In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5:16)
Within the pages of our Bibles lie many precious gems. Like diamonds and sapphires, our Biblical gems don’t always lie on the surface. Many have to be mined. It takes a lot of patience and effort to find precious gems, but it’s well worth the time and effort.
One gem I found recently was in relation to a young girl called Hadassah. She lived during the time when the Jews from Judah had been carried off to Babylon. Her parents died when she was very young and she was adopted by her cousin who ‘took her as his own daughter’. (Esther 2:7)
The name ‘Hadassah’ is a Hebrew word that means ‘myrtle’. Hadassah is better known to us as Esther, after whom one of the books of the Old Testament is named. We don’t know when Hadassah’s name was changed to Esther, but it may have been just before she was taken to the palace to become a potential chief wife of King Ahasuerus.
We read in Esther 2:10, “Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai charged her not to reveal it.” Mordecai, her adopted father, wanted to protect her from the possibility of anti-semitic reactions.
Esther means ‘star’. On reflecting on the significance of the two names, Jonathan Cahn, in his ‘Book of Mysteries”, observes,
“A myrtle grows under the heavens. But a star exists as part of the heavens. A star is certainly much higher than a myrtle. Stars do what myrtles can’t do. They shine. And do you know how they shine? They burn, they expend themselves as does a candle. They give up their essence…and, by that, they shine. So their shining is an act of self-sacrifice. They must sacrifice themselves to shine, to become stars.”
Hadassah, an orphan girl growing under heaven, was exalted to Esther, a star shining as Queen on the throne of Persia.
“She was a myrtle set on high places. But the day came when she had to make a choice. Hold on to her position….or risk it all, even her life, to do what is right to save her people.” (Jonathan Cahn)
She chose what was right. She said ‘If I perish, I perish’. At that point, Esther truly did became a shining star.
Esther maybe did not choose her name but she did choose whether or not to live up to it. You may be reading this and you identify yourself with Hadassah, a myrtle. But constant obedience to God and walking with him daily affords each one of us the opportunity to “shine as lights in the world”, (Philippians 2:15)
We can all be Esthers if we choose.
“Live this day as a heavenly light. Live as a living sacrifice, a gift given for the purposes of God. And you too will shine as the stars.” (Jonathan Cahn)
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