By Russ Ramsey
I’m surprised when I find someone who’s never seen The Princess Bride. I’m embarrassed for them, actually. And I always feel a certain responsibility to make sure they remedy this oversight. Why? Because The Princes Bride is a perfect story, one where nothing is wasted. It has everything: pirates, sword fighting, giants, power-struggles, true love, and rodents of unusual size. Everything.
Esther’s story is perfect too. It has everything. A proud king. A defiant queen. An assassination attempt. An ambitious, venomous second-in-command. A seventy-five-foot gallows in the heart of town, built especially for the sage-like guardian of the beautiful orphan girl who would become queen of the land. Esther has quite a story.
In the book of Esther, we read about Ahasuerus and his rule over Persia, but Esther’s story runs much deeper and higher. Even though God is not mentioned by name in this book, He is the supreme King and hero of this story. His providential hand leads His people from certain destruction to the kind of safety found only in being the object of the King of king’s affection.
You should read the book of Esther in one sitting. Enjoy the twists and turns. Appreciate the irony laced throughout. Feel the fear and trembling Mordecai, Esther, and their people must have known as Haman’s gallows took shape. The story itself deserves our appreciation for its complexity, drama, romance, outcome, and humor. (See Esther 6:1–11 for an example of tragic comedy in Scripture. I dare you not to smile, just a little.)
One of the things I find most refreshing about Esther’s story is her lack of ambition. Greatness is thrust upon her. She finds herself in positions where she has an influential voice, and she uses it. But she never seeks her own glory. She seeks truth and then advocates for the truth to be known.
A story like Esther’s speaks to a bigger truth than the state of Persian politics. She speaks to the truth the apostle Paul describes in his letter to the Corinthians: God uses what is seemingly insignificant and despised in the world to bring to nothing that which is exalted over God (1 Corinthians 1:27–29).
Esther’s life story is a double-edged sword. It is a rebuke to those who are tempted to scheme and plot their way to greatness. But it’s also a story with this reassurance: No matter how powerful the schemes of man may appear, God can topple them in a moment with ease. May that sword cut us both ways for the glory of God.
Written by Russ Ramsey