Expectant Mother's Bible Companion
Author: Unknown. A devout Jew, possibly Ezra or Nehemiah. May be Mordecai.
Audience: The People of Israel
Esther was forced to go through a year of preparation to meet the king. It was a long process of beauty treatments and training to change her into an acceptable candidate for queen. Pregnancy can be and often is very similar to Esther's year of preparation. While pregnant, you are challenged to go through changes physically and socially to be an acceptable candidate for motherhood. You are judged (or feel judged) on what you eat, what you wear, how your body looks, what you decide to do when the baby is born and how to parent. Many women feel pressured into decisions so they can be acceptable to the world, so they look "right" in the eyes of others.
Esther learned her lessons to be concerned about looking "right" to the world well. When Mordecai told her of Haman's Plot, she didn't want to do anything to go against the flow. In Esther's defense, she wasn't actually secure in her position as queen. The previous queen had been banished and Esther by attempting to see the king without being invited meant she was risking her life. In the end, Esther did get up the courage to approach the king and saved the Jewish people because of it.
You have the power to influence so many lives through the way you raise your child. It can take great courage to go against the standards of society, but decisions must be based on seeking God's will. There is no one "right" decision except to love and serve God with your whole heart, body, mind and spirit. Esther is a great example of how to not get pressured into making decisions based on anything other than what is right before God.
Esther Plans (Esther 4:15-17)
Esther had a difficult decision to make, and choosing to go before the king was no little task. She knew her efforts were at the risk of her own life. Because of the seriousness of her task, Esther didn't just charge in to tell the king of Haman's plot. Instead she showed great planning and foresight.
She had the patience to begin with three days of prayer and fasting before approaching the king. She had the humility to seek the assistance of her friends and family by praying with her. When she did approach the king, she had the wisdom to demonstrate how important her request was by asking him to attend not one, but two banquets. Esther's planning shows her understanding of the importance of her work, and her faith in God.
When it comes to pregnancy, giving birth and mothering, the decisions may not seem as urgent as those that faced Esther, but we shouldn't assume they are any less important. God cares just as much about one of his children as he does all of his children, and decisions that affect only your family are as important to him as decisions that affect the entire nation of Israel. You should never feel a concern that is weighing on your heart is too small to take to God. If you are facing a difficult decision, perhaps following the example of Esther by planning with faith, patience, humility and wisdom will help you to be brave in doing what God calls you to.
Jonah had a difficult task, but was not willing to undertake it at first
Nathan had a difficult task in confronting King David
Nehemiah devised a plan on faith and work to rebuild the temple walls
Haman's Wife (Esther 5:14)
Haman's wife was among the friends who recommended he build a gallows on which to have Mordecai hanged. The great irony is that in supporting her husband in his hatred, anger and pride Zeresh was helping to design his death. In the end, she became a widow.
As Christians we are called to encourage one another. However that encouragement is intended to build each other up in the Lord. We are all responsible for our own decisions before God, and yet we also have the ability to influence others for good or for bad. As you become a mother you may find the most significant influence you have is on your own children. Although the influence may change as children grow, as a mother you should never forget the importance of encouraging your child in the right areas.
Job's wife encouraged him to curse God and die
James and John's mother asked Jesus if they could be the right and left
Hannah dedicated her son to God
Questions for Reflection:
1. Esther is one of only two books of the Bible that do not mention God by name, (the other is Song of Solomon) and yet the presence and work of God is easily seen. In what ways does your life demonstrate God's presence without having to mention his name? How can you pass that lifestyle on to your children?
2. Mordecai was not thanked right away by the king for saving his life, although he did receive honor for it later. In what ways does the honor of parenting come after the work?