Using what you've got

A young girl; a trophy wife, getting what she wants by using her feminine wiles; someone only interested in the latest beauty secrets; a woman doing only what the men in her life tell her to, caught up in the power games of men, not able to think for herself?

They are all accusations that have been thrown at Esther as we see her, and on the surface they may appear to be true.

Esther: The Beauty Contest

The previous Queen had refused to dance the Kings attention’s when he wanted to show her off to his friends.  For her refusal, and the threat the men felt it posed, she was banished – that it should be seen that every man was master of his own home.  He needed a new Queen, and into that stepped Esther.

She won what seemed to be some kind of beauty contest – the prize to be Queen.

Fancy demeaning yourself to take part in this farce, to be beautified just to get to be part of the king’s harem!  Could Esther not have insisted on getting there in her own merit, by her capacity to do the job, her skills?  We would think so, but that was not how it went in those days, the only way she could gain access to the king was by going through with this.  So she took the route of beauty treatments and special diets.

We cannot know whether Esther wanted to be Queen, or if she was just doing what her Uncle wanted her to.  Whichever, it must have taken a lot of courage; she was given advice, but was all by herself with the King.  But it was her willingness to be in that place that led to her having the opportunity to speak when it was needed.

To cut a long story short, Haman, the baddie, was plotting to get rid of all the Jews – and it was only because Esther was there, in that place, that she was able to do something about it.  It was for this time, this thing she could do, that she had been placed in the palace.

We cannot judge Esther for what she did with our 21st century eyes, she did what she did – and it saved her people.

The Big ‘Should’

Perhaps you have been told that “as a Christian”, you shouldn’t be doing this or that.  Perhaps you are struggling with something that goes against all your natural inclinations, but you feel it is where you should be.  If Esther had insisted that she wasn’t going to be part of some beauty pageant, or wasn’t willing to become Queen, or do the things that the men suggested, where would God’s people be today?

The book of Esther is an interesting addition to the bible.  It never overtly mentions God, yet he is there right through the book.  God is in all things – and he needs his people to be there too.

The World Wide Web is my Parish?

Twelve years ago, I wrote my dissertation on, “The World Wide Web is my Parish?”  The internet was new, and whilst some churches were using it, there were those who thought the church should be having none of it – it was “the work of the devil”, and only used by those who wanted to use pornography!  But wherever people are, God’s people need to be, to be his presence, bringing his light into a place.  Now some parts of the church are being very creative of it’s use of social media – and Amen to that!

How do people see your digital presence?  Are you where others aren’t or can’t be?  Are you God’s presence there?

Or, more generally, is there somewhere or something God is calling you to?  Somewhere that you might be the only Christian influence?  Somewhere that might not be to your natural inclinations, but God needs you to be?  Is there an attitude God needs you to lay aside to do something for him?

  • Are there things we need to be willing to give up, to go into what God asks of us?
  •  How far is too far?
If anyone has any particular passages they’d like me to tackle, please let me know via Twitter @pamjweb or a comment on this blog post.

About bigbible

The #BigBible Project. Educating in the digital spaces, creating 'bigger Bible conversations' between #digidisciple(s). Look out for #bigread14.