When the turn came for Esther . . . to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai . . . suggested. (Est. 2:15)

MUCH IS MADE of Esther’s simplicity. Esther vied with other women for the affection of King Xerxes; the rules of the contest permitted each woman to take whatever she wanted with her when she appeared before Xerxes. Most women chose to bring many things, but Esther took nothing but a few essentials. Many have read this decision as a sign of Esther’s commitment to modesty, thinking that it referred to the fact she didn’t need alluring makeup or clothing. But this reading imposes modern evangelical concerns on to a story in a way that doesn’t quite ring true.

It’s better to read this story like we would read many other Old Testament stories, where God rescued his people in a way that showed that it was he who got the credit, not the people. David defeated Goliath in a way that can be credited only to God. The Israelites escaped slavery only when God parted the Red Sea. And Esther became queen only when God made it possible, against all odds.

Likely you are in need of God’s touch right now; something in your life seems like such a huge obstacle that can only be moved by God’s hand. Queen Esther’s story is about so much more than rewarding modesty. It reminds us that nothing is hopeless for the people of God.

Pray with boldness, knowing God can make a way for you.

Michael Jordan is the dean of the chapel at Houghton College (New York), where he also serves as chair of the Department of Biblical Studies, Theology, and Philosophy.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.