Perspective 1- Barb Miles

The book of Esther talks of two queens – Vashti and Esther. Queen Vashti chooses not to obey King Xerxes when he summons her, defiling the customs. This was seen as a defiant act, in those days it would have shown disrespect of the head of their household. Esther, one of many concubines in training catches the king’s eye with her beauty and is clearly seen as one who obeys the customs of the kingdom. Due to her demeanor she was seen as one who was pleasant and was given attendants along with a prime spot in the harem.

Esther’s qualities were what separated her from the others. She was faithful to her uncle’s suggestions by following Mordecai’s recommendation to keep her family background and nationality private. When Mordecai learned of a plot to kill King Xerxes, he told Esther who in turn told the king but gave Mordecai the credit for discovering this news. Not one out for her own gain, was she?

A noble in the king’s court Haman, had gotten the king to agree to annihilate the Jews and left it up to Haman to decide when this would take place. But Esther risked her life by going to the king even though she had not been summoned, speaking up and asking the king to save her people. Due to Esther’s request, the king issued a decree giving the Jews the right to stand up as one and protect themselves from any danger.

The title of this chapter is “The Queen of Beauty and Courage.” I believe God gave Esther her beauty to put her in a position to use her courage to save her people.

Perspective 2- Pastor Ron

I wonder how many times Mordicai and Esther second-guessed themselves. Most of the people of Judah, now known as Jews, have returned to Jerusalem to rebuild their former lives. There were those who decided to stay behind and continue with the new lives they had established in Babylon. Mordicai and Esther belonged to those who remained behind and I wonder how many times they second-guessed their decision. In reading Esther, you can at least get the idea that they were still looked down upon by the general population. After all, Mordicai instructs Esther to keep her nationality a secret. Later on Haman wants to wipe out all of the Jews! Would it have been better to be back in Jerusalem with their own people? They would have no way of knowing that those who returned had their own problems. My guess is the grass is always greener on the other side, at least when things are not going to well. So, at times, they could dream of how those who returned were back in their homes and worshiping at the Temple.

There was no second-guessing for God. He had Mordicai and Esther right where they needed to be. They would be part of His plan to protect His people from extinction. Looking back as we can, we can see God’s plan coming together. On the other hand, while Mordicai and Esther were dealing with life, they had to ride the waves of good and bad times. In the end, they too could look back and see that their decision to stay was right in line with God’s plan.

Second-guessing comes…..well, second nature to us. We make decisions and then wonder if it was the correct one. Perhaps you should have stayed at the first job. Maybe it would have been better to take that transfer. We can second-guess ourselves silly, but in the end, God is still active in our lives and in our decisions. By his grace, one day we will be able to look back and discover God used us right where we were.

Perspective 3- Kelsey Rath

One word that I think of when I think of Esther is courage. For example, this paragraph from the book of Esther 2:8-11:

Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. She pleased him and won his favor. Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.

So really, Esther was taken by the king’s order (not wanting to go, having to go) to go to his palace to choose a new queen. It ended up being Esther. If I had to guess what was going through Esther’s head right then, I would say she would have to be stunned. I mean, she wasn’t even fit to be queen (not including that she was a Jew!) That’s when the courage starts to make its appearance. Esther had to trust that God would lead her and that he would be watching over her step by step. That’s exactly what God did. Now Esther is known as the queen of courage and beauty. Some things may seem unreal or impossible, but God makes them real and possible.

Perspective 4- Dan Petrak