s one of two books of the Bible that never mentions God? One would be Esther! (The other would be Song of Songs!) Esther should be considered a short story, more than an historical account. Set in the time when the Jews are living in exile in the Persian Empire (which defeated the Babylonian Empire) we meet a young orphan named Esther, and her uncle, Mordecai.
Esther is recruited-she does not volunteer-to become queen. The king is both ruthless and clueless. At the urging of his top advisor, he issues a decree that the Jews are to be killed. Mordecai prompts Esther to intercede with the king, which she eventually does-at great risk to herself. The king changes his decree, and the enemies of the Jews are the ones who are wiped out. The Jewish festival of Purim fits into this story. A kids’ movie and a big-screen movie tell the story of Esther: Veggie Tales “Esther, the Girl Who Became Queen”, and “One Night With the King”, both of which can be found online.

Digging Deeper: 1. Though Esther becomes queen, in many ways, she is powerless. She’s a woman. She’s a Jew. When Mordecai seeks her involvement, she first seems to use the excuse: “I’m just one person. There’s nothing I can do!” In what situations do we try to use that same excuse?

2. Mordecai pushes Esther to do what she can. His words are “Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” Were you ever in a tough circumstance when you had a sense that maybe God could use you to do something that needed to be done? How did that feel? Did it help you summon courage and faith? Did it seem overwhelming or scary?

3. A psychiatrist wrote two epitaphs, to show a client two options for facing fears. Which one would you choose?
option A: She couldn’t try for fear she’d die;
She never tried and so she died.

option B: She couldn’t try for fear she’d die;
But once she tried, her fears, they died.

Next week’s Narrative Lectionary reading is Isaiah 42:1-9.
Search YouTube for “Bible Project Esther” and you’ll find an insightful summary to the whole story.