I’ll admit I’ve struggled sometimes to feel God’s presence or discern His activity. During times of heartache in marriage, job loss, and broken relationships (among others), I’ve felt like I prayed my heart out but saw few visible results. I’ve wondered why God hasn’t stepped in to situations that I know He can fix. If I’m honest, it’s made me question His nearness and wonder if I’ve lost His favor. But in God’s kind and merciful way, He brought renewed hope for victory through life lessons from the book of Esther.
By immersing myself in a Bible study on Esther, it has now become one of my favorite books—mainly for its portrayal of God’s closeness during an era when He must have seemed utterly absent.
I discovered some powerful lessons from Esther that have had a surprising effect on my prayer life and my hope. If you’re not familiar with this book of the Old Testament, let’s review some of the highlights.
What is Queen Esther Known For in the Bible?
I’ve seen Esther take a bit of a bad rap. Some say they don’t care for the story because they don’t find much inspiration from a beautiful woman who was in the right place at the right time.
Oh, but hold on! There are many more lessons from Esther than we learned in children’s church, and far more that we see at face value.
Esther: The Orphan who became Queen
Esther was a Jewish orphan being raised by her Uncle Mordecai. Because of some craziness that had gone on in the palace, the king was looking for a new wife and went out into his kingdom to round up some prospects.
We now term such things as kidnapping or trafficking. It was not a nice situation. While Esther’s beauty eventually earned her the title of Queen, she was in anything but the right place at the right time. I’ll bet from her point of view it was the exact opposite and in the spirit of self-preservation, she kept her Jewish heritage a secret.
The Famous Quote of Esther 4:14
Uncle Mordecai was true to his Jewish faith and refused to bow before nobility. That set off a nuclear level of rage in king’s right-hand-man, Haman, who convinced the king to sign a decree that would eliminate the Jews. All of them—approximately fifteen million people who lived across the 127 provinces of Persia, including Jerusalem.
In Persia, the decree of a king could not be overturned. Once sealed by the royal ring, an order was irrevocable.
Mordecai implored Esther to plead with the king for the lives of her people. Such a request had powerful implications. Esther would need to reveal her Jewish heritage. And she believed she had lost the king’s favor. He hadn’t called for her for weeks and to approach him uninvited could result in her execution.
Finally Mordecai reminded Esther that her position in the palace was no accident. He said,
“If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s family will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14, CSB).
This beloved quote from the Bible is often used. At times, I believe we all look into our circumstances and wonder if we were created “for such a time as this.”
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Esther heard. Mordecai’s words captured Esther’s heart and she mustered the courage to approach the king even if it was against the law. It would be no easy task, but her resolve was so concrete she said, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
I’ve tried to imagine Esther’s emotions. She’d learned of the plot against her people and realized she alone could prevent the destruction of the Jewish nation. For all of her years inside the castle, she’d maintained the profound secret of her heritage, but now she must remove her mask to protect those she loved.
Esther showed a measure of dignity under pressures few of us will experience in our lifetimes. When Esther surrendered to God and counted the cost, she chose courage and became completely transparent and vulnerable before the king.
3 Biblical Life Lessons From The Book of Esther That Can Build Your Faith
The lessons from Esther have transformed my prayer life. They’ve helped me see how God is active and involved in my life, even when I can’t see the evidence. There are three key points that have moved my prayers from timid to bold, from hesitant to confident.
1 – God Invites Us Into His Presence
Esther’s fear that she could be killed for interrupting her husband was not irrational. It was the law and it applied to every man or woman who approached the king without a summons. There was one exception, however, in that the king could choose to allow it.
If he were to extend his scepter to show his approval, Esther could approach the throne. Since the king was ruled by his own emotions, she had no way to predict how her day—or the rest of her life—might go.
In reality we, too, are separated from our Heavenly King. By our sin, our relationship with God is eternally broken. But through the redemptive and finished work of the cross, Jesus gave His life to provide ongoing forgiveness and reconciliation with God. Through Jesus, God provided restoration.
In the book of Esther, the king of Persia extended his scepter and invited Esther near.
In our own lives, the Heavenly King extends the cross of Jesus and invites us to draw near. We can approach Him, receive His love, and share our burdens in prayer.
2 – God Makes a Way
When things look bad and it appears victory is out of reach, unexpected breakthrough can happen. There is a common-day, two word saying among those of faith: “But God.”
I was buried in temptation, but God rescued me.
I was drowning in fear, but God grew my faith.
The situation for Jews in Persia seemed hopeless, but God made a way.
One night, the king couldn’t sleep. Some might have called for warm milk or entertainment from concubines, but the king of Persia began to read the chronicles of his kingdom. That’s when he realized something. Mordecai had saved his life years ago by revealing an assassination plot, and the king had never thanked him.
At Haman’s prompting, the king had ordered the destruction of all Jews. But here’s the plot twist—just a few days later he had Mordecai publicly honored for his act of valiant service to the throne. And Haman himself had to bestow all the honor.
This turn of events was the beginning of Haman’s demise and came from a routine occurrence (insomnia) that barely seemed worth mentioning. But though the ordinary God began a miracle.
Yes, God can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. He can orchestrate the miraculous from the mundane. Even when it seems He’s taken our eyes off of us, He can work miracles in the blink of an eye. He hasn’t forgotten about us and will use everything in our current struggles and knit them together for our good.Even when it seems He’s taken our eyes off of us, He can work miracles in the blink of an eye. Life Lessons From the Book of Esther
3 – God is Always Victorious
The events in Persia seem to be random, tangled, and messy. But as we watch things unfold we find many victories and Biblical lessons from the book of Esther. God did amazing things through Esther and He is just as involved in our lives today as He was for the Jewish nation that resided in the Persian empire.
Through our difficulties, God reveals His sovereignty. When it seems we face defeat, He brings victory and overwhelms us with triumph. Such triumph often look different from what we might expect, but it’s always better than we could hope or imagine.
Here’s what I most love to remember from the lessons from Esther: When our hearts hurt, God’s heart hurts with us. He is for us and He continues to fight on our behalf, even when we don’t see it. He will accomplish far more than we could on our own, so let’s invite Him, through prayer, into our lives and every trial we face.
I pray that we can all commit to a lifetime of devotion to our Heavenly King and ongoing learning through His Word. “Longing for God isn’t what transforms us. Wishing He would do something isn’t a life-changing exercise. We must commit to a life of seeking Him, building relationship with Him through time in His Word and prayer, and growing in trust that He will provide His best for every one of life’s trials. Victory is coming in the Lord’s perfect timing…” (quoted from Victorious: Finding Triumph When Hope Seems Lost (a Bible Study on Esther) by Cathy McIntosh).When our hearts hurt, God’s heart hurts with us. He is for us and He continues to fight on our behalf, even when we don’t see it. He will accomplish far more than we could on our own!
Other Articles on Life Lessons:
- How to Pray Like Daniel in 10 Easy Steps
- Powerful Answered Prayers (10+ Real Life Examples)
- 5 Life-Changing Ways to Pray in Spiritual Warfare
Most of us struggle to hold onto joy when life gets hard. Cathy McIntosh is passionate about helping you nourish your spirit and pursue your calling so inner joy becomes unshakable, no matter what. Read more from Cathy at www.cathymcintosh.com.