She was treated like a queen by him when he first met her. He was enthralled by her beauty and yet, there was more to this girl than her outward appearance. She must have had a certain grace about her, a certain charm for him to have chosen her over all the other beautiful women in the kingdom. And so they married. Their marriage was a joyful celebration. The king declared that day a holiday, and the whole kingdom celebrated with them.
But now, here she is, 5 years later, letting her cousin know it’s been a whole month since her husband has even wanted to talk to her.
What We Can Learn From Esther
1. She felt scared. The king hadn’t called her in 30 days. (Esther 4:11) Who had the king seen during the past month? Possibly any number of available concubines. Esther could have very legitimately feared that she just didn’t interest him any more – now that there were new, beautiful young women around. The King, Xerxes, was also known for his volatile temper. Apparently this man had even ordered the sea to receive 300 lashes. The crime? The sea had destroyed a bridge he had his men build.* Esther was probably always a bit scared when she spoke to him, never quite knowing how he would react.
Child of God, possibly you are experiencing a rough time in your own marriage. It seems your husband isn’t interested in talking to you anymore. You feel you can’t compete with the images of beautiful women that are so easily accessible. You may, like Esther, be afraid to talk to your husband. His temper may scare you as well. Know that God loves you and your husband. He knows your fears and has promised to always be with you. Deut 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
2. She didn’t give up. When she heard about the terrible doom facing her people, she let her cousin know her relationship with Xerxes wasn’t going very well, and she insinuated that she didn’t have much hope. But, she made plans to persevere in the situation anyway, for the sake of the children of Israel.
Child of God, if you are in a difficult marriage, don’t give up! It is always the children who suffer the most when marriages break apart. For their sake, persevere! Malachi 2:15-16 “Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring . . . I hate divorce, says the Lord God of Israel . . .”
3. She and her closest friends fasted. Esther 4:16 says, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me . . . I and my maids will fast as you do.” Desperate times call for desperate measures. For the sake of her people, the children of Israel, she needed to bridge the gap with this difficult man. She knew she couldn’t do it in her own strength, so she asked her maids and the Jews of Susa to fast for her, to seek the Lord’s favor.
Child of God, if you are in a troubled marriage, God is calling you to bridge the gap with the man in your life, for the sake of your own children. Consider setting a day aside to fast and pray for your marriage. Ask your closest friends if they would be willing to fast and pray for you that day as well.
4. She spoke to him with gentleness, grace, and humility. When Esther finally got the chance to speak to Xerxes, notice what she didn’t say. She didn’t say, “Honey, you’ve barely said 2 words to me this month!” She didn’t say, “I’m going through a real problem here, and you don’t even notice!” She didn’t say, “What kind of a man are you? Never around for your family!” Esther spoke with gentleness and tact. She didn’t say all that was on her mind. She merely said, (Esther 5:4) “Let the king . . . come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.”
Child of God, may God grant you his supernatural power to speak in a gentle way with your husband. The way we use our words is so important to God. James 3:9 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” Philippians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
5. She prepared a nice evening for him. Her mind wasn’t on what she needed. Esther’s mind was on what would please her husband, and that meant good food and good entertainment. We know that she prepared a banquet for him, so she must have put a lot of time and thought into making it a nice evening for him.
Child of God, if you are in a troubled marriage, this may be especially hard for you to do, but consider planning a special evening for you and your husband. Plan to do the things he will enjoy; put his desires first. Philippians 2:3b “. . . in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
6. She waited for the right moment to bring up the problem. The king could definitely tell something was wrong, and after being well fed and entertained, was mentally ready to discuss the subject. How difficult this must have been for her – to wait patiently for the right time to bring up the subject with this man – this man who hadn’t seen her in a whole month or even noticed her pain! But by waiting for the right moment, she was ensuring that he really was ready to talk about the subject, and that he was ready to listen to her.
Child of God, ask the Lord to help you to know when to bring up issues with your husband. That way you’ll know he is ready to talk and ready to listen. Proverbs 10:13 “Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning.” Proverbs 10:19 “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”
How did it end for Esther?
Scripture doesn’t tell us how it ended for Esther and Xerxes, but we do know how it ended for the children of Israel. God brought about a great deliverance. The feast of Purim is still celebrated by Jews all over the world every March to commemorate this miracle.
How will it end in your case? I can’t say, but I do know that God loves you, your husband, and your children. He desires to bring about a great change in your home as well. Healing a broken marriage is a long, hard road. But following Esther’s example may be a good first step.
* This note is listed in my Zondervan NIV Student Bible.
Copyright July 14, 2011 by Gwen Fredette
The book of Esther can be found in the Bible.
All Scripture Taken from the Holy Bible NIV (New International Version)