Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this? Esther 4:14 (NLT)
Our sermon series and Bible Study theme at church right now is “Fleshing Out Love.” Have you ever read the Bible with this in mind? Recently, I put on this lens and read Esther. What an eye-opening experience. And boy does the lesson apply to our world.
As you read the first chapter, you can see what King Xerxes is in love with. He is in love with his wealth, his things, his pleasure, his power, his self-importance. Pretty much he is in love with himself. All of his actions demonstrate this. Because of this, Esther ends up in the palace in his harem.
Chapter 2 and 3 moves through the story and Esther is chosen as Queen. All throughout, her cousin Mordecai comes to the palace to hear word of her. He adopted her when his Uncle and Aunt died. He loves Esther and his family. He also loves integrity. When he overheard a plot to kill the King, he didn’t harbor bitterness because of what the King did to Esther, he revealed the plot and saved the King’s life.
Chapter 4 introduces Haman. He is also in love with himself and his power, his money and his position. Oh, and he’s in love with his belief that anyone that doesn’t believe like he does is useless and needs to be done away with. He acts on this and goes to the King asking permission, offering to pay for it and unfortunately, the King says yes. They issue a decree saying all Jews will be slaughtered on a specific day.
In Chapter 5 Mordecai goes into mourning and sits outside the palace gates in sackcloth and ashes. Esther hears and a conversation ensues. Mordecai demonstrating love for his people and his family asks her to help. Here, Esther demonstrates love for her own life and says that she can’t. She will die. Mordecai says “You are going to die anyway. This is why you are here!” Esther agrees and she goes before the king loving her people and her calling more than her life.
As you read through this story, I bet you thought of people that may have fit in every single role. Right? Can I challenge you with a thought? We probably all fit in every role at some time in our week. None of us is above the self-love that is demonstrated that caused harm to others. We do it every time we judge. What we need to get to is the sacrificial love exhibited by Mordecai and Esther. The love that puts others first always. The love that sacrifices what we think for what is best for human beings.
This is the love that was lived out by Jesus. I know I have a long way to go but this is what I want my life to look like. How about you?