The Old Testament foreshadows the New. As an example, we know that Joseph was a type of Christ, the Second Adam, in that he was a beloved son, yet was rejected by his brothers and cast out into exile and suffering. But like Christ his suffering became his exaltation, and filled with forgiveness, he invites his brothers to share in his blessings.
Just as Joseph was a type of Christ, so Esther was a type of Mary, the Mother of God and the Second Eve. The great Esther had the ear of the king, and with her ability to go freely before the throne, she was able to intercede on the behalf of her suffering people. It was her compassion and wisdom as intercessor that saved her people from certain death. And so it is with our
Mother, who beginning at the Wedding Feast of Cana, listens to our perils, and goes before the throne of the King of Kings and intercedes for us.
But not only is this little known Old Testament saint important to us theologically; we also need to learn to live like her,
in our relationship to God, and to others. She has much to teach us.
When looking at most Protestant Bible commentaries on the Book of Esther, they will state that it is the only book in the entire canon of Scripture that does not directly mention the name of God or have any prayer in it. This is typically followed up with explanations of her moral character, and that she acted in a godly fashion, though unstated. They will say that she was a brilliant strategist, a persuasive speaker, and a courageous risk taker. In my opinion, sometimes they make it sound as though her strength was entirely her own.
We get a very different perspective of her, however, when we look at the Greek Septuagint version of the book, and it is this perspective of her that we need to cultivate for ourselves, and our own spiritual growth. Now I don't have the space to go into what the Septuagint is, but just do a quick web search of Septuagint Esther and you can find the translation I am looking at, with the important chapters that are ommitted from most Protestant Bibles.
In this version we do not see the confident queen going before men, assured of her own power. Instead we read: "And Esther the queen, seized with deathly anxiety, fled to the Lord, she took off her splendid apparel and put on the garments of distress and mourning, and instead of costly perfumes she covered her head with ashes, and she utterly humbled her body. She says in Esther 14:3,4 "..help me who am alone and have no helper but you, for my danger is in my hand." In verse 5 she recalls all the things God has done for her people, and in v6 she repents, saying "And now we have sinned before you, and you have given us into the hands of our enemies, because we glorified their gods." In v13 she says "Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion.." and in v16 she again humbles herself before God "You know my necessity-that I abhor my proud position, which is upon my head on the days when I appear in public." But in chapter 15, when it is time to go before the king we read "she took off the garments in which she had worshipped and clothed herself in splendid attire."
Here, my brothers and sisters, is how we should act before God and before man. I love the two faces we see of Esther in the Septuagint text. . In the eyes of man she appears wise and powerful in splendid apparel, but before her God she is in sack cloth and ashes. In the eyes of man, she is a brilliant strategist, a persuasive speaker, and a courageous risk taker, but before her God she is nothing without His aid.
It is often difficult for us to relate our faith with others, especially those who do not believe. We labor over what to say or what not to say, and so many times when we try to talk to them we end up doing more harm than good, despite the spiritual giftings God has given us. Do you struggle with this problem? Become like Esther. Humble yourself before God, become an Intercessor, and wear the splendid garments of strength and conviction as you have the ears of those whom you wish to witness to.
We must first humble ourselves, we must remember who we are before God, no matter what status we have in this fallen world. "And now, assist me who am all alone and have no one but you, O Lord, my God. Come to my aid, for I am an orphan
" Esther 15:11 Pride, ego, is the root of all sin, of which the rest are but branches. We have to remove all of this when we come before God, because indeed, we are orphans, adopted into the Kingdom by the Blood of Jesus Christ. And we must repent. Esther repents of her own sins, and the sins of her people. We too must repent, before we can be an effective witness to those who do not believe; because all too often we look at the faults of others before we look at our own. When we clearly begin to see our own faults, it teaches us compassion. We are a better witness not when we view ourselves as a saint, but when we view ourselves as "less than the least of all the saints." Then we ask for the right words, the "eloquent speech", the Holy Spirit will come to us, empower us to speak, when the time is right. He is the source of our strength, He is our splendid garment that we wear before men. When the time comes to go before those you wish to share your faith with, then wear those splendid garments of strength and conviction, of power, but simply remember that they come from God and God alone, that any gift or ability we have has Him as its Source.
Finally, be an intercessor. The Mother of God and Esther show us how we can be intercessors before the throne of God. Saint Monica went to the church every day for years and years to pray for her lost and debauched son, Augustine. One day, while weeping and praying, her priest said to her: "Surely the child of so many tears will not be lost." Her son went on to become one of the greatest saints of the western church. If there is someone that is lost in your life, lost, broken, perhaps even near death: take heart. Be strong in your convictions of the intercessory prayer. God will hear you. Do not give up. Pray without ceasing. I am only here writing this today because of the faith and intercessory prayers of my own mother. Like Esther, we have the ear of the King, He will hear us, and He will save those we love from death.
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