When I set out to tell the story of Esther, I made a list of reasons why and what I wanted to know by the end. I designed it like an inquiry unit so that I would be a bit more focused. It’s hard to write everything I’ve learned down in the study so far but I’ll attempt a couple points. Below, you’ll find a list of some of the reasons I started and what I learned.
I want to study the story of Esther to remind myself of who I am in Jesus’s eyes: chosen, beloved and precious.
I admire Esther so much. Telling her story forced me to live in her world and describe what she saw and felt. When she was chosen, so was I. When she became royalty, so did I. When she was in love, when she sinned, when she overcame her enemy, so did I. Throughout the New Testament, the writers describe Jesus’s disciples in light of how God sees them because of Jesus’s death and resurrection (ie. loved, chosen, forgiven, accepted, etc). Two out of three of the words I associate with her (ie. beloved and chosen) also fall in the list of what Jesus says about me. I guess you could say I was getting into character. Only in this case, I was getting more solid in my identity in Christ.
I want to tell it as a messy first draft because it teaches me grace.
First drafts are always a little scary because my readers see all my mistakes and weaknesses. However, it helps me focus on the process rather than the finished product which is similar to the concept of grace; it’s on-going. Mistakes will be made. God loves me anyway. Keep trying.
I want to know what being a godly leader look like as a woman.
I like Esther’s leadership style. She’s very team-oriented and big on relationship-building. I suppose I see her as leader because of her character, too. Like, I love her bravery and her humility, how it adds to her royal status, rather than take away from it. I admire the way she honours men and how she loves her husband without making him her whole world. I’m not Esther. Our worlds are very different but I do like how she does things.
I want direction and focus from Esther’s story so I can re-evaluate how I’m doing things, especially on my blog.
All I want to do is make people happy. I like doing that through lists of gratitude and storytelling. So, basically, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.
I know there will be more reflections as time goes on but here’s one more. And it’s perfect because it happens right after what Haman dies.
The king takes Haman’s signet ring right off his cold, dead body and gives it to Morty. He’s the prime minister now. Esther comes to the king weeping, asking him to revoke the decree. He tells her that he killed the man who wrote the decree but once a decree is written and sealed with his ring, it can’t be revoked. So he offers to let her write her own edict in the name of the king that allows the Jews to defend their lives and kill anyone who comes to attack them. On the day when their enemies were supposed to annihilate them, the table is flipped and “the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them.” They fought back and no one could conquer the Israelites. In fact, they gained a reputation that they should not be messed with after that.
What I love about this part is the king doesn’t take the battle away from Esther or her people. He doesn’t try to coddle her or hide her away so she’s sheltered in a glass castle. Instead, he gives her permission to fight and defend. He didn’t take the battle from her which means he didn’t take the victory away from her either. Had he fought the battle for her and the Israelites, they would have learned to let him fight all their battles rather than standing on their own and engaging in it themselves.
And I love that.