The Nobility of Esther
Our world seems to have lost its sense of dignity. Instead of using any kind of moral compass, many respond to ethical challenges these days by merely asking, “What’s in it for me?” As a result, self-interest has become the prime motivation in moral decisions, and nobility has become something of an antiquated concept. One is reminded of what Jeremiah once said of his people: “they do not know how to blush” (Jer. 8:12).
God is supremely concerned with character. He challenges us to be, “pure in heart” (Matt. 5:8) by, “hungering and thirsting after righteousness” (Matt. 5:6). God’s people ought to pursue genuine nobility. When Christians act with integrity, we hold up a light that all the world can see (cf. Matt. 5:16).
Esther is a model of nobility. Orphaned in her youth, she found favor with Artaxerxes, the king of ancient Persia and became his queen. Upon discovering a Nazi-like plot for the extermination of the Jewish people, Esther realized she was the only one who could save them. Let’s learn some lessons from Esther’s nobility:
She occupied a unique position — “She obtained grace and favor in the sight of the king” (Esther 2:17). Nobility begins with a realization of who we are and what we can accomplish with God’s help. When opportunity came, Esther was forced to face the fact that she was responsible to help. “The one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). We cannot be genuinely noble without first understanding our responsibilities. Jesus said, “for everyone to whom much is given, much shall be required” (Luke 12:48). Let’s all be aware of our unique circumstances and be ready to meet challenges that face us daily!
She struggled with her decision — Biblical characters are not presented to us as “superheroes.” Rather, we see their humanness as they struggle and sometimes stumble in the choices they make. Esther found herself responsible to save the Jewish people from destruction, but she would have to risk her own life to save them. Even Mordecai was somewhat uncertain in his words, “who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Faithful men and women of the Bible relied on God, but did not always immediately see the proper course of action. How we need to treasure the wisdom and knowledge of God’s word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) so that we can properly see His will in all things (cf. Col. 1:9-11).
She chose the path less traveled — After she contemplated risking her life to save God’s people, Esther sent word to Mordecai, “I will go into the king which is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). Rarely will we reflect the nobility of Esther in our lives when we continually pursue a course of self-interest. Esther was noble because she acted unselfishly — she genuinely desired what was best for the people of God. Nobility involves the kind of love the Bible speaks about in 1 Corinthians 13. It’s a love that gives without expectations, sacrifices without murmuring, and remains steadfast regardless of the reaction it receives. Nobility involves self-forgetfulness. Paul reminded the Philippians to, “have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). When we learn to forget ourselves and concentrate on the Lord and His will, we will be much closer to possessing the kind of character that Esther did. Our constant prayer as Christians ought to be, “Not what I will, but Thy will be done” (Matt. 26:39). — John Baker