Cinderalla Slipper from the movie by Disney “Cinderalla”
The canon of Scripture that we have today is a compilation of sixty six “books” gathered into one book and tells the HIStory of God’s chosen people through whom the Messiah came to earth, lived by the same constraints man lives by but did so perfectly and then gave His life for the sins of all mankind to pay a debt we could never pay and reestablish our ability to have a personal relationship with God Almighty as was originally intended. Within this book of books is a story of how God prevented the holocaust of the Jewish nation during the reign of Medes and Persians.
There are many styles of writing within Scripture: Poetry, epistles (letters), documentary (chronicles), history, laments, steamy romance, and even a “fairytale.” The story of Esther is one that has been acted out on stage, in theater, and in the minds of many a young girl. But her life was not a fairytale: She was forced to be tried on like a shoe…………………..
Hadassah, a Jewish orphan, lives in the land of Persia as part of the diaspora (scattering of the Jews during the Babylonian captivity) with her uncle, Mordecai, who took her into his own home at the death of her parents. Hadassah is a maiden (virgin) of incredible beauty. (Esther 2: 7) Persia is ruled by a young, fickle and spoiled puppet king we know as Xerxes but in Scripture is called Ahasuerus son of Darius. (Esther 1) Mordecai works in the palace. Haman, the Agagite, (these people HATE Jews with a passion) also working for the king, is the villain. These are the main characters in this saga.
You may have seen the movie One Night with the King, and it is a fairly accurate account of the story but what it fails to convey is the depth of Hadassah’s time out. A time out that changed the rest of her life. In the end, it was for the salvation of her people, but for her NOTHING would ever be the same. Only her faith in Yahweh would sustain her through some very dark nights of the soul. Let’s step into the sandals of this young Jewish girl and see how God used catastrophic circumstances to save a nation and elevate one young woman from obscurity to the world stage and a household name.
Our story begins with the king deposing his current queen and his advisors coming up with a plan that Disney must have used to create Cinderella’s story. He needs a new queen so he is going to gather up all the young untouched women of the area in search for a new queen. The king can be a kid in a candy store trying out all the delectables to see what he likes best. If he doesn’t like a morsel he can discard it and move to the next. In the story of Cinderella, the prince was using a shoe to see whose foot it would fit. This sounds like fun if you are the king or the ONE girl who the shoe fits on your foot. But what if you are the one discarded. Used but not good enough?
Hadassah is among the maidens rounded up like cattle and herded into the palace to be “prepared” for twelve months for their trial night with the king. WHAT? A virgin. A novice. A less than experienced woman expected to prostitute herself so she can win the coveted title of queen. If she failed to impress, she was not released to go back into the community and hope some man would accept her as “used goods” but she was sent to the haram to just be summoned back for an encore performance if she was “memorable.” This makes me want to throw up! This is sex trafficking at its worst. Who comes up with this stuff? Oh right, HELL! What if this was your teenage daughter? What if this was you at fourteen to eighteen?
Hadassah is going to lose her virginity, her self respect, and she is instructed by Mordecai to not reveal her heritage so he changes her name to Esther. During her year long wait (timeout) I wonder as she is “prepared” just what her emotional state must be? Is she like the movie and all starry-eyed and hopeful of being queen, or is she fighting the indoctrination of her “preparation?” Does she comfort her fellow “candidates,” or does she herself require comfort. From the scripture we see she has strength of character for we are told “Esther gained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her,” and “she obtained grace and favor in his sight (the king) more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head.” The shoe fit Esther. Can you hear the cheers? Call me weird, but I don’t. She has been compared to every other virgin. She has not been chosen for herself. Herself is covered in secrecy. Herself has been changed by preparation. She is just a pretty young thing on the arm of the king and her life is expendable. Remember, he has already banished one queen. Is she next? What must she now do to retain his favor? And, worst of all, she cannot reveal she worships the one true God. No Jewish celebrations. No reading the Torah. She is married to an uncircumcised man. (As a Jewish girl this is NOT OK!) This is now her life. There is no end in sight. She is now just a dressed up “escort.” She has “been put up in the penthouse, baby.” She is “off the street but that is just geography” to quote Pretty Woman. The crown just made it “respectable.”
Sure enough we read in Esther 4:11b the king had not summoned her for thirty days! The girl is out of favor. The haram requires less maintenance and now Mordecai is asking Esther to go plead with the king for her people because Haman has coerced the king into a decree that gives Persians the right to MURDER Jews and steal their wealth for fun on a particular day in the near future. To go unsummoned before the king can cost her her very life: to go to the king could well end her palace exile. Now that her people are in danger, she is in mortal danger. This is a no win situation.
So, what does Esther the queen do? AHHHHH, Hadassah does what she was taught to do her whole life. (Proverbs 22:6) She goes to God with fasting and prayer. Not her last resort!!!! I want to learn this from Esther. She went to the Lord to seek wisdom, ask for courage to do all she needed to do, and she heeded the words of her earthly father figure: “Think not thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this.
Excerpt from One Night with the King
Her time out in the palace became a timeout with God. Into His hands she placed her life knowing either way she might perish. She trusted her God. She found her God more than faithful. Her life was spared. The life of Mordecai was not only spared but elevated. The lives of the Jewish nation were spared. She found favor in the eyes of her king. A Jewess was elevated to the second highest position of the known world. Her story is still being told. The faith of one young woman was used by God to save the nation the Messiah would come through to save the world because she “believed well!”
What Satan intended for evil, God used for good. It has been said “God is never mentioned in the book of Esther but that He is all over it.” (Beth Moore’s Esther) His sovereignty shines. Do I fully grasp why He allows things to happen in our lives. No, not initially. Sometimes never. Only as we look back can we see His care and protection of our lives and the lives of those we love during the most uncertain time outs.. Esther did “live happily ever after” from what we know about the rest of her life, but I doubt she would agree that it was a fairytale. She was just a shoe to be tried on. That is demeaning. God alone made the shoe a glass slipper. God alone can elevate our circumstances from the pit of hell to the pinnacle of heaven. Look to Him! This is the old testament story of walking on water.
I Look To You by Selah