Role models are important, and we choose role models whether we think we do or not. So, it is beneficial to choose role models purposely. One Old Testament woman, Esther, is consistently held up as a role model for women today. What qualities did Esther have that enabled her to win “the favor of everyone who saw her,” and of generations who came after (NIV Esther 2:15)?
Esther is introduced to us first as Mordecai’s younger cousin, his ward Hadassah. We learn that she did not reveal “her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to” (NIV Esther 2:10). We also see that, when her turn came to go to the king, she brought “nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested” (Esther 2:15). Esther obeyed those who gave her good counsel, even though she was no longer under Mordecai’s direct charge and she was in a higher position than the eunuch Hegai.
Through Esther’s obedience, we see her humility. We also see her humility in the way that she reported the conspiracy against the king’s life – she gave all the credit to Mordecai (Esther 2:22). Her humility is further exemplified in her way of speaking to the king.
The Bible flat out states “This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful” (2:7). She basically wins a beauty contest to become queen.
Esther is taken away from her community and relocated to the palace, where she retains enough presence of mind and strength in the face of that chaos to become a favorite of the eunuch in charge of the Harem. And of course, there’s the classic example of the courage of her visit to the king. She goes to speak with him uninvited, which is punishable by death in Persian culture. She literally puts her life on the line. And she throws Haman under the bus while he’s in the room, rather than behind his back.
Esther is full of wisdom. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and a humble heart. She has the wisdom to work on a relationship with Hegai. She has the wisdom to seek and obey good counsel. She has the wisdom to feast the king twice before she tells him her request.
Esther has confidence. But not in the sense that she knows she can do anything, and is a “strong independent woman” – rather, she has confidence in God. Having her confidence in the right place, as evidenced by her insistence on praying and fasting, enables her to be an effective tool for God to use to save his people.
Finally, Esther accepts the place where God has placed her. She does not fight against being summoned to the court, but rather continues to live as she has been taught – in humility, obedience, wisdom, and most importantly, reliance on God. Mordecai tells her, “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). Because Esther accepts God’s calling on her life, and chooses to live up to her potential, God uses her to rescue his people.
This is part two of the three-part series based off of Esther