Many women were used of God in the Word, yet our knowledge of them is often limited. In fact, most Believers, if asked, could only provide the names and/or histories of a handful of them. And yet, God used these women for a reason. He had a purpose not only for their lives on earth, but for the generations to follow, and He is still teaching us through their testimonies today!
Join us as we continue to explore the life and calling of one of these women of God: Hadassah, the orphan who became Queen Esther…
Kingdom Advancing Women
Often, because there are few women in the Word whose stories advance over many pages of text, we take that as a sign that God does not, or did not, use women to advance His Kingdom. But that is simply not true. He used them to advance the Kingdom and blessed them greatly with purpose and promise…
From Deborah to Rahab. Leah to Abigail. Every woman who chose to follow God was used mightily for His Kingdom purposes… even when circumstances appeared difficult or dangerous, they chose to accept His plans. His purpose. They chose His ways, walking in faith, courage, hope, obedience, and love. They stood strong in their faith no matter if they were in a season of plenty or of lack. And as a result, God not only chose them as biblical examples of faith, but He blessed them and their descendants abundantly!
Hadassah, the girl who grew up to be known as Esther, is one such woman of the Word.
Go! Gather together all the Jews who are in Shushan and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast in the same way. Afterwards, I will go in to the king, even though it is not according to the law. So if I perish, I perish!”—Esther 4:16 (TLV)
In Part 1 of this blog, we explored the upbringing of Hadassah… the significance and meaning behind the changing of her name from Hadassah to Esther—denoting not only a new season, but a new phase of her prophetic destiny… and how, throughout her life (and even before she was born), she was being prepared for her God-given position as queen.
Yet, for Esther, not only to be prepared for her destiny, but to fulfill it, she needed something beyond herself. She needed divine, God-given favor!
“Now when the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her.”—Esther 2:15
While we discussed before that Esther experienced the favor of God, it is interesting to note that this favor only began to be regularly mentioned once she became known as Esther. When she was Hadassah, she certainly experienced some favor. After all, when she was orphaned, her cousin Mordecai not only opened his home to her, but his heart as well, accepting her as His own daughter! Yet, the favor that came once she took her first step beyond the home she knew as Hadassah… that was prominent.
That was God!
This divine favor was what allowed King Ahasuerus—also known as King Xerxes or King Achashverosh—to choose Esther over all the other candidates. But it also provided everything she needed to complete her God-given calling; the Lord’s perfect plan…
“The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king made a great feast, the Feast of Esther, for all his officials and servants; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the generosity of a king.”—Esther 2:17-18
Yet, despite the divine favor of God that rested on her, God allowed this favor to wane temporarily so that she might again see what the power of faith can do…
It was not necessarily because Esther did not still possess faith. But the muscles of her faith had required little stretching since being placed in the role of queen… and to accomplish the saving of the children of the Most High God, uncommon faith was needed.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The level of favor she had been granted throughout her time as Esther had been immense, but to have faith large enough for the assignment ahead—the evidence of things she could not see—the Lord knew she would need to rely solely on faith. Which meant she needed to be uncomfortable enough in what the future held to fast and pray, to stand steadfast in faith despite danger and uncertainty.
But what was the danger she would face? How could a woman of God set over a people as queen know uncertainty?
Not long after Esther came into her role as queen, a man named Haman experienced a rise to power. In fact, he was soon put above those princes who surrounded him.
“After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him.”—Esther 3:1
While we might think of a prince as someone in line to the throne through blood ties to the nation’s king, or, at least, the nation’s queen, princes such as Haman are not explained to have been so. That said, Persia was an empire, with many nations collected into it through conquests and likely uneven or forced partnerships. As a result, many kingly lines would have been brought into the overarching Persian expanse… and what better way to ease nations into this empire than to allow the once rulers of each land to maintain some portion of their former roles and titles.
Still, despite any confirmation to this view in regard to those princes surrounding the king of Persia, it is believed that Haman was descended from Agag who was once king of the Amalekites—thereby neither proving nor disproving this view. However, 1 Samuel 15 could disprove that this ancestor of Haman’s was the Amalekite king known as Agag, and Haman could simply be a descendant of another man of the name Agag, thus giving Haman his Agagite heritage.
No matter what Haman’s true heritage was, his rise to power did not bring help to the Jewish people living in Persia. And it was not long before the heritage within him, the whispered falsehoods of the enemy, and his own ego, prompted him to seek the death of every Jew living in Persia!
“Then the king’s scribes were called… and a decree was written according to all that Haman commanded… And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions.”—Esther 3:12-13
Now, Esther’s heritage was not known at this time, so she could have given in to fear and done nothing in the hope that she would survive… but she listened to the words of Mordecai. Even though the king had not sent for her, nor seen her in the past 30 days, she stood in faith. She, her maids, and all those Jews living in the surrounding area fasted of food and water and prayed for three days and nights. Then, despite the penalty of death for appearing before the king without being summoned, she presented herself in the inner court to face him!
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”—Esther 4:16
To learn about other women of the Word be sure to visit curtlandry.com/blog