Read Esther 1 -- 3
In Today's Reading:
Vashti removed as queen; Esther made queen; Mordecai saves the king's life; Haman's plan to destroy all the Jews.
Verses for Today:
King Ahasuerus . . . remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. Then said the king's servants . . . gather together all the fair (beautiful) young virgins . . . And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen. . . . [This] pleased the king; and he did so (2:1-4).
In the third year of his reign, it appears that the Persian King Ahasuerus summoned all the chief leaders of his kingdom to an extended feast that lasted six months (Esther 1:3-4). It was probably during this time that Ahasuerus announced his plan to conquer Greece. He then arranged another feast, this one lasting only seven days (1:5). During thisecond feast, Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house. . . . On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded . . . the seven chamberlains . . . to bring Vashti . . . to [show] the people . . . her beauty (1:9-11). Ahasuerus became enraged when Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment (1:12). The king consented to the suggestion of his advisors, who said: Let the king give her royal estate [to] another [who] is better than she. . . . Many maidens were gathered unto Shushan the palace . . . Esther was brought also (1:19, 2:8).
Hadassah was the Hebrew name of the Jewish orphan whose Persian name was Esther (Star). She was taken to the king's palace along with other maidens, either to be made queen or to become a part of the king's harem. Esther found herself in a situation over which she had no control. She and her cousin Mordecai, who had adopted her (2:7,15), could only trust God for direction and protection.
To complicate their situation, the man given the power to enforce the king's command was the evil and self-serving Haman (3:10,15; 6:6-10; 7:9). Haman, an Amalekite and a descendant of Esau (3:1), hated all Jews and was determined to destroy them (Deuteronomy 25:17-19). However, we should never doubt that God is in ultimate control, regardless of how difficult our situation may appear.
Like Esther, you too may feel like a victim of circumstances beyond your control. You may feel trapped where you are and you may long for a position where you would be free to "do something for the Lord." But God never makes a mistake or overlooks our situation. We should not give in to self-pity and defeat, but remain faithful and look to the Lord and His Word for guidance and strength, regardless of circumstances. Like Mordecai, we cannot bow down to the Hamans of this world who would seek to destroy our loyalty to Christ. As Mordecai said to Esther, God is saying to all of us: Thou art come to the kingdom for such time as this (Esther 4:14). We are where He needs us to be to fulfill His will. Our responsibility is to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. . . . [and] present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God (2 Corinthians 10:5; Romans 12:1).
By Mordecai, who adopted Esther (Esther 2:15). We are adopted into the family of God by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5): Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:5), and we are now called the sons of God (1 John 3:1).
1:10 chamberlains = officials; 2:16 Tebeth compares with our December/January; 3:8 to suffer them = to let them remain; 3:13 Adar compares with our February/March; 3:15 posts = special messengers.
Government Official: Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA) · Pray for your Pastor · Country: Indonesia (216 million) five large and 13,662 lesser islands in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Bahasa Indonesian (modified form of Malay) and English · Growing pressure from Muslim leaders to limit advances of Christianity by not renewing many of the missionaries' permits to stay in the country · 44% Muslim; 35% Islamic mixtures; 10% Protestant; 4% animist; 4% Roman Catholic; 2% Hindu; 1% Buddhist · Prayer Suggestion: Confess wrongs you have committed to the Lord and to those whom you have hurt; ask for forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24).
Optional Reading: Galatians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Timothy 3:16