As I shared recently, the favor of God makes a huge difference in a person’s life. We can definitely see that truth in the Bible’s account of a young Jewish woman named Esther, who “obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her” and became queen of Persia against all odds (Esther 2:15, NKJV). This week, I’d like to investigate why Esther carried the favor of God.
The apostle Peter taught, “Be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). I feel that the grace and favor that rested on Esther’s life was in large part due to the heart of humility she consistently demonstrated. I’d like to highlight two specific ways Esther humbled herself, as they are ways we can humble ourselves as well.
First of all, Esther’s heart of humility caused her to listen to good advice. People who are prideful think they know it all themselves and don’t need advice from others. But this was far from the case with Esther.
When Esther was presented before the king during his search for a queen, she followed the advice of her cousin Mordecai who charged her not to reveal at that time that she was a Jew. Furthermore, when she went before the king, she could have taken any provisions from the women’s quarters with her, but she took nothing but what Hegai, the king’s eunuch, had advised. Later when she was queen, she listened to Mordecai as he persuaded her to intervene to stop an evil plot to kill the Jews.
In our own lives, we’ll never get to a point in which we know and understand everything ourselves. If we will notice, we’ll see how God places key people in our lives to help us by providing Godly advice. Indeed, “where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).
Secondly, Esther’s heart of humility caused her to prepare. Before she was presented before the king in his search for a queen, she underwent twelve months of personal preparations. Later, before she went to the king to intervene for the Jews, she fasted and prayed for three days and called for her maids and all Jews in the city to do the same. Even when she had the attention of the king, she waited for the right moment to make her special request to him.
These instances reveal that while Esther was extremely bold and courageous, she did not make rash decisions that would cause her to take premature action. Again, I believe this reveals her heart of humility. When she decided to intervene for the Jews, she could have tried to prove how powerful she was as queen by immediately demanding justice. But instead, she was humble enough to prepare in prayer first. She understood she would not be successful in her own strength; she needed help from others and grace from God.
Oh, how we can learn from Esther’s example! She certainly had opportunity to feel prideful; after all, she was the queen. But instead, she humbled herself. Where pride disregards counsel and preparation, humility embraces them, and that’s exactly what Esther did.
In Peter’s call for humility, he expounded, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). When we study Esther’s life, it is no wonder that she was exalted; she humbled herself under the mighty hand of God. We can and should do the same. Like Esther, let’s clothe ourselves with humility and let God have His way in our lives!