Sorry I missed you yesterday. Blogspot was down for repair. Glad to be back up today. Even though the daily blog takes some time, reading the scriptures with you is a great blessing to my life. Hope you are encouraged each day as you read about God's presence in our world.
Esther is a wonderful story of mystery, intrigue, passion and God's purpose. It has been the basis for books and movies(one night with the king is one of the latest). It takes place in Persia around 480B.C. The fact that a Jewish girl has been chosen for the King's harem is an indication of the acceptance of foreigners in Persia after the conquests of Cyrus and Darius. Mordecai, Esther's elder cousin and guardian, is a trusted official and sits at the king's gate.
My friend Don Caslavka often wants me to preach from Esther because of the vignette in the 1st chapter. Xerxes is giving a great banquet for all of the nobles and generals. (probably before going off to war) He calls for his beautiful queen Vashti to come to him. No doubt, Xerxes has had too much wine and he just want to show off his beautiful queen and have her "strut" for his pleasure. Vashti refuses and her refusal throws the King and his entourage into a snit. Why, if the Queen refuses the King, women throughout the kingdom will refuse their husbands. The lack of obedience and disrespect may well cause the sky to fall (my interpretation of the the mindset of the king and his wise men). We have to keep these women in their place (Women's liberation, where are you when a good woman needs you?)
Queen Vashti is to be deposed and a new queen put in her place. A national search for a new queen is planned. (Does this remind you a little of Cinderella?) Esther is chosen, along with many others, to be considered for the place beside the king.
Another story line is that of Mordecai who is a trusted citizen of Persia. While city at the gate of the city he discovers a plot against the king and reports it to the proper authorities. The possible assassination is averted, the potential murderers apprehended and the king is saved. A notation in the official record makes note of Mordecai's good deed.
Haman the Agagite is also a trusted part of the Xerxes administration. Remember an Agagite is a descendant of the ancient kingdom of the Amalekites who were enemies of Israel from the time when Moses was leading the Israelites to the promised land. They attacked Israel in the Sinai and were driven off by Joshua. The were always raiding Israel until Saul and David forced them from the land. Haman is descended from this Canaanite band of Israeli enemies.
Haman grows in power and influence. He is incensed that Mordecai will not bow to him at the city gate. Of course, Mordecai is practicing his religion and bows (as did Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego) only to Jehovah. Mordecai grows more and more angry at Mordecai and persuades Xerxes that there are a people who are plotting to revolt against the empire. The must be eradicated. He does this without revealing who they are. Xerxes agrees with Mordecai that these insurrectionists must be put to death every one. Mordecai trusts in the casting of lots to select the date of the mass execution. The date is published and sent throughout the kingdom. Every Jew is to be killed on the 12th of the month of Adar. This is months away. The Jews learn of their fate and their is great weeping and wailing at the holocaust that is coming. Who can save them from this awful and unjust fate?
I know that you know the story, but did you know that the word for lots (dice) in Persian is purim? Did you know that the Jewish religious festival of Purim is celebrated on that date that was intended to be their eradication? Have you noticed that there is no mention of Jehovah in this book, but it is clearly a story of God's divine intervention. God is orchestrating people and events....Mordecai, Xerxes, Vashti, Esther and even Haman.....and, in his time, a mighty work is done.
As you read this wonderful story of God's grace.....consider how God has and is working in your life...orchestrating events in ways that will bring him glory and cause you to know that our God still reigns!