Sign up for The Good Stuff

Our weekly newsletter filled with news, updates, and inspiring stories of how God is working in the Bay Area.

"*" indicates required fields

Sign up for The Good Stuff

Our weekly newsletter filled with news, updates, and inspiring stories of how God is working in the Bay Area.

"*" indicates required fields

This is a character study of Esther and Mordecai: two Jewish exiles during the reign of the Persian Empire.  They turned vision into action, fulfilling God’s destiny for their lives and saving their people.  This story doesn’t start with wealth, influence and vision—in fact it starts with none of those at all.

 Vision Starts With a Decision

At that time there was a Jewish man in the fortress of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair. He was from the tribe of Benjamin and was a descendant of Kish and Shimei. His family had been among those who, with King Jehoiachin of Judah, had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. This man had a very beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. When her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter.

Esther 2:5-7 NLT

Mordecai was a Jewish exile and tragedy had stolen Esther’s parents away when she was young, but God still had a plan for them both.  And though Mordecai could have seen Esther as a burden, but instead he embraced her as his own daughter.  A vision often starts with a simple decision to care.

When life looks grim, God puts people around us to help us, teach us, and guide us to our destiny.  Though they didn’t yet see it, Mordecai was that guide for Esther and Esther was that guide for Mordecai.

Who has God put in our life to give you vision for where God is guiding your life?

Who are you meant to give vision to?

As a result of the king’s decree, Esther, along with many other young women, was brought to the king’s harem at the fortress of Susa and placed in Hegai’s care. Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.

10 Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do so. 11 Every day Mordecai would take a walk near the courtyard of the harem to find out about Esther and what was happening to her.

16 Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter of the seventh year of his reign. 17 And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti. 18 To celebrate the occasion, he gave a great banquet in Esther’s honor for all his nobles and officials, declaring a public holiday for the provinces and giving generous gifts to everyone.

19 Even after all the young women had been transferred to the second harem and Mordecai had become a palace official, 20 Esther continued to keep her family background and nationality a secret. She was still following Mordecai’s directions, just as she did when she lived in his home.

Esther 2:8-11, 16-20 NLT

Esther was brought, with thousands of other women, to King Xerxes for him to pick a new Queen.  Becoming a part of the emperor’s harem was not the ideal situation for Esther.  Yet she trusted Mordecai and kept secret her nationality.  Mordecai was looking at the bigger picture—he saw that something was happening of importance.  The Jews were a minority and often looked down upon.  Esther being close to the king was a good thing. She ended up being selected Queen, becoming the most influential woman in the empire.

Who has God put in your life that looks after you and cares for you?  Do you listen to them when they try to help you?

Who has he put in your life to look after and care for?

Five years later a man named Haman, who was the highest official and hated Mordecai, received the approval from King Xerxes to kill all the Jews throughout the empire (Esther 3:5-15).

The Moment Of Clarity

4 When Mordecai learned about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail. He went as far as the gate of the palace, for no one was allowed to enter the palace gate while wearing clothes of mourning. And as news of the king’s decree reached all the provinces, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in burlap and ashes.

When Queen Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was deeply distressed. She sent clothing to him to replace the burlap, but he refused it. Then Esther sent for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs who had been appointed as her attendant. She ordered him to go to Mordecai and find out what was troubling him and why he was in mourning. So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the square in front of the palace gate.

Mordecai told him the whole story, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the decree issued in Susa that called for the death of all Jews. He asked Hathach to show it to Esther and explain the situation to her. He also asked Hathach to direct her to go to the king to beg for mercy and plead for her people. So Hathach returned to Esther with Mordecai’s message.

Esther 4:4-9 NLT

Mordecai not only cared for Esther, but for all his people.  He saw his opportunity to influence Esther and he went all in. He was vulnerable and asked for help and made it obvious the distress he was in.

10 Then Esther told Hathach to go back and relay this message to Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.” 12 So Hathach gave Esther’s message to Mordecai.

13 Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. 14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” 17 So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Esther 4:10-17 NLT

Mordecai had a specific vision of Esther saving all of the Jewish people.  He believed that God’s plan was to rescue the Jews one way or another.  He believed that Esther was the one to make it happen.  Mordecai was not afraid to tell Esther the hard truth and challenge her to care. She was scared. She knew she may die. She trusted Mordecai and made a decision to believe that God had made her Queen for a reason.

What vision has God been trying to get you to see?

Who has God been using around you to help you see clearly?

What sacrifice must you make to help those around you?

Turning Vision Into Action

1 On the third day of the fast, Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace, just across from the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court, he welcomed her and held out the gold scepter to her. So Esther approached and touched the end of the scepter.

Then the king asked her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom.

Esther 5:1-3 NLT

The king gave her all she requested. Esther conquered her fear, risked her life and saved her people.  Esther and Mordecai’s destinies were intertwined.  Both were meant to save the Jewish people, but each had a different roll.  God used Mordecai to care for, direct and inspire Esther.  And God used Esther to influence the king to care.

Who has God put in your life inspire to make a big impact on the lives around them?

What lives has God put around you to influence and change?

What fears do you need to overcome and what risks do you need to take  in order to inspire and influence?

Get A Vision: Read the book of Esther for yourself and pray asking God to show you who he wants you to become and who’s lives you are meant to change.

Written by

Nick Straw

Nick Straw is a Santa Clara University alum, and is passionate about ministry and community service work in the San Francisco Bay Area.