Highlights In Today's Reading:
A decree to save the Jews is issued (chap. 8) and God brings victory to His people (9:1-19). The Festival of Purim is established to annually remind that with God all things work together for good (9:19-32). King Ahasuerus proclaims Mordecai prime minister, second only to the king, and an advocate for his people (chap. 10).
Man's extremity again proved to be the opportunity of God. The determined day of execution, known as Purim, was turned from death to deliverance. It was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them. . . . When Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his (Haman's) wicked device, which he devised against the Jews, should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. . . . they called these days Purim (plural of Pur) (Esth. 9:1, 25-26). The Jews had a great celebration and have continued the Feast of Purim to this day testifying that what seems to be chance and good luck (to the world) is really the hand of God protecting His people. God uses faithful servants to change world affairs.
In the days of peace and prosperity, we are not as conscious of the presence of God. But when persecution seems to overwhelm us, then God intervenes to uphold, protect, and provide that His people may praise and magnify Him.
None can gain God's best until their faith is tested and they first "pay a price." The rich young ruler who had far less to lose than Esther (Luke 18:18-30) was a "good man" who could have been a disciple — possibly an apostle — for Jesus loved him and said: Sell all that thou hast . . . and come, follow Me (Luke 18:22; Mark 10:17-23). Yet he was unwilling to pay that price. Many today have decided like him to serve self and worldly pleasures rather than pay the price to please Christ. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness (I Cor. 3:19).
The sovereignty of God permeates every chapter. It points out that, in a secular society dominated by the luxury of an oriental court, the tyranny of rulers, the emptiness of regal prominence, the plotting of politicians, and the misery of an oppressed people, even in the nations outside the influence of the covenant people the One True God is still sovereign.
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed. . . . He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision (Ps. 2:2-4).
Thought for Today:
He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10).
By Mordecai, who was exalted from servanthood to a position of honor and glory next unto (the) king (Esth. 8:2,15; 10:3). His life illustrated Christian conduct. Christ came to earth as a servant and was exalted to the right hand of God (Phil. 2:5-11; Mark 16:19).
8:3 put away the mischief = avert the evil; device = scheme; 8:10 posts = couriers; 9:4 waxed greater and greater = became increasingly popular and powerful.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Rick Hash • Government Officials: Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI) • Country: Portugal (10 million) in western Europe • Major language: Portuguese • Limited religious freedom • 95% Christian; 4% non-Religious/Other; .5% Muslim; .1% Hindu; .01% Jewish • Prayer Suggestion: Draw near to God in prayer with a clean and pure heart (James 4:8).
Optional Reading: Galatians 3
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 7:13