Let me be the first to admit that when the topic of biblical womanhood is brought up in a bible study, sermon, blog, or the dinner table: my eyes glaze over and I go to my happy place. I am not the only woman who has a comatose reaction to the ideals often attributed to being a “Proverbs 31 Woman.” I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard the Proverbs 31 woman be cited as the optimal goal for Christian women. While this woman has great qualities and seems like a nice lady who puts her family first, she is not the only woman mentioned in the Bible. Can I hear an “Amen!” from all the women allergic to the kitchen? (I’m convinced that “gathering food from afar” can mean driving to Whole Foods!)
While it’s important to look at the biblical model for households, it is also equally important to look at how God used women to accomplish His goals outside of the kitchen. As a Girls Minister, who works with teenagers for a living, let me tell you, one of the reasons women young and old have rejected biblical womanhood is because most teaching leaves out exciting Biblical stories with women in the starring roles. Thus enters the allure of the feminist movement.
Today we are going to look at a woman with a leading role in the Bible and in history, Queen Esther. Esther lives a real-life Cinderella story, has an entire Biblical book named after her, and manages to change the mind of a king and the direction of a country through her wisdom, beauty, timely words, and place of royalty. Esther has an important message for Christian girls and woman who desperately want an exciting life, impactful existence, and secretly wonder if in order to accomplish these goals they must side with the feminist movement. Let’s look at why Queen Esther matters for the feminist movement of today.
Esther 4:14 is the most quoted verse in the entire biblical book of Esther.
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come into your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
This is her uncle appealing to Esther to stand up for the Jews who were being mistreated and to use her high position in order to get her convictions heard before the king. The verse directly contrasts the idea that the Bible oppresses women. God placed Esther as Queen in order to lead a revolution!
1. Esther only used methods and means that were effective. If Esther lived in 2017, she would not have attended the Women’s March. How do I know this? She had seen the King’s first wife, Queen Vashti, behave in a feminist protest by refusing to obey her husband, to submit to God-given authority, or follow the norms for the culture of the day- which resulted in her losing her crown. Esther was not about to repeat the same mistake.
2. Esther had a systematic plan in mind and motion. Esther was not interested in merely yelling loud enough or long enough to get someone’s attention. She wanted results and to keep her husband’s heart, interest, and trust. Esther did not merely make him change his mind as a result of a tantrum. She carefully planned and respectfully appealed to her king and husband.
3. Esther kept her dignity resulting in her keeping her crown. Esther was not rash in the way she planned to confront injustice. Esther did not demand action but requested her voice be heard and her plan carried out. Because of her patience and calm demeanor, her husband was open to hearing her concerns.
4. Esther was her own person while remaining submissive. Esther had her own ideas about culture, society, justice, and equality- and that is more than okay! In fact, Esther differing in opinion from her husband is a main plot of this story! She was her own person, with her own ideas, who respectfully brought her request to the king and he listened.
There are ungodly and unequal ideas, laws, practices, and crimes that must change for women in 2017. Culture needs to progress in how women are treated and Christians need to stand for those who are mistreated. In the midst of creating a better world for women, there is value in learning how women in the Bible used their power, influence, grace, patience, beauty, and position to change the minds of kings and the direction of history!