Monday, September 15, 2014

The Patriot

It would have been so much easier to pretend that she knew nothing, that she cared nothing, to sink into the life of a pampered princess, enjoy all the privileges of being Queen of Persia, and let her heart and soul wither and wilt. After all, what could she do? She was a young woman in a world of warriors and intricate power politics and her position and safety were totally dependent on the whims of a king who had already shown himself to be very quick to discard a queen who failed to gratify his every whim with blind subservience. She was, in her own way, despite the silks and golden dishes, the perfumed gardens, and the servants trained to fetch whatever she should desire, more trapped than the poorest free citizen of the empire. Life i8 the harem was a life of cushioned slavery.

But her cousin’s words haunted her. Partly it was the warning: her safety was not guaranteed. If the King, under Haman’s evil influence, had issued a decree (the unalterable law of the Medes and Persians) that all Jews in the realm were to be destroyed on a certain day, then surely some enemy would betray her (and a palace was full of enemies, whether one was aware of them or not). All men live under the shadow of death, all our safety is but a temporary respite from the inevitable. She was more deeply affected by his assurance that God would raise up a Deliverer; from the cradle her uncle had taught her the history of her people: the history of sin, fall, and deliverance played out over and over again. The promises to Abraham still stood; his seed would not be obliterated from the earth.  All of that was truest truth.

But what stirred her very soul, and demolished the illusion of peace she had tried to find rest in were the final words of his message: “who knows but that you have come to royal position for a time such as this?” Her elevation had always seemed the most extraordinary thing to her, despite her cousin’s confidence. She was not the only pretty girl in the world. But what if he were right? What if God had given her this privilege and status just so that she could intervene at this crucial moment (which only God had known would take place) to protect her people, God’s people? What if it was not about an easy life for Esther, but about preserving the race through whom salvation would one day come? What if????

There was only one way to find out, she would have to put the King’s favour to the test. If she approached him and he did not extend his sceptre, it was death, but death was only a heartbeat away anyway. And if he extended his sceptre and gave favour to her plans, then she would have the opportunity, in the right time and place, to make her plea, and the lives of many of her own people could be saved. Put that way, the choice was no choice at all. Tremblingly, prayerfully, she prepared herself to face the king.

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