That palace, it struck both fear and awe into the heart of the young woman passing near its gates. The opulence and magnificence of its halls well-known throughout the land. Not that she, of course, would ever see inside.
Nor did she wish to. For she’d heard tales of the evil, capricious king who marched horses over his dead enemy’s body. And who had beat the sea with chains, attempting to subdue it to better manners. A fearsome, frightful man. And she was plenty glad to keep her distance.
But strange things were afloat in the empire. The king had sent his agents into the farthest corners to gather the most beautiful young women into the palace. Seeking a new wife, to replace the one he had put away.
Yet, as she hoisted her water jug higher, perhaps Esther felt certain she had nothing to fear. “After all,” she surely reasoned. “There’s nothing special about me. And I am one of God’s chosen people! God is faithful, and he will protect.”
But as we know, Esther did get taken.
Dragged off to the palace and into the hands of a seeming mad man.
Queen Esther’s story is, perhaps, one of the most enthralling in all the Bible. The young Hadassah, from an ordinary Jewish family, became the Queen who saved her people from one of their darkest hours.
There seems to be a trend today among parents to want to treat little girls like a princess.
Which is perhaps tied to the princess movies out there. But is it wise to raise our our sons and our daughters to believe that they could (and should) have a fairy tale life of royalty?
- Will that prepare them to face the harsh world out there?
- Is that what we, as Christian parents, should desire for them?
- And will that prepare them to become God’s man or God’s woman for history’s most difficult and crucial moments?
Wouldn’t you rather see your son or daughter have truly regal worth – like that of Queen Esther?
With the courage to do right, despite all danger. Courageous enough to even risk their own life for justice and rightousness or to save others, possibly even changing the course of history in the process.
Just as Queen Esther saved her own people, risking her own life by appearing unasked before King Ahasuerus, stating, “If I perish, I perish.” Knowing that perhaps she had become queen “for such a time as this.”
But I believe that Esther was already queenly long before stepping into that palace.
Because of the training and preparation she must surely have received in her youth and childhood. We cannot know for sure, but I imagine that Mordecai had trained his orphaned cousin wisely and well, showing her how important it was to honor God at all times.
Our times differ greatly from theirs, but we can still follow that same wisdom – and raise sons and daughters with true godly and royal character.
6 principles for raising sons and daughters “for such a time as this:”
1. Teach them that the world does not revolve around them.
That they shouldn’t expect to have everything they want, like privileged pampered royalty. And that God has greater plans than that for them, just as he had for Esther.
2. Show them how to put others first.
To serve, encourage, and build others up. And to give, even sacrificially.
Otherwise when called to give things up as Esther was, they’ll be ill-prepared to face such sacrifices. Teach them now to give and even go without, if necessary, for the good of others.
3. Set limits.
Explain right from wrong so they’ll learn to choose what God wants, instead of choosing what they may want, whatever makes them feel good, or taking the easiest way out.
4. Instruct them on how to obey principle and stand for right, even at great personal cost.
Prepare them to go against the flow and have the courage and strength needed to truly walk in God’s ways. To stand for righteousness, regardless of the cost, as Esther did.
5. Build healthy self-esteem, without making them feel superior.
Do away with the comparison mentality, by teaching them to value and honor others. Help them see that they are not better looking, more talented, or special than others, but each person has special traits and great value in God’s eyes. And teach them to never brag over their beauty, talents, or skills, because all they possess and are comes from God.
6. And most of all, teach them to value the godly qualities of Queen Esther’s life.
To esteem the godly virtues Queen Esther possessed. Such as obedience, loyalty, contentment, gratitude, humility, and many others.
Mordecai probably did see Esther as his little princess. And in this we learn a valuable lesson.
The Hebrew culture highly loved and valued children. And although we know little about Mordecai, it seems he was perhaps a childless bachelor or widower, who undoubtedly loved and cherished Esther. As a companion for otherwise lonely days, a caretaker for his coming old age, and a gift of God. The story portrays a certain tenderness between them.
Yet even though to him Esther was probably like his little princess, he raised her to become a young woman of queenly character.
God gives us children to treasure. But above all he wants us to raise them with royal courage, fortitude, and faith.
Which is not easy in our consumerist, individualistic, self-absorbed society. In a generation obsessed with selfies, beauty, success, fame, and designer clothing.
Yet we live in troubled times. Times that could quickly turn into “such a time as this.” Just as they did in Esther’s time. Times where they will need the courage to stand for what is right, saying, “If I perish, I perish.” For who knows if they haven’t come into the world for such a time as this?”
Wouldn’t you love to have a son or daughter with such royal character?
Image of Queen Esther: by Edwin Long from Wikimedia; public domain.