Today is a celebration crossroads for two of God’s humble servants, Queen Esther and St. Patrick. While such a faith intersection may seem unusual at surface level—from divergent faiths, Jewish and Catholic—the dual feasts are united by the greatness of God displayed in these servants’ lives. The convergence helps us to pause and dig deeper to the Scriptures that characterize the lives of humble servants, resounding the One named in Isaiah 53, “My Servant.”
My servant, the just one, shall justify the many, their iniquity he shall bear. Isaiah 53:11 NABRE
Esther and Patrick join a book-full of humble servants, the Bible’s testimony to God’s “awesome dealings” in the lives of simple people. Moses holds the distinction of being the humblest man of his time:
Moses was a very humble man, more so than any man on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3 HCSB
…though many, like Amos, not formally educated or anointed in leadership, carried out the destiny of the Lord.
Amos answered Amaziah [the priest], “I am not a prophet, nor am I a prophet’s son; but I am a shepherd, and a trimmer of [sycomore] trees. But the Lord took me from shepherding the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Amos 7:14-15 CEB
Not a person’s credentials but the possibilities of God are the noteworthy evidences to dazzle us; the opportunities He creates out of humble backgrounds and dead-end scenarios are God’s fertile ground, more so than authority or accomplishment.
Come and see what God has done, his awesome dealings with humankind…Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me. Psalm 66:5, 16 CJB
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27 NIV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
While Esther did have a prestigious, palace life, chosen to be Queen under King Xerxes’ reign, she had no authority to approach the king with the desperate plea to save her people. She respectfully followed the instruction of her Uncle Mordecai to seek the king’s favor, entering his regal presence in humility, knowing she might lose her life:
“In preparation for my audience with the king, do this: gather together all the Jews in Susa, and fast and pray for me. Intercede for me. For three days and nights, abstain from all food and drink. My maids and I will join you in this time. And after the three days, I will go in to the king and plead my people’s case, even though it means breaking the law. And if I die, then I die!” Esther 4:16 VOICE
St. Patrick’s humble beginnings included capture and captivity in Ireland, a foreign land to him, where he was a forced laborer tending flocks, roaming the forests and chilly terrain in a solitary life. His seclusion led to a deep intimacy with God, growing his heart for the people of Ireland to hear about the Savior.
May the lives of humble servants give us much to celebrate, that our God will draw near to hearts humble before Him.
Prayer: Merciful God, the world has taught me to build my resume with impressive achievements, but you don’t work that way. You look for humble servants to carry out your plans; your awesome dealings (Psalm 66:5) come through normal, unassuming people in tight spots and tough surroundings, where the pattern of Your Son’s servitude will be proclaimed. Lord, when I find myself overwhelmed, help me remember that you bear my iniquities–all my failures and shortcomings. My difficulties are opportunities to depend on you. May I watch for your strength and power to prevail, so many who have gone before me prove that! People written about in your Word like Moses, Amos, and Esther, and people who revered You and carried out your Word like Patrick. Your grace is all I will ever need (2 Corinthians 12:9).
And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV
Grounded in God is a devotions series lingering in the facets of humility from Isaiah 53. Our Savior’s greatest gift to us came through His humiliation detailed in this earthy passage. Humiliation … humility… humus… hmmm… perhaps the garden is a unique host to God’s purposes in humility, already grounded in humus-filled soil. Let these one-a-week, Scripture compositions draw you to 7 Words for simple consideration, cultivating a special intimacy with the Lord through the Lenten season
Read more about Queen Esther and the Feast of Purim in “Hidden Hope in Esther,” from the Devotions Blog
Read more about St. Patrick at www.catholic.org/saints/ and in “The Lord’s Prevailing,” from the Devotions Blog
Portions of this devotion are taken from, “Not Me,” part of the Garden Tools section on Humility in God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, beginning on pages a-38 & a-39
Photo Credits: ©Shelley S. Cramm
CEB notes Scripture quotations taken from the Common English Bible © 2011 Common English Bible, Nashville, Tennessee. All Rights Reserved. The CEB translation was funded by the Church Resources Development Corp, which allows for cooperation among denominational publishers in the development and distribution of Bibles, curriculum, and worship materials.
CJB notes Scripture quotations taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
ESV denotes Scripture quotations taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.
HCSB denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
KJV denotes Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version published in 1611, authorized by King James I of England, which is public domain in the United States.
NABRE denotes Scripture texts taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
VOICE denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2012 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.