I’ve always loved the story of Cinderella. A poor, abused, orphan girl–completely separated from the prince because of her state as a peasant–is welcomed into the royal family. The wall of position is broken down. She is free to approach the prince, love him, and be loved by him without fear.
It reminds me of my story. Before I discovered that the prince chose me, I floundered as an unwanted daughter. I was lost and dirty. But Prince Jesus saw me in my ugly state, and chose to love me. Making me his beautiful princess, he welcomed me.
It was also Esther’s.
Remember? She lost her parents and was raised by her Great Uncle Mordecai. Then from her humble beginnings, she became queen!
The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen. (Esther 2:16-17, ESV)
But bad stuff was a-brewing!
Really bad. To understand just how bad, we need to remember that the whole Bible is one big story.
What’s the plot? Well, way back in Genesis, when sin entered the world, God promised to send a deliverer to restore his people. When we arrive at Esther, we’re still waiting for this hero to save us. And we’ve waited a LONG time! All through the patriarchs, judges, kings, and now we’re in exile. When. Will. He. Come?
And we can’t forget the other part of the Bible’s overarching plot. There’s a bad guy. The “Seed of the Serpent.” His goal is to destroy the seed of the woman (the lineage that will bring the deliverer). He wants to stop the Messiah from coming, to crush the root of Jesse, to destroy any possibility of a deliverer coming, and now, in Esther, it seems like he’ll succeed!
How? Let me introduce you to Haman, the king’s adviser, who schemes to “destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month” (Esther 3:13).
The serpent at work. If he completely destroys every Jew, there will be no lineage in which the Messiah will be born. God’s plan will have been thwarted. Do you see how this would be bad? Devastating. Someone needs to stop wicked Haman, but it doesn’t happen quite yet …
Haman writes the decree laying out his wicked scheme and seals it with the king’s signet ring, making it irreversible. There’s no turning back. It’s done. Haman has the decree written in every language and sends it everywhere!
And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes. (Esther 4:3, ESV)
This is going to happen. The serpent wins.
Unless a peasant girl who became a queen can save the day.
Esther’s the queen, but that doesn’t mean she can just waltz up to her husband and tell him what to do. In fact, if she enters his throne room without being summoned—she’’ll be killed. UNLESS he holds out his golden scepter to her.
There’s no guarantee he’ll do this. Early in the book he dispensed of one queen and picked from all the ladies in the land for the next. How easily he could find another.
If she approaches the king, she could seriously perish.
So for Esther to save her people—to preserve the line of the Messiah—she must enter a place of death. She must be willing to sacrifice her own life. And she is willing. She says, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
Hmm … Esther points us to Christ, doesn’t she?
What happens next? Fear grips the Hebrews all over the land. They pray and fast and cry out to God. Esther and her ladies also pray and fast.
When the time comes, they dress her in her best royal clothes. I can imagine how knotted her stomach must’ve felt. With every bit of clothing, every touch of make-up, she held her breath, checking each detail.
Dressed not as the orphan girl, but in royal robes—as the queen she has become—she enters.
And 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 that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. (Esther 5:2, ESV)
The king welcomes her. She “wins favor”—that means he chooses to bestow grace on her. She needn’t worry about the king’s wrath. She can boldly approach the throne.
Because of this favor bestowed on Esther, he allows the Jews to defend themselves. God’s people are saved. The line of the Messiah is preserved. And the people rejoice.
How brave of Esther to risk her life by approaching this mighty and fearful king’s throne, and we too can approach the king’s throne, but not with fear of being destroyed.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, ESV)
In the Christmas story, what is the king’s throne? Where does the sovereign one reside?
The “immortal, invisible, only wise God” personifies grace by appearing in a meager state. The humble nativity itself says, “Come. Don’t be afraid. You are welcome before this throne. I know you’re dirty. I know you’re an orphan, but in my eyes, you’re a queen.”
And they come. First Mary and Joseph, holding their son—yet at the same time worshiping the Promised Deliverer. Then the shepherds. Later the magi, Simeon, Ana and on and on…
Starting that first Christmas Eve until the baby in the manger returns again, his people will continue to be welcomed to the throne of the king.
You are welcomed. Don’t be afraid. He clothes you in royal robes, takes you as his beloved bride, finds favor in you, and loves you. Come to your husband the king. He will hold you safely in his gentle care. He delights in you, his beautiful bride.
How often do you “approach the throne”? Isn’t it amazing that we have access to the king? The door’s open, so go on in, bring your requests, talk to him about everything, just be near. He won’t turn you away.
Remember, he loves you like there’s no tomorrow.
Shine your light: What is your prayer routine? Do you journal your prayers, pray at specific times, or throughout the day or all of the above? If you have anything you’d like me to pray for, feel free to leave your requests in the comments or e-mail me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org