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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Greenberg

Esther at Sundown, Devorah at Dawn

The endless struggle of becoming who God created you to be – as a female or as a male – begins watching your mother’s behavior. And let’s face facts, there seem to be far fewer female role models in the Bible, until you remember every ‘living being’ after Adam and Eve came from a womb.  Being born requires a female to carry you inside her body, but mothers are GROWN over time by laying down our own personal needs to care for someone else – a baby, a foster child, a sick friend, or even a nation. 

Did you ever notice that the Bible does not have ANY stories of HOW to mother?  All the Bible does is show you the lineage of how a righteous soul saves lives and how evil travels up family trees from roots into shoots.  The protagonist of the Bible is God, not the named ‘characters.’  The Bible is truly written for the reader to build their character – our personal actions depend on knowing the consequences for making unhealthy choices. 

Esther, the Hidden Jewess

Jewish people around the world who are all reading Leviticus this week take a few days off to read a Jewish History book called ‘Esther.’  Esther was a hidden Jewess newly married to a powerful Persian king.  Esther became the queen after winning the king’s heart during their one night courtship, quite literally much like a royal version of “The Bachelor”-style American television choosing process.  When we read about Esther being prepared to have her one ‘overnight date’ with the king in the Bible it seems so barbaric – but we watch it on TV today folks, so please get over it!  The Bible is chock-full of content for blockbuster movies and TV – there is no new thing under the sun.

However, watch what happened after they were married a while. Queen Esther was chosen for his new wife AFTER his former wife publicly humiliated him and needed to be publicly displaced for disrespecting him. The king’s whole court knew that a house divided can’t stand. To lead a nation well, a leader must have the respect of his advisors and be able to lead his own family first. And, the fruit of rebellion seen in his former wife’s behavior created seeds of rebellion that found a place to grow further into the king’s court.

Shortly thereafter, a power hungry member of his cabinet was casting lots and made a vow to give a big donation to the royal treasury. His reckless gambling, and growing arrogance at having helped the King find a new wife caused him to begin expecting the king’s subjects to bow down to him. But that hidden Jewess had an uncle that knew better than to bow to a man when only God deserves our worship. When the arrogant advisor tricked the king into WRONGLY believing his Jewish subjects were a national threat to his leadership, the advisor tricked the king into an edict of destruction against the Jewish people. Esther had to decide to put her life on the line to get the king’s attention and foil the accuser’s plot. Does any of this sound familiar? Of course, God ALWAYS provides a hidden treasure – a human being – to save His people!

What we ALL love about the story of Esther is that she was willing. SPIRIT-WILLING means to put aside your own needs to save someone else by obeying God in the place and time that He establishes you to restore order to the chaos around you. Please read the Book of Esther with your family this week! Watch how this WIFE saved a nation and how her husband eventually opened the way for Nehemiah to rebuild God’s Temple. AND TAKE NOTE: God-inspired bravery builds courage in other people.

Deborah, the Leader

Especially in times of chaos and injustice, females can make fabulous saviors – with God’s help. Here are a few: Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, and Golda Meir. In the TANAKH (Old Testament), the two most influential women for me are Esther and Deborah. Why? Because both of these women obeyed God AND prized influence more than power. Deborah was a trusted woman leader that demanded that the men around her be courageous and she gave God credit for their unified success against evil. And sweet Esther, though she started as a beauty queen, she chose bravery to save everyone and went one-step-at-a-time through a strategic plan of grace-upon-grace to win the heart of her husband. Esther is a TRUE example of trust in God that bore eternal fruit that – even today – multiplies faithfulness in others to believe they can change the course of history for generations.

The reason I herald both these women today is because Deborah doesn’t get a holiday! But, make no mistake, the stories of God’s favor on Deborah’s leadership during the time of the Book of Judges would have been Esther’s bedtime stories. Esther’s uncle taught her that Jewish Women do NOT turn a blind eye to injustice. Jewish women are taught to follow the God of Israel and lead at His command and at His direction in whatever capacity is needed – as long as He is the main protagonist of their victory. History proves that ‘LifeSavers’ are more than simply my favorite candy, life savers are people willing to strike evil at it’s core and rescue God’s most precious gift – a human soul.

When God sent His Son Yeshua into the world, to be my personal Savior, I married a Jewish man and started discovering the Bible as Ruth, a non-Jew but desperate for the love of my new Jewish family. As I grew to be a mother to Jewish children, I became as Esther, my husband’s crown. As I grew to be the leader of this ‘miracle-in motion’ of the TLV Bible Society, I became Deborah by demanding we work together to save our children’s children. Now, as the journey continues, I will herald His coming victories as His beloved Daughter. It takes a lifetime to become who He created you to be in the first place, His masterpiece!

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