On Sunday, we finished looking at the first chapter of the book of Esther. It’s a chapter that has given us a picture of the king of Persia and his courtiers. Verses 1-9 have shown us how pompous and ostentatious the king was. He threw grand parties simply to display “the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty” (verse 4). And verses 10-22 have shown us how easily angered and hungry for authority the king was. He wished to display his queen as a material possession (verse 11), but when the queen refused and disobeyed, he took personal offense and burned with anger (verse 12), almost like a toddler throwing a tantrum for being denied what he wants. We have also seen how foolishly satisfied the king was with ridiculous and absurd advice, how open he was to the influence of his officials, and how easily he decreed unchangeable laws without much thought. Even his advisors have been shown to lack wisdom, especially evidenced in their suggestion to stop the news of Queen Vashti’s rebellion from spreading throughout the kingdom by proclaiming a hasty edict across the entire Persian Empire (verses 19-20). Oh, the irony!
Such is the kind of king, court, and kingdom that Mordecai and Esther will be up against later in the narrative. It’s a ruling class that is power hungry, vain, thoughtless, and unwise. There is an element of comical silliness in the king’s court. But worse than their folly is how their power is wielded. It is utterly frightening that such a king—and such a court—has that much authority. Clearly, they were not concerned with justice (verse 13) but rather with the needs of the insecure king and his manipulative nobles. The Persian Court will not be an easy place for Esther later in the story, but, in God’s providence, that’s exactly where she will be positioned to make a difference. Everything in the narrative will depend on Esther and her ability to influence an unwise, pretentious man obsessed with receiving praise and deference from others.
Such is the kind of unstable world we live in, too—sometimes nonsensical, and sometimes frightening. But don’t let the ridiculousness nor the fright of the world keep you from being an Esther-like influencer. No matter where we are placed. our calling as followers of Christ is to labor for the sake of the gospel and the kingdom of God. Where God has positioned you might not be an easy place for godly influence, but if God has placed you there, I’m sure he has a purpose for you being there. So ask yourself, “Who does God want me to influence today?” Then, ask him to empower you with the Holy Spirit to be a Christlike influencer. May God help and strengthen us to remain faithful to the work of the gospel in our own unstable world.
By God’s grace alone,