When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king,
she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem.
She asked for nothing except what he suggested,
and she was admired by everyone who saw her.
Esther 2:15 NLT
On an episode of a popular television show, one of the main characters was talking about all her favorite childhood movies. She excitedly listed off all of them, remembering them as such happy movies. The only problem was, the movies she listed weren’t happy movies – they had very dramatic, sad climaxes to them. Her friends questioned her more and discovered that her Mother had simply stopped the movie right before the sad part occurred and proclaimed “The end!” Now, as an adult, she went back and watched all the movies in their entirety and was incredibly surprised, sad and angry. Old Yeller was no longer her favorite movie; she called it a “sick doggy snuff film.”
I remember laughing quite a bit when I watched that episode. However, it is not so funny when something like that happens in real life. All through grade school, I had heard the Biblical account of Esther. But the version I knew was the equivalent of what happened in my funny sitcom. It was a story about a gorgeous young woman who was chosen among all the other women in the province to be queen. The King fell in love with her at first sight and she was able to spend the rest of her days pampered by servants in the palace. She did commit several acts of bravery which allowed her life and the lives of all the other Jews in the country to be spared. However, in the context I was given, that seemed about a scary as a kid waking a grumpy, napping Dad to have him help get a sibling’s head unstuck from the dining room table chairs.
The real account is much darker.
- The King ordered all the young, beautiful virgins to be taken from their families. These girls would never be allowed to save themselves for marriage or marry for love. They were now ALL property of the King.
- The virgins were all supervised by a eunuch and given 12 months of treatments to prepare them for the King.
- At the end of this year, he would have one brought to his bed each night until he found one he liked enough to crown Queen.
- All the ones he didn’t choose would still remain his property, living with the harem in some remote palace location. Forever.
Yet, even with all the gory details, this strong woman of God hasn’t complained once. I would’ve been a sobbing, angry mess. She instead conducts herself with integrity, respect and obedience, remaining extremely mindful of the resources God had given her. The verse that displayed her attitude best, in the darkest of times, was verse 15:
When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her. (Esther 2:15)
What a powerful lesson for me, who hasn’t had to go through even a modicum of Esther’s plight. The night before she is to lose her virginity to a man she has never seen before and may never see again, she surrenders what little power of choice she has left. She asked for nothing, except what he suggested. Do I do that in my life with God? Have I ever prayed for simply nothing more than He suggests for me? What an amazing way to live surrendered through the calm AND stormy waters of my life.
Challenge: Substitute complaints and fear for faith and trust. When I encounter a challenge, ask God for nothing more than what he suggests for me.
Dear Lord, I am so struck by the integrity of this woman. So few role models in our world today display the grace and respect on an average day, let alone what Esther was going through. Please make my heart and spirit more like hers. I want whatever you suggest for my life, and nothing more. Amen.
Wow. I had NO idea (again) what Esther was all about. It doesn’t differ much from some of the major headlines we see today. Thank you for encouraging me to start my Saturday morning with you and God! 🙂
Jen – You are so right!! I get chills just thinking about it. (The bad kind, not the good ones.) It really puts the power of God in a tangible light, doesn’t it? When I realize that our world today isn’t so different than the world the Bible documents I feel so silly about judging the people in the Bible. They are the same as me.