6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Esther, Pt. 4


Lucy asked Charlie Brown as they were walking along: “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 asked her brother Linus, who was busy sucking his thumb and holding his blanket, for his opinion: “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!’

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.” Sensing something was wrong, Lucy finally putting the question that still bothered her: “What are others put here for?”

Esther could not complain about her life so far. In the past, 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 Queen of the land and had 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 1, Mordecai in chapter 2 and Haman in chapter 3. Chapter 4 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.

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.

A well-known leader of the Scottish Church once said to Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China and the founder of China Inland Mission (now OMF): “ You must often be conscious of the wonderful way God has prospered you in the C.I.M. I doubt if any man living has had a greater honor.”

Hudson replied in a quiet manner: “I do not look upon it in that way. Do you know I sometimes think that God must have been looking for some one small enough and weak enough for Him to use, so that all the glory might be His, and that He found me.” http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/hudsontaylor/hudsontaylorv2/hudsontaylorv218.htm

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 seemed to be 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 – time, attention and guidance - so that she could blossom. They 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.

The news that had gotten from bad to worse did not escape her. There was chaos, confusion and crying all around. Turmoil, terror and tears were everywhere. She heard about pain, panic and persecution in the streets, especially on the home front. As in the Chinese culture, putting on sackcloth 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 was “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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