Our Goals – Esther Part 5

Our Goals – Esther Part 5

 

It has been a little while since I posted something in the Esther series.  Those not familiar with the story of Esther can find a summary here.

 

This will be the last in the series on Esther for now, though there is certainly more to be discovered in this book and I would encourage you to continue studying it for yourself. For example, the way the author of Esther looks at Kingship, leaving us longing for a good and just leader, fulfilled in Jesus – or how God puts his people in the right place, at the right time, to achieve his purposes.

 

But what I would like to focus on in this last blog is our goals and how we go about pursuing them.

 

Most of us have a deep longing for something: a dream, or desire, that we cannot easily shake off. However, Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”.

 

Something that is apparent from various stories in the Bible is that God will often cause his people to wait a long time before their dreams and longings are fulfilled – and even then he tends to fulfill them in ways that we would not have expected or anticipated. 

 

Sarah was 90 years old before she conceived her first son. Joseph was a slave and prisoner for 13 years before being made Prime Minister of Egypt. Moses worked as a shepherd in the desert for 40 years before being able to free his people from oppression.

 

There are also many occasions in the Bible when people take matters into their own hands, instead of trusting God to deliver in his own time and way. Like Sarah who gave her maidservant to Abraham as a wife, that he might have a son through her. This caused much pain and suffering for all the parties involved. Esther’s story appears to follow a similar pattern – initially, she attempts to create her own destiny, but later she relinquishes control and allows God to work through her.

 

For one reason or another, Esther gets involved in a national beauty pageant, fighting against the most beautiful women in the empire for the place of Queen. But to win she had to enter the bed chamber of the King, unmarried to him, against the Jewish Law. If chosen, she would have had to marry a Gentile, also against the Jewish law, and around the same time that the returning exiles were committing to leave their gentile spouses under Ezra’s leadership (See Ezra 9). You can’t help but wonder why she did it. Could she not have escaped the pageant altogether and joined the returning exiles? Or, if not, why didn’t she just refuse?

 

Perhaps she feared for her life. Or perhaps she so deeply desired the respect and authority of being Queen, and the prize of being considered the most beautiful women in the empire, that she was willing to play the King’s game, regardless of whether it was pleasing to God. Like so many others before her, it seems she was taking her dreams into her own hands, and seeking to have them realised, whatever the cost.

 

Esther was obviously a very talented woman. She had great beauty, cunning and charm; and she won the favour of many on her climb to the top.

 

However, the cost was great. She won the seduction competition and sure enough was crowned Queen, but we later find out that the King then forgot about her for 30 days! Some spouse… Just trying to initiate contact with her new husband, could have cost Esther her life. Moreover, she was now unable to see her relatives, only able to communicate with them by passing messages.

 

But such is the mercy of God that instead of letting her remain in this situation, he gave her another chance to do things his way – to put her talent, beauty, cunning and charm to use for his purposes, instead of personal ambition.

 

The next time, she is not deterred by the risks to her person. She approaches the King and, instead of finding wrath, she finds acceptance.  The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will – Proverbs 21:1. Treading carefully and with discretion, Esther wins the King’s favour and rescues her nation from destruction.

 

If it was respect and authority that she had dreamed of, she is certainly given that – not just by her people, the Jews, but by the Church as well. It is her authority on which the Jewish celebration of Purim is established. And she has become known as a great heroine of the Old Testament, still talked about today. Any shame that she might have felt has been covered by glory.

 

Many of us have dreams that we wish to pursue, but God is asking us to wait – myself included. I know that to push forward and pursue certain goals at this time would cause more damage than good. I take encouragement from the warning in Esther.

 

Some may currently be pursuing something, but have a feeling that God is calling you in a different direction – at least for now – and to leave the path that you were on. I know how difficult this is. When we first got married, I was passionately pursuing a career that was bringing me a lot of enjoyment. When God called me to change direction and focus on raising a family, it was hard, but I have been richly blessed along the way. 

 

Perhaps others, like Esther, may be in a position where they have achieved a greatly-desired goal, but because they went about it in their own way, and not God’s, they are suffering for it. If this is you, take heart, God is merciful. He can turn things around, however desperate they might seem – if he doesn’t, it’s because he has a better plan for you.

 

FREE Educational resources

This is a list of some very useful and FREE resources I have found online for tutoring the kids at home. Please comment below if you know of any others.

 

www.allinonehomeschool.com   – this website has an entire free Christian curriculum consisting of online and printable resources. I have been through the ‘getting-ready’ with my eldest and found it very good.

 

www.Khanacademy.org  – this also has a free online curriculum which is particularly good for Math, but also looks at science and computer programming. It includes video tutorials and questions to test understanding. For very young learners you will need to couple it with written math exercises for their development.

 

www.gonoodle.com – this is a fun website full of educational videos to get the kids dancing and moving around.

 

www.Starfall.com – this is a great resource to teach kids the alphabet and number recognition in a fun and interactive way. To access all content you need to pay, but there is a lot you can access for free.

 

www.kidsofintegrity.com – This is a wonderful way to help children establish good character traits. I went through the lesson plan on attentiveness and found it engaging and helpful.

 

www.youtube.com – Of course! I expect every parent has discovered helpful you tube videos for teaching their children. A couple of channels I’ve found helpful are: kidstv123 – for alphabet and numbers; therizers – for bible verses. Generally you can find a video on any subject if you want an engaging reinforcement for your kids, just type to subject into the search engine. You may want to do this on your own first to check the video you are showing them is suitable.

 

2 Replies to “Our Goals – Esther Part 5”

  1. Wonderful words of encouragement this morning, as we wait on the Lord. Esther is one of my favourite Bible character’s & there is so much we can learn from her life. Well done, I have really enjoyed & benefited from her story through your eyes xxx

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