What I Learned from a Queen’s Cousin
The influence of family.
Those closest to us have an impact on who we become — the values we embrace, the talents we develop.
Usually, our parents play the biggest role in shaping us. But that’s not always the case.
One out-of-the-ordinary situation stands out in my mind. My husband and I know a couple that have three biological children. When they learned their nephews needed help due to their mom’s poor choices, they didn’t hesitate to take them in. Over the course of time, they were able to adopt the boys giving them a stable home and demonstrating true love.
Today, these boys don’t hesitate to say what a difference their adoptive parents made in their lives. They were taken out of an environment where drugs were abused and plugged into the home of a couple that loved the Lord. As a result, both boys are actively involved in ministry.
It was a cousin who made a difference in the life of Esther (Hadassah), thousands of years ago. She was orphaned early in life and was raised by Mordecai:
And he (Mordecai) brought up Hadassah that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.
Esther 2:7; KJV
Many Jews from Judah were captured and taken to Babylon. This was the case for Mordecai’s family. Following the death of Esther’s parents, Mordecai stepped up to care for Esther as his own daughter.
Although they were far from home, Mordecai made sure Esther grew up with a knowledge of her Jewish heritage and the One true God they served.
Esther was attractive, so when King Ahasuerus sent out a decree in search of “fair young virgins,” it probably came as no surprise to Mordecai that she would be considered. But he made Esther promise not to reveal her nationality or family background.
Although God’s name is not mentioned a single time in the book of Esther, He was at work. Of all the beautiful women in the kingdom, the king only had eyes for Esther. She was crowned queen and replaced the former queen, Vashti.
Esther’s life changed dramatically. She was now the queen living in the royal palace. But she remained loyal to the cousin who raised her and did as he asked — keeping her identity a secret.
An influence that lasts
Bad news came. The king had given his right-hand man, Haman, authority to kill all the Jews on a specific day. The Jewish people were horrified. Sackcloth and ashes replaced their regular clothes and mourning was heard throughout Shushan.
In the palace, Esther had no idea what was going on. She sent a message to Mordecai to find out. I can only imagine the fear his response must have caused. Mordecai described Haman’s wicked plan and strongly encouraged Esther to go before the king to plead for her life and the lives of her people.
You’re probably familiar with Mordecai’s challenge to his cousin:
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Esther 4:14; KJV
As she stood in the palace, Esther may have reflected on how she had been raised — the love her cousin had shown, the sound advice he had always given. She made her decision, and sent word back to Mordecai:
Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. Esther 4:16; KJV
There was no need to doubt Mordecai now. No matter what happened, Esther decided to act on her cousin’s advice and trust God with the outcome. God used Mordecai to make a significant impact on Esther’s life.
Are you choosing to influence others in a positive way? What step will you take to affect someone for Christ?
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for the story of Mordecai and Esther. Give us strength to step out of our comfort zones and make a difference in someone's life. Help us be consistent examples of Your love. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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