Week 7 – Lessons from the Prophets Cont’d
Day 4 – Esther: Orphaned – The Cold, Hard Facts: Esther 2:7
You may be wondering why we are looking at the book of Esther while looking at the prophets. You may also be wondering why we are looking at the book of Esther at all when the word “fatherless” is never mentioned in the book. The answer to the first question is: Because of the time period in which the story of Esther takes place – during the captivity and the times of the “minor” prophets. The answer to the second question is found in today’s post.
Esther was a beautiful young woman. The Bible tells us that “the maid was fair and beautiful” (Esther 2:7). It also tells us that when she was taken to the palace and turned over to Hegai, keeper of the women, that “the maiden pleased him well…and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.” (2:9) We are later told that “Esther obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her.” (2:15). The king himself gave her grace and favor above all of the other virgins that had come before him.
But even with all this, there was one thing that Esther was lacking – Parents. She had neither mother nor father. Esther 2:7 tells us that both were dead. It does not tell us how they died, though I am sure many have speculated. It does not say that they died while being carried away into captivity. It does not say that they died of a sickness, nor that there was a tragic accident. It simply says that “her mother and father were dead”.
We are often eager for the details. We want to know how something happened, or why something happened. We want pictures in the news or autopsy reports in the papers. We want first hand accounts and sometimes we even grab for made up accounts – we want to know everything. But when push comes to shove, for the child who has lost those parents the how and the why, while important, are not the life changing facts. Those things can help in coping with the loss, but the biggest reality is that their parent or parents are gone – dead. That word has in the truest sense of the phrase almost become a “four letter word” in our society. We want to pad it with pretty, ornamental words like “passed away”, “went home”, “left this world”. Nothing is wrong with using these terms, but the cold hard facts are that, that child no longer has parents. They are dead.
Have you ever considered that moment in Esther’s life? We see Esther the woman in this story: brave, beautiful, willing to give up her own life for the lives of her people. But who was she in that moment? What thoughts must have gone through her mind? Was she afraid? Was she hurt so deeply that she could not express what was going on inside of her? Was she angry? Did she feel the need to defend herself from those around her in the absence of her father’s protection? Did she wonder where her next meal would come from since her mother was no longer there to fix it? Did she wonder who would tuck her in at night, or who would hold her when she had fallen or who would guide her through life’s difficult decisions? Her parents were gone, who would take her up?
Psalm 27:10 gives the beautiful answer to this question, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” God does not change. He was still the Father of the fatherless, even as He is today. He had a plan for Esther’s life. He would not leave her comfortless, which is itself an interesting concept which we will look at later. But how would he carry out that plan? How would He care for her as an orphan? Would he simply drop food and clothing down from heaven? Would He build a house around her and fill her pockets with money? No. He already had a system in place for her care – it would be through human agents. The truth of the matter is, God does not need people to accomplish His will, but He chooses to use us. And the case was no different in Esther’s situation. God, as the Father of the fatherless, put it into the heart of a cousin to be His agent in Esther’s life. Did Mordecai have to take on the task? No, but what an amazing story the world would have missed out on if he hadn’t – How the world would be different!
Will you step out and make a difference? We are apt to look at situations, want all the details and then decide whether or not we should help. God never made these distinctions with the fatherless. He made them with others, but not with the fatherless. The cold hard fact is whether because of divorce, abandonment, imprisonment, war or death that child has lost a parent or parents. They are gone, and a tremendous hole has been left in their life. God wants to fill that hole and He is looking for people who will stand in the gap and point these children to Himself – will you be one of those people? Will you “have compassion, making a difference”? (Jude 1:22) Will you let God work through you as Mordecai did? Or will the blessing be given to someone else?
Up Next: Day 5: Mordecai’s Care
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