Esther…one of the most beloved books in the Old Testament for so many people; and compared to yesterday’s reading through Zechariah, also much easier to read and get into. Esther is entirely a book of narrative, one big story. A story about a Jewish girl who becomes queen, her adoptive father (Mordecai) who helps and encourages her to rescue the Jewish nation from treachery and the hand of God working to save his people.
It has all the elements of a great story. A beautiful woman, a wretched villain, a noble king, a tense plot and a happy ending. Disney could make millions off of this thing.
The thing that I especially love about Esther is how is displays God working in the background on behalf of his people. Especially when you consider where this story fits into the story of the exiles returning to Jerusalem under Ezra first and then Nehemiah. The exiles were facing some pretty trying times and some strong opposition to their work. Here we have a story in Esther of God working on King Xerxes in Persia, who would eventually give Mordecai carte-blanc in sending all the aid he wanted to the Jewish people all through the Persian kingdom.
Have you ever been in a tough spot and wondered why God wasn’t doing anything to help you? I see in Esther the answer to that question. I’m sure the returned Jews were wondering where God was in their struggle to rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem and why he wasn’t getting rid of the incredible opposition to their work. But we get this incredible glimpse into the back room of God’s plans. We see God working in the background in the throne room itself to secure his people the help they would need.
God works that way. In ways that we can’t see and in times that we don’t comprehend.
There are two lessons for us in this. First, if you are the one wondering why God isn’t helping, rest secured in the story of Esther that God often works in ways we don’t see right away to bring us aid. Second, we are sometimes that source of that divine aid. Sometimes God asks us to be Esther, to step forward in boldness, to act out on the prompting of his Holy Spirit. Sometimes God needs us to obey in order to bring about the aid that someone else needs.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture
Tomorrow’s Reading: Ezra 7-10