Humble Beginnings – David and Esther
If the Bible was to have a celebrity couple, I feel David and Esther would be a credible option. A handsome king who is skilful and gifted, alongside a beautiful queen who is humble and sacrificial.
Last week, the Holy Spirit helped me see similarities in the lives of two of the Bible’s famous royalties and step by step, He made the picture clearer.
Tonight, we will be considering three lessons from the lives of David and Esther, the implications for us and questions to stir our hearts and minds. After this, we will conclude with prayers.
As we sit at the palaces in Jerusalem and Shushan the citadel, to learn from the royal courts, what are some similarities in the lives of King David and Queen Esther?
1) Their ascent to the throne was unlikely
The first king of Israel was a man named Saul. He was the most handsome man in Israel, taller than everyone else and from a comfortable family (1 Samuel 9:2).
When the Lord rejected Saul as king, the prophet Samuel was sent to anoint a new king from the household of Jesse. As he saw Eliab, the first son of Jesse, he thought this was the perfect option (1 Samuel 16:6). Surely, this was God’s anointed! In modern times, he would be a guy that is six feet plus tall, with six packs and earning a six-digit income in foreign currency. Triple 6! Sure bet. However, God had already come to the house of Jesse for a pre-qualification and this man did not meet the criteria.
God said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his height, I have rejected him”. (1 Samuel 16:7) Rejected. Past tense. Not I am rejecting him, I have rejected him. God was letting Samuel know that before He informed him of the recruitment process, he had already done a search (2 Chronicles 16:9a)
In the matter of royalty and ascension in our various pursuits, it is important for us to note that the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
Xerxes was ruler over 127 provinces (Esther 1:1). You read that right. One hundred and twenty-seven! People from various tribes were subject to him. If you were to choose a wife for him, chances are that you would not think of someone with Esther’s profile. What is Esther’s profile, you ask?
Well, Esther was a Jew. She and others were part of the captives captured and carried away from Jerusalem. Sadly, she was also an orphan. (Esther 2:6 & 7). If people were to predict which of the thousands of ladies would be queen, I am not sure she would have been considered an option. But Grace found her. Which leads us to you.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth. But God!
Hmm. But God!
But God chose the foolish things to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong…so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians 1:26-28)
As we sit to learn at the royal courts, we can hear David explaining to us that greatness is a gift that God bestows. That He gives this gift to those whose hearts are set on Him. We can also hear Esther helping us to understand that even when the odds are against us, with God all things are possible.
Can you identify three Bible characters who rose to prominence from a humble background?
What are some traits that God seeks in a person that He uses, as exemplified in scriptures?
David and Esther were successors to rejected leaders, Saul and Vashti respectively. However, there was no mention of mockery or ridicule of their predecessors in the Bible. What does that say about these royal personalities? What does this say about God’s expectation for you?
2) They had a time of preparation before ascending the throne
Without a father and mother, this young, beautiful Jewish lady was raised in a foreign land by her cousin, Mordecai. (Esther 2:7).
One day, there was a decree that all the beautiful young virgins should be gathered to the women’s quarters as the king wanted a wife. The orientation camp was at Shushan, with Hegai serving as the camp commandant.
This was not your ordinary orientation camp. There was no maami market where people queued to buy food. The participants did not have to wake up before dawn, neither were they compelled to serve under the sun or in the rain. These ladies were given the finest treatment. Treatment deserving of royalty.
Each young woman was prepared for twelve months (Esther 2:12) for an encounter with the king that would last for less than 12 hours (Esther 2:14). They needed to work hard to leave such an impression on the king that he would request for them by name.
We would be wrong to assume that Esther’s time of preparation was just twelve months.
She had been preparing for the throne when she helped her parents in their duties. Her refusal to lose hope when she lost her parents was part of the rehearsal. Also, her commitment to her cousin, Mordecai, was a key component of her training to be fit for the throne. Every step of her journey was part of the preparation.
The element of preparation was not limited to her however, David also had his share.
