FRIDAY, JUNE 15
SCRIPTURE: ESTHER 2
Today we continue a little further into the story of Esther. Most believe that chapter two occurs some four years after the end of chapter one. Among other things, that means that King Ahasuerus had already tried his ill-fated military campaign against Greece and was back home undoubtedly “licking his wounds”.
At some point he began to think about Vashti who had been banished earlier. But the men in the king’s court convinced the king to gather up all the beautiful virgins in the city and put them in a harem. It is here that we meet two important characters: Mordecai and his cousin Esther. Esther was actually her Persian name and meant star. Her Jewish name was Hadasseh which meant myrtle.
This selection process to create a harem brings us to an important topic. Just because something is found in the Bible doesn’t mean that God caused it to happen or even approved of it happening. There are many times that things happen in the Bible because of Satan, sin, and selfish humanity. The Bible doesn’t support those things. But it does often faithfully record them for us.
The reason I bring this up is this harem business was not God’s idea. In fact, the whole notion of a harem violated many of God’s laws. But God in His sovereign deity is more than able to use things that we do to accomplish His plan.
Along this line is another interesting aspect of this story. People didn’t know that Mordecai and Esther were Jews. There was nothing necessarily wrong with the fact that they didn’t tell anyone about their heritage. If they had been asked and lied that could have been a problem. But not telling someone about your ethnic background is not necessarily wrong.
However, it is interesting that no one knew about it. You would think that if Mordecai and Esther were living kosher lifestyles that it would have been evident to many that they were Jewish. I don’t mean to throw stones at them or to cause you to think badly about them. But I just want you to think about the possibility that God is able to use folks who belong to him but aren’t living like they belong to Him.
Maybe today’s take away needs to be that God is a great big God who can do great big things with and through people that are far, far from perfect. This is not an excuse to be far from perfect or far, far from perfect. But it is intended to be an encouragement to think about just how big God is and what big things He can do.
As the chapter progresses we meet Hegai, the eunuch that kept the king’s harem. And again we see God working in the background. Esther finds favor with Hegai who in turn helps her find favor with the king. And as the chapter draws to a close, Esther becomes queen.
There is one more aspect to this chapter that needs to be brought forward. Somewhere along the line Mordecai was given the position of “sitting at the king’s gate”. This could have been a formal position like that of a judge. But regardless it put him in a place that he overheard the plot to assassinate the king. He got the information to the queen who told the king and the plot was overthrown. Again, we see the powerful hand of God working behind the scenes to accomplish His great purpose.