The Book of Esther 


“I cannot defend myself.”  “I have no way to protect myself.” “I’m unarmed and vulnerable.”

These words may sound familiar as we have heard them on the news recently, but they were the cries of Mordecai and Esther and their people when the edict was given to kill all Jews. It wasn’t just a news clip – it was their actual lives at stake. When governments block people or there is a perception that the law of the land is not just, people cower and courage sinks. This week, we have seen pictures splashed over the nightly news of politicians, students and even police officers – helpless, vulnerable, and shaken. That takes a toll on our collective psyche. In the middle of all of this I noticed the similarities to this very story and how many years later the animosity still lives. While I would like to address these issues, that is not the purpose of the blog so I will move on, but I recommend this becomes part of the discussion as you delve into the fascinating book of Esther.

It seems like a very violent and retaliatory book. It seems callous  to our Western world mindset. That is probably because our lives are not daily threatened. It  is hard to relate when we sit in our comfortable, safe homes and our military fights for us. The reality came closer as we watched North Carolina police officers shot in the line of duty this week. We hope and pray that “good guys” win but it does not always work out that way.  Not all of the world is at peace. I read a quote today from Golda Meir that said, “You cannot negotiate peace with someone who has come to kill you.” Now more than ever, we are stepping into the realm of possibility for how Esther and Mordecai may have felt. Without divine interruption or a “God-cident” they were destined to die.

While studying for the blog, I paused to pray, and the song Graves into Gardens came on the radio. It is very appropriate for this story! God takes the impossible and creates miracles. He responds to prayer; He answers fasting and intercession. Our heroes risk their lives, our heroines risk their lives. Not just in the movies but daily in our neighborhoods and states. Surely, our just due or part would be at the very least intercessory prayer.

Jewish Mordecai and Jewish Hadassah lived in Susa, the capital of Shushan. They for all accounts were peaceful people, minding their own business. An evil man, remembered for his inflated ego, named Haman decided to try to make them bow to him, to honor him and when they did not (because God was higher), he not only plotted their demise (hanging on the gallows) but made plans to annihilate their entire people group. Not just bad guys, or criminals but moms, dads, teens, and babies. His power grab was so intentional, and he was so thirsty for revenge he was going to wipe out an entire group of people – because they were Jewish. The hatred ran deep, and scholars tell us it was because the feud started years prior. It was an ancient feud between Saul and Agag, the Amalekite King. Samuel 15 displays the disobedience that was the seed for this story. Tribes, gangs, political parties, church or family feuds – there’s good instructions in these verses.

Instead of reconciliation, people took sides. Instead of forgiveness, healing and talking, people slandered, assumed, gathered enemies and the thing grew. We can imagine this large scale because of the Holocaust. What I cannot understand is that many have forgotten that dark part of history. Some have even denied it happened. Annually the Jews celebrate Purim – a remembrance and celebration of the events of Esthers life and yet people across our nation today have forgotten it. Jewish history is Gods’ history and Jesus’ history as well. Throughout Esther, we will hear that the “fear of Mordecai” was on them. What that meant was the people found out that behind Mordecai was a strong and powerful God who defended him. He could not defend himself – but his God, could and did! Seasons change, leaders may change but God does not.

There is no way possible to skirt around the stories then or the stories now. To remember (zakar) in Hebrew is to recollect and repeat something in order to prevent it from happening again.  IF that had been done with the book of Esther, perhaps the first Holocaust would have been prevented. It’s a book about a princess, hardly theology some may argue. IF we read the truths of the Holocaust and understood the stories it would have given insight to the current crisis in the middle east. The Bible is not just a religious book – it is also a history book and war manual. One that has worked through the ages. One that is filled with wisdom.

I’ll leave the current event debates up to the media, but as for the book of Esther – God saw, God heard, and God moved. You cannot read this book without acknowledging the God of unusual circumstances and providence. It was not serendipitous- it was God ordained. Some have even said the name of Yahweh is spelled out in the first letters of the Hebrew text. I am not sure if that was intentional or not, but I do know that you can’t read this intense book without seeing a great and mighty God through its entirety- He is everywhere for anyone truly looking for Him. “GOD – cidences” can be seen on every page.

I studied providence and sovereignty while studying this book and found that there are few mentions of either word, in the entire Bible. Yet, no one can deny that something was taking place in this that is, well, not human. What does that mean for us today, now? It means our times are in His hands. It means we were not left up to some cosmic soup to figure us out. It means He has a purpose and a plan– even when we cannot see it clearly.

Those who cannot defend themselves – should be allowed to, whether that is in regard to their lives or their defense. Innocent and fragile people should be protected from death and those who are aware of it should speak up. There seems to be some common threads in this story with today’s headlines. We can pray for the fear of God to saturate our country. We can fast and ask God to heal our nation and its leaders for three days. We know what to do and why. The only question is, WILL WE? Tomorrow is the day of prayer across the nation, and it is symbolic and powerful but what will move the hand of God like Esther did, is


pure obedience and seeking Gods’ face for its’  salvation. Now is the time.


What will history record of you, of me, our actions? Will we be remembered like Saul, living in partial obedience, or will we be fully committed and ready?

True, we can hide our heads in the sands and pretend we do not hear or understand. We can brush it off and some other person will step up. But surely, God will bring deliverance for His people. But, just maybe we have been born for such a time as this. Maybe speaking up for those who are silent is good. Maybe speaking up for those who are persecuted will also bring us salvation.

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14

Instead of keeping this book as a historical book or memory– how does it impact your life? Do you have influence? Do you have a position? Do you have a title, or reach, or wealth? Ask God to use you for His glory and kingdom purpose now. You, along with others, can be greatly used. While God is not specifically mentioned, we all fully understood what is meant when Esther prayed for three days.

That stirring in your heart, that burning in your chest, that heavy hand on your shoulder? That is the Lord prompting you to do what you were born to do in this hour, at this time for HIM. 

Stepping forward with you,

Renae Roche 2024