The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 1: Esther – Captive Slave – Beautiful Virgin
Prepare yourself to be used by God
We can either see Esther as someone who is so strong and full of faith and confidence - totally unlike most of us - or we can grasp the fact that she is just like us but put her faith in an awesome God!
Esther was a Jew. She had been captured as an infant and her family destroyed in front of her eyes. Her cousin, ‘Uncle’ Mordecai, had deemed it necessary to conceal their Jewish heritage in their new foreign homeland whilst still adhering to the strict traditions of their culture. She had been ‘protected’ from the ways of their local ‘world’ and had sufficient self-belief to keep herself in readiness for the future.
She had obviously become a ‘stunning’ young woman. Because when the time came for a replacement Queen to be found, although she was from a ‘humble’ family, her beauty – both outward and inward – enforced her selection to the tyrant’s harem.
That was undoubtedly another tremendous ‘shock’ to her system. She would have expected to have followed the normal progression of life and married a Jewish husband and established a Jewish dynasty. Suddenly all those dreams were shattered and she became the potential second wife of a very dubious enemy ruler.
Even having been found in those frightening circumstances, her resolve to be the best person she could be won her the attention of her ‘protectors’. As she prepared herself for the eventual meeting with the King, she did so with determined selflessness and with expectant success. She gave herself totally in order to please him. He was the absolute centre of her thoughts and plans. She was not concerned about herself – just making sure she pleased him.
What an attitude! What an example to follow! To stop being self-centred and to be totally Christ-centred!
Esther would say to us today...
Don’t fall into the trap of immediate gratification. Wait for God, His timing is perfect. Keep separated out to Him, for He is worthy of everything we have and are.
Father, I also live in a world, which is real and anti-Christ. Please help me realise that I am an eternal being and destined to live with You for Eternity. Give me the grace to keep myself unstained by the things of this world so that I may bring honour and glory to You and be ever ready to be used in Your service. Amen.
1 Peter 1:13-2:3; Psalm 1; Romans 12:1-8.
What are the things you do that help keep yourself Christ-centred rather than self-centred?
How can we make sure we become increasingly Heaven-focused rather than this world focused?
What are the areas of self-gratification that you need to beware of, which could detract you from being ready to serve God at a moment’s notice?