The Bible and Storybranding: Esther—The Girl Who Became Queen

Written for my Masters of Art in Communication

School of Communication and The Arts, Liberty University

Background

God’s sovereignty and His loving care for His people is displayed throughout the story of Esther in the Old Testament. Although the author is unknown, the audience is the people of Israel, and the story is set in the Persian Empire where most of the details take place in the king’s palace in Susa. The ruler was King Xerxes, Persia’s fifth king. Even though God does not appear in this book of the Bible, His sovereign presence is witnessed throughout the story of Esther.

“The book of Esther tells of the circumstances that were essential to the survival of God’s people in Persia” (Life Application Study Bible, NIV). Due to the racial hatred of Jews, God uses Esther to intercede on His behalf and deliver His people from death. Many obstacles were overcome which led to trusting God and what He was ultimately fulfilling by His will through an ordinary Jewish girl named Esther—who ultimately, became Queen and served God.

Defining the Brand’s Inner Layer and Outer Layer

In the book of Esther, we can define the brand as God’s sovereignty (supreme power) and how He loved and cared for His people. When looking into the inner layer of the story of Esther, we see a belief system that starts at a point of difference but leads to something that has a point of view (Signorelli, 2014). Following the act of Queen Vashi refusing to obey King Xerxes’ order, King Xerxes began a search for a new queen. Since Esther’s parents both had died, she was raised by her cousin Mordecai. Hearing the news of the King’s request to search for a new queen, Mordecai relayed this information to Esther and took her to the palace to be considered. King Xerxes was pleased with Esther and found favor on her (Esther, NIV).

Esther was an ordinary Jewish girl with beauty, character, and was filled with courage and willingness to trust God and his will for her life. Esther had more concern for her (Jewish) people rather than her own security. These traits help us understand the values and beliefs that unfold throughout this story. The brand’s inner layer for the book of Esther is compiled of real values and encourages others who have the same. After unraveling the fact that Haman, an arrogant leader under King Xerxes, proposed to assassinate all the Jewish people, Esther was placed into a time to face the king with courage and fight against the evil plot to save God’s people. In the end, through hatred, Haman fell to his death, and Esther being a Jew herself was used by God to convince King Xerxes and ultimately save the Jewish population.

Understanding how brands have the need to solve problems and provide opportunities (Signorelli, n.d.), we can see how God uses Esther’s courage to show us how we, too, can understand that God has a purpose for our life. God will guide and lead us through every situation, just as he led Esther “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14, NIV).

 “A brand’s outer layer should be a function of the brand and not the brand itself” (Signorelli, 2014). The brand’s outer layer of the story of Esther is how God uses Esther to save His people. Mordecai persuaded Esther to help by going before the King. “Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish’” (Esther 4:16, NIV). God was in control of the situation and used Esther to go before King Xerxes. Esther and Mordecai had to plan and act, but also trust that God would deliver.

 Signorelli tells us about “I Am” statements to help provide a purpose to provoke empathy about the brand’s outer layer. (Signorelli, 2014). When writing an ‘I am’ statement for the story of Esther, it could be written as “I Am God and I am sovereign.” God is always in control of every situation, and as Christians, we must remember to rely on him, as He chooses to work through us daily.

Connecting the Soul of the Brand to the Soul of the Prospect

Like Esther, oftentimes we feel powerless and need to seek courage from God to help us fight life’s battles. One of the conflicts we face daily is seeking wisdom in a non-believing world. Having an understanding of the biblical worldview versus the secular worldview is key in how God uses us to do His will in our life. The soul of the brand of Esther, God’s sovereignty over our lives, is a direct connection to our soul as a Christian.  

As a Christian, I find myself depending on God to take me through challenging times. Esther is a reminder that as an ordinary person, God can use me also to face challenges as He leads the way. Esther’s courage teaches us to obey and to allow God to pave the way to do His will. The book of Esther shows us the difference between a person’s will and God’s will. When we serve God, we realize we risk our own security, but we also are not placed into situations for our benefit. We must realize God uses us to do His work.

In this life we rely on security as we know that relationships can become broken, possessions can be lost, and beauty eventually fades away (Life Application Study Bible, NIV). Knowing that our security rests on God alone is how we can face challenges in life. We do not always know what is going on behind the scenes, but we must find security in knowing God always has a plan for our lives. I have a connection with Esther and how she allowed God to use her to face challenges that ultimately glorified Him as I know I am placed on this earth to glorify God in all I do. I realize I have fallen short, but know Jesus has given me eternal life and leads me every day to do his will. I find courage in knowing He is here for me every step of the way.

We must trust and obey, and know God puts us in the right place at the right time. God’s timing is perfect as we witness in the life of Esther. She was placed to face the greatest challenge of her life—to save herself along with the Jewish population. We must also be willing to be open to receive advice and be willing to act. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, NIV). When we have God’s guidance and follow His plan for our lives, we are placed in such a time as this, giving all glory to God.

References

Life Application Study Bible. Third Edition. New International Version. (2019). Tyndall House Publishers. Carol Stream, IL., and Zondervan Grand Rapids, Michigan.

New International Version Bible. (1908/1983). Thompson Chain-Reference Bible. Indianapolis, IN: Kirkbride Bible Co.

Signorelli, J. (n.d.). Find your brand’s inner layer to ensure growth and longevity. Medium. Retrieved November 28, 2020 from https://medium.com/@jimsignorelli/your-brand-should-be-more-than-a-product-label-it-should-be-a-story-b9faf0701bd3

Signorelli, J. (2014). StoryBranding 2.0. Story-Lab Publications. Illinois.


Wait, what did you say? — How are you communicating?

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19, New International Version, 1986). God gave us two ears and one mouth — could that be a reminder for us to do more listening than speaking? People are social beings and are made to communicate with one another and ultimately process information. However, with differing perceptions conflicts can arise.

If everyone in the world agreed on everything, think about how boring our world would be. With that said, people have different views, opinions, values, and beliefs which can cause conflict in communication. Many people disagree with one another based solely on their culture, background, and where they are from geographically. However, according to Barnett Pearce, coordinated management of meaning can be learned. “It’s learnable, it’s teachable and it’s contagious” (Barnett Pearce, 2014).

I think about the “masked world” we are living in these days and I can’t help but notice how our communication with one another has changed. Sometimes I just don’t understand how we are made to communicate with one another behind a piece of cloth. We lose sight of body languages such as a smile or a grimace. I live in Hawaii and we are [still] under a stay at home order. I get the feeling of being trapped on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Our beaches and parks are shut off and no one is allowed to gather together. Although there are varying views on the Covid_19 pandemic and how our local, state, and federal government have handled the issues, we can all agree that we are creatures of socialization. When communicating with others regarding the “do’s and don’ts” of mask-wearing, people are quick to voice their opinions.

How we go about listening (with an open mind) to others while still staying true to our own beliefs is a balance. Sometimes “agreeing to disagree” is the best way to leave the subject and move on. One recommendation when you have such differences in beliefs is accepting and agreeing with the fact that each person has a very different viewpoint. As Christians, we are told, “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). If we choose to follow the truth, the Word of God, we will find solutions on how best to communicate effectively with one another, even with the differences of opinions on wearing a mask, or not. It is up to us to self-reflect on how we are listening to others, and ultimately be aware of our own communication and delivery.

*Journal entry written for my Masters in Communication at Liberty University

References

Pearce, Barnett (January 29, 2014) Coordinated Management of Meaning [Video]. YouTube.

New International Version Bible, Version. (1908/1983). Thompson chain-reference Bible Indianapolis, IN: Kirkbride Bible.