Most societies throughout history have been patriarchal, and ancient Israel was no different. Women certainly had value, but their opinions, like 30 inch shiny rims on a Toyota Prius, weren’t necessary. Men have long ruled the world, and most of the time they act like they know that all too well.
We find that because King Xerxe’s wife had an opinion and had been willing to express it, she was “removed” from her position (let the reader understand). He sent a decree to all the Persian world that women should obey their husbands and then went about the tedious business of finding a new wife.
Xerxes had a process for finding a wife that is akin to where it looks like American Reality Television is heading. He had beautiful virgins undergo twelve months of beauty treatments before they were “presented” to him. He would then sleep with them and decide if they had what it took to become his wife.
Esther, simply because she was beautiful, was caught up in this disgusting reality show. She underwent the beautification treatments for a year. When has another woman been told so much that all her value was in her looks alone?
When it came to Esther’s turn to be “presented” to Xerxes, I’m sure there had already been a long line of rejects, but God had plans to hijack this wicked plan with Esther.
Xerxes decided he really liked Esther more than any of the other virgins he had slept with, so he made her queen. If you have been following along up to now, you realize that for Esther, this didn’t mean much other than being Xerxe’s sex slave with very few benefits. She wasn’t even allowed to approach Xerxe’s throne unless he called for her, and that normally meant one thing.
In the midst of what is possibly the most depressing love story ever told, God smiled on Esther. In the midst of one of the most abusive and oppressive regimes in history against women, God chose to use a woman to thwart a wicked plan and save His people.
If you haven’t read Esther’s story, I encourage you to read the entire book of Esther now. It is one of the saddest stories in the Bible, yet God made a way to use Esther in a way unconceivable up until then.
Haman, possibly the same wicked man who devised the New Wife Plan, came up with a new plan to destroy these pesky Jews. His plan to annihilate them, and his very life, was to be undone by a woman.
Standing In Her Place of Intercession
Esther’s uncle Mordecai had to talk her into it, no doubt because of the mental conditioning she had gone through, but she was to be the one to save Israel from Haman. Mordecai saw what God was doing, so he coached Esther in what to do and say. This little girl who believed she had no value but her beauty was now in the place to completely change regional political politics.
If you know her story, you know that she did just that. Not only did Esther intercede for them and save her people from extinction, she set up a favorable relationship toward the Jews that would cause a subsequent Persian ruler to release her people back to Israel and actually pay for them to rebuild their temple!
God was good to Esther in the midst of one of the saddest stories of scripture. Esther was destined to be used and discarded by a sicko despot, but God had a greater plan for her. So greatly did God use her in Israel’s history that she has a holiday to commemorate her. Moses doesn’t have a Jewish holiday. David has no holiday. Elijah? Nope. But Esther does. It is called Purim, or sometimes the feast of Esther.
Have you been oppressed by men? Have you been used and discarded? Have you been overlooked for your true value?
God remembered Esther and was good to her. He can show you His goodness too. Would you ask Him to express His love for you now?