Leaders have influence. Influence is a neutral word but the person with influence can use their influence for good or for evil. Read Esther 3-7.
King Xerxes of Persia chose a man named Haman to be prime minister, second in command, of all of Persia. At the command of the king, all the royal officials at the king’s gate bowed down to Haman. Haman allowed his pride to surface and grew to feel this kind of treatment was deserved. When Mordecai the Jew refused to bow down or pay honor to Haman based on his religious beliefs, Haman was enraged. If Haman had not been full of pride he may have dealt with the problem directly and severely punished Mordecai but Haman chose to make a larger statement to satisfy his pride and demonstrate his power. He determined to destroy all the Jewish people living in Persia because of Mordecai’s actions.
Leaders need to respond with skill and wisdom to initiate changes in the world around them. Read Esther 2-4.
Mordecai was a Jewish man living in exile in Babylon. Mordecai could trace his ancestors back to Kish, father of Saul the first king of Israel. His actions reveal that he knew Jewish beliefs and the Law of God the Jewish people lived by. His actions also demonstrate that he understood very well the prejudice faced by a minority group in a foreign land. Mordecai became a focal point in Esther’s story because he raised Esther after her parent’s death and became her trusted mentor and advisor.
God provides Christian leaders with power and position to accomplish His ends. Christian leaders make a wise choice when they view their positions as God’s tools to accomplish His purposes. This concept of leader-as-steward is foundational to servant leadership and ethical leadership. Read Esther 2-7.
King Xerxes had banished Queen Vashti in a fit of anger but soon felt the emptiness created by his decision. His advisors consoled him with a plan to bring the most beautiful women from all over his kingdom and allow him to choose his next queen.
Wise leaders regard their position and power as tools to serve their team not to manipulate others and elevate themselves. Read Esther 1.
The books of Ezra and Nehemiah focus on the Jews that left exile in Babylon to return to Judah and Jerusalem. In contrast, the book of Esther focuses on the Jews that did not go to Judah but stayed in Babylon under Persian control. The Persians were the dominate world power and their empire extended from India to Ethiopia and included all of what we call the Middle East today and was made up of 127 different provinces. The Persian king ruling over this vast empire was named Xerxes.
In the Bible God chooses to teach the principles of leadership experientially through the lives of ordinary people. God looks for leaders who will submit to Him, He then makes those individuals aware of a need, and because the leader has submitted to God’s leadership, that need becomes a burden that compels the leader to act. Read the book of Esther.
The book of Esther was set in ancient Babylon, modern day Iraq, a little more than 460 years before the birth of Jesus. The Persians were the world power and ruled most of the known world. A king in Persia was all powerful and most leaders seeking power and position found ways to get close to the king.