Continuing Queen Esther’s story, we know that among Xerxes’ Persian kingdom were third-generation Jews whose grandparents had not chosen to leave when they could.
Xerxes was belatedly mourning for his banished queen, Vashti, and his young male servants suggested men be sent out to gather every young attractive woman in the kingdom (wonder if they volunteered). “And let the maiden who pleases the king reign instead of Vashti. “And the matter pleased the king, and he did so.”
Once again a kingdom-affecting decision depends only on what pleases the king (drunk or not) at any given moment.
Don’t you wonder if those capturing young virgins knew that some of the women were Jewish and considered to be the enemy of the crown? Or had Mordecai and his ancestors so assimilated with the Persians that they seemed no different? However much they did or did not practice their faith within their boundaries, you wonder if the Jews (or the palace advisors) knew who their enemies were.
Reading Esther 2:5-9 we see that Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, raised her. Intrigued by repeated words, I note that Mordecai had taken Esther…and later, Esther was taken by Persian authorities to the king’s palace. I wondered, are these two words the same? Far from it!
The word taken in verse seven (about Mordecai) is translated as brought, and nourished. Think of accepting a baby in your arms, and caring for it. In contrast verse eight’s word taken – (the action of the palace authority) meaning to tie, bind, or imprison.
This was not a sweet tale of Prince Charming fitting the glass slipper – this was kidnapping and captivity. Think of being “chosen” as Hitler’s next bride.
Many of us have been in captive situations-likely not as oppressive and life-changing as Esther’s, but overwhelming.
Though Esther may not have immediately known who the real enemy was, she had a communication with God that revealed who He was, and what right was. And what a difference that knowledge made.
Just knowing God’s perspective on what is right will help you recognize your immediate enemy—often disguised as was Xerxes’ enemy. His enemy? Trusting, following, making decisions based on…in other words, living by—emotion.
Emotion is used by God to confirm or respond to completed action, but emotion can also deceive. ‘Follow your heart’ is never advocated in God’s Word. Instead we need to be able to recognize our enemy, and confess when we realize how we have been taken. Humbling ourselves before God enables a Biblical response rather than an emotional reaction.
The more intimately we know of who God is, the more we can recognize those who are not on God’s side.
Point 3. Be able to recognize the enemy, so you will know when you have been taken.
Esther must have felt overwhelmed. She was captive of a hidden enemy. Is there any person or thing that demands your attention and allegiance before God or as God (comes first in your life)? Do you feel overwhelmed? Who or what is the enemy holding you captive?
With Esther we learn to identify the enemy by being in God’s presence (God’s mirror reveals Xerxes’ and humanity’s) downfall – making decisions and living by emotion and ego. Thankfully, it also reveals God’s character, his trustworthiness and his great desire to take us to safety.
By drawing near to truth, He promises the enemy will be exposed and routed.
Then, and only then are we able to “do what’s right” and make godly decisions that will properly impact our lives and those around us.