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Summary: Esther, Pt. 4

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OPPORTUNITY FOUND ME (ESTHER 4)

Peanuts’ Lucy asked Charlie Brown as they were walking together: “Why do you think we’re put here on earth, Charlie Brown?” Charlie Brown gave a simplistic answer: “To make others happy.” Lucy stopped and reflected: “I don’t think I’m making anyone very happy. Of course nobody’s making me very happy either. Somebody’s not doing his job!”

At home she sought the opinion of her brother Linus, who was busy sucking his thumb and holding his blanket: “Charlie Brown says that we’re put here on earth to make others happy.” The surprised Linus said, “Is that why we’re here? I guess I’d better start doing a better job. I’d hate to be shipped back!’

Going nowhere, the exasperated Lucy went back to Charlie Brown to check if things have changed. She said: “I’m intrigued by this view you have on the purpose of life, Charlie Brown. You say we’re put here on earth to make others happy?” Charlie Brown affirmed, “That’s right.” The disgruntled Lucy finally raised the question that still bothered her: “What are others put here for?”

So far, Esther did not have too much to do and could not complain about her storied life. Previously, when her parents passed away, her older cousin Mordecai took care of her, supplied all she needed and kept her from trouble. Presently, she lived in her royal castle as the First Lady and the nation’s, having plenty of maids and servants at her disposal. The first big test of her success came to her when she heard of the Jews’ overnight crisis and her family’s current plight. Up to now the Xerxes took center stage in chapter one, Mordecai in chapter two and Haman in chapter three. Chapter four is where we see Esther be the star and steal the show. How did she shine? Her finest hour was not winning the crown, ascending the throne, living as royalty, enjoying fine things and making herself youthful, beautiful or presentable, but making her life count and presence felt.

What kind of person and character rise to the top and stay at the top? What mental, spiritual and emotional preparation are needed to meet the challenges there?

Remember Where You Were From

4:1 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes. 4 When Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. (Est 4:1-4)

A famous organist was giving a recital in a church. The organ, not powered by electricity; had to be pumped by hand. A young boy was engaged to do this for the occasion. Everything was going fine until the lad put his head around the side of the organ and whispered, “We are doing pretty good, aren’t we?” “What do you mean by ‘we’?” objected the organist.

A few minutes later, in the midst of a beautiful strain, the organ suddenly stopped giving out any music. Desperately the organist tried all the stops. It was no use. Then again he saw the head of the boy bob around the corner, a broad smile on his face. He said, “Now do you know who I mean by ‘we’?” (Appleseeds.org)

To her credit, Esther stayed close and true to her roots. Success did not go to her head. Even though she could not go out, she managed to keep in touch with her family in a unique and subtle way. Maids and eunuchs tell her about the latest news on her family members. The orphan queen did not forget where she was from; she kept up with what was happening at home. She appreciated the sacrifices others had made – their time, attention and guidance - so that she could blossom and succeed. They even stayed in the background and did not benefit from her success, clamor to see her or ask for a house, a piece of land or a position in the palace. Their reward was her happiness and well-being basically.

The news that had gotten from bad to worse did not escape Esther’s attention. There was chaos, confusion and crying all around. Turmoil, terror and tears were everywhere. She heard about the pain, panic and persecution in the streets, especially on the home front. As in the Chinese culture, putting on sackcloth (v 2) is associated with death and dying.

The NIV word for “wailing” (v 1) is not as dramatic as the original Hebrew phrase “cried a cry.” This is the first and only time this phrase is used; normal dramatic crying in the Bible is “crying with a voice,” specifically a loud voice (2 Sam 19:4, Neh 9:4, Ezek 11:13), but Mordecai had no more voice in him; he was all cries. Mordecai’s cry was unlike any other. It was not one characterized by volume and noise, but of stress and distress. He did not broadcast or bellow his sadness but he sure cried his eyes out.

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