This time, however, Mom decided to name the pet. This was a completely understandable and wise move on her behalf. Some of our previous pets were named Bunny Love, Cutie-Pie, Buttercup, Blackie, and so on by us kids :D
For this specific kitty, Mom chose the name Esther, which means “star” in Hebrew. As a kid, I really didn’t know much about Esther besides that she was a character and queen in the Bible. Veggie Tales, our favorite show, represented her as a brave scallion who primarily wore the color purple...But today, her story and life are much more significant to me. In her story there were a lot of events that seemed coincidental but were actually intricately orchestrated by God’s hand. In the beginning of the book of Esther, we learn that she was an Jewish orphan who lived with her Uncle Mordechi in Persia during the reign of King Xerxes (486–465 BC). Due to a lot of background events, Xerxes sought a new wife out of all the beautiful women in the land and chose Esther to be his bride.
Normally, this is where Disney would call it a “Happily Ever After,” but it didn’t quite work that way...
the King’s second-in-command, Haman, HATED the Jews because one in particular (Esther’s Uncle) refused to bow to him. Mordechi didn’t follow Haman’s orders because the Jews were commanded to bow to their God only, and no one else. Haman went behind the scenes and asked for the King’s signet ring so that He would have permission to publish an edict which ordered that all the Jews would be killed. Now, this included Esther, the queen. Mordechi sent word to Esther and told her that she must go to the king on their behalf. This was a very, very dangerous move. No one, not even his wife, could visit the King unless summoned. So, Esther had a choice: she could remain silent and certainly die along with her people, or she could go on behalf of the Jews, and herself, before the King. The King’s previous wife had been thrown out because she broke a version of this rule. Before she went, Esther fasted for three days from food and water and asked her people and maidservants to do the same. Then, she said: “If I perish, I perish.”
This part of the story stands out to me the most. First, she didn’t try to do this on her own. She humbly went before God and sought Him and requested those around her to support her in doing the same. She KNEW that she didn’t have the strength by herself. Second, she KNEW the responsibility that had been given to her; perhaps God had placed her in this position of power for this very moment. She couldn’t waste what was given to her and she couldn’t afford not to be courageous. Additionally, she KNEW the stakes. Can you imagine how frightening this situation would be? And yet she went ANYWAY. She stepped out anyway in the strength of her God and for the salvation of her people. This is perhaps what I admire most. She waited, prayed, and fasted, but then she made the decision to step out even though it could cost her everything.
The day came and she prepared to meet the King. She washed, dressed, and stood in the inner court of the King. This was it, this was the moment. When the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter. This was a sign of his favor and it spared her life. She approached and touched the tip of the scepter. The King said that he would grant any of her requests, up to half the kingdom. Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to the feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.” Esther 5:7-8 ESV
There’s a lot of things that happen between now and the banquet to enhance Haman’s anger towards Mordechi and the Jews. I don’t have time to write it all but please feel free to pick up the story here at Esther 6-7. On the second night of the banquet, Esther presents her request to the King on behalf of the people. I’ve always wondered why she waited until the second night to tell the King. Perhaps it has cultural significance? Or it was only one night? Or perhaps it took her time to gain the courage? I personally lean towards the last suggestion. Maybe she needed time to gather her thoughts and courage to speak against the King’s second in command. It can’t be easy. However, the second night she DID speak out and the King listened to her and saved her and her people. Haman and his family were hanged on the very gallows prepared for the Jews! Because of her faith, Esther’s uncle was promoted to Haman’s job and the King issued a decree protecting the Jews from any threat remotely similar to Haman’s scheme in the future.
I love the key piece Esther played in this story and I love what we can learn from her. One of the most interesting things I gained was something Mordechi said when telling Esther of the threat: “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.” Esther 4:13-14 ESV. God doesn’t NEED us for anything. He can accomplish His purpose through whoever He chooses. But, He WANTS to use us. He wants us to be a part of His story and to glorify Him. Isn’t that incredible? So, in the end, Esther’s story really doesn’t point to her but to the God of Israel. I guess I want to be the kind of person who is available and willing to do the will of God, no matter what. I know that like Esther, we’re not supposed to do this by our own strength but by being surrounded by community and strengthened by God.
So, I suppose the simple name of a kitty does have a lot of significance. And, by the way, your name does too. But more on that later ;)
Hi, I'm Abigail Dorn, the founder and director of Arts With Love.
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