As a young boy, David was anointed as king. However, he most likely spent at least ten years being prepared for the assignment he had been given. Tending his father’s flock in the wilderness, fighting Goliath in the valley of Elah and serving Saul in the palace, David was being prepared for the throne. His anointing did not exclude the place of preparation.
His leadership skills were built in Cave Adullam as he welcomed those in distress, in debt and those that were discontented. DDD. Triple D! (1 Samuel 22:1-2). God tested his heart when he was presented with the opportunity to kill Saul twice (1 Samuel 24 & 26). Also, quite importantly, he learnt to inquire of God. In 1 Samuel 23: 2, 4 and 30:8, we see David building his relationship with and dependence on God.
There is a strong conviction in your heart that God has set you apart for a great assignment. This has been backed up by prophecies, visions and scriptures. Like Joseph, you have seen the picture of the future that God has for you. However, you want it now. Now now!
Have you considered that the things you need to function optimally in that space have not yet been developed in you? Do you know that destruction is inevitable if your strength of your character does not match the spotlight of your accomplishments? Can you hear David telling you to not to abandon the flock that the Father has put in your care? Can you hear Esther telling you to be faithful in little? Will you listen?
In Exodus 23:29, God told the Israelites that he will not drive out the current inhabitants of the Promised Land in a year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would be too numerous for them. In Verse 30, he said he will drive them out little by little until they have increased enough to take possession of the land. What does that say to you about the importance of capacity building?
Can you cite two examples of people who were destroyed by attaining success they were not prepared for?
3) They were obedient to the authorities in their lives
David’s launch to prominence came after he was victorious over Goliath at the valley of Elah. However, that was preceded by his father, Jesse, sending him to the battlefront to deliver food to his brothers (1 Samuel 16:17-18). What seemed like a routine assignment became a life-changing experience. David’s obedience to his father opened the door of fulfilment of purpose to him.
At the orientation camp, when the ladies were filling their registration forms, Esther did not include her state of origin. The officer in charge did not pay attention to it, as he felt it was an oversight. However, it was not. It was the result of the instruction that Mordecai gave her as he dropped her at the entrance to the camp.
“Esther. How many ears do you have?”, he asked. “Two”, she answered with a smile on her face. “My dear, whatever you do, do not reveal your state of origin or family background to anybody at this camp.” It was a curious instruction which Esther probably did not fully understand, but she obeyed.
God has put some people around you to help you grow and become fit for His purpose. However, their presence and guidance does not guarantee your ascent to the throne; your obedience to their wise counsel does.
More importantly, He has put His Spirit in you as a guide and a help. Romans 8:14 teaches us that as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. Are you receptive to the leading of the Holy Spirit? Do you pay attention when He speaks? How often do you obey His commands?
Those who reach the throne and enjoy a prosperous reign are those who have learnt to heed to the voice of reason. Are you willing to do this?
What do you think would have happened if Esther revealed she was a Jew before her audition before the king?
Share your experience of a time you obeyed an instruction which seemed ridiculous from God or wise people in your life, and the consequence of obedience.
When we look at David and Esther in the palace dressed in their regalia, we are tempted to feel that they were born in the palace, or that they were from royal families. However, this was not the case. Their rise to the throne was unlikely. When you look at yourself, you see a shepherd boy, a young guy trying to make ends meet, an orphan or a lady battling the pressures of societal decadence with no hope in sight. Guess what God sees? Royalty.
As we conclude today’s lesson, can you talk to God in prayer. There is a great chance that He is in your vicinity, seeking those who He would find worthy for the throne. Ask Him to cleanse you of those things that would lead to rejection. Ask Him to help you stay true to Him no matter what you face in the preparation phase. Ask Him to help you obey His Spirit’s leading and wise counsel. Thank Him for answering your prayers. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Iremide: Thank you for reading and following today’s Bible study. Please feel free to answer any of the questions raised or to share lessons you gained from today’s Bible study.
Also, you are free to share the study on WhatsApp or other platforms for people to learn. We will continue the study series next Monday by God’s grace.