Lesson Twenty Four


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Memory Verse: Romans 8:31
Further Study: Esther 3-10; Prophets and Kings, 600-606; The Bible Story, vol. 6, pp. 138-158

I once had a boss who was a strong Christian and fairly easy to work for, but he had one quirk. In the afternoons, his time of most concentration, he didn’t want to be disturbed. He always worked with his door open, giving the deceptive appearance of being welcoming, but woe to the one that interrupted the inner sanctum. Yet sometimes there were questions that simply couldn’t wait. We in the office dubbed these the “golden scepter” moments. You’d whisper a prayer and then stand in the doorway hoping for a smile and not a scowl.

You’d whisper a prayer and then stand in the doorway hoping for a smile and not a scowl. 

Of course, we were referencing the story found in Esther. It’s her moment of transformation from the beautiful girl to the woman dressed in royal robes standing in authority. Only referenced once thus far in the book as “Queen Esther,” from this moment on her title is given 14 more times. 

Esther did not treat this life and death moment lightly. For three days, she fasted along with her maids and the rest of the Jews in Susa. While the Bible does not reveal this, we can assume the fasting was accompanied by prayer. While God’s name is not mentioned, we can suppose these pleas were to Him to save the life of the Jewish people. When Esther emerged from her fast dressed in her royal robes, she walked out not only as queen, but now also a Jew. In a short time, she would reveal what had been hidden thus far and identify with her people. She would die either by appearing in court uninvited or by Haman’s edict. Without God’s intervention, it was a lose-lose situation. But the story ends well—the golden scepter is offered, and Esther is saved.

Without God’s intervention, it was a lose-lose situation. 

While this story may seem more like something of a school play, we miss an important point if we leave it there without some contemporary application. As in Esther’s story, there is a King. However, this King sits much higher than on an earthly throne. This King is righteous, blameless, and holy. To enter His throne room, the sinner, like Esther, faces certain death. But He has prepared a way. Esther took three days to prepare by fasting and prayer. Jesus, in three days, endured the cross and was resurrected from the dead. Now Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father so when the sinner walks in, dressed in rags, eyes cast downward, the golden scepter is ready. Grace is extended, but this time in the form of a cross. In faith, the sinner reaches out to touch the scepter. No longer rags but a robe of righteousness; no longer death, but salvation. 

Rejoice! We are renewed. 

Digging Deeper 

Some interesting facts from the book of Esther:

  • It is the only book in the Bible where God’s name is not mentioned.
  • It is one of only two books named after a woman (the other is Ruth).
  • When Haman shows up in the story, Esther has been queen for five years.
  • Some manuscripts believe God’s name is in the book because of the phrase found in Esther 5:4: “Let the king . . . come today.” Some manuscripts capitalize the first letters of each word in this phrase, which coincidentally (or not) spell out the name, Yahweh (YHWH)
  • Some rabbinic traditions list Esther as one of the four most beautiful women in the world. The list includes Sarah, Rahab, and Abigail (wife of David).

Making it Real

This year (2023) the Jewish holiday, Purim, established by Queen Esther, began at sundown on March 5 and ended March 6. Purim is celebrated by having a festive meal, giving gifts of food to friends, and supporting those in need. During the meal, the story of Esther is told to remember how God provided for the safety of the Jewish people. Why don’t you pick one to do this week or do all three?

  • Enjoy a fun meal as a family. Take turns going around the table telling the story of Esther.
  • Bake something to deliver to friends or buy some fruit to distribute.
  • Pick a charity and offer a donation that will help people or animals in need.

Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.


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