June 12, 2004
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
Hadassah was the Hebrew name for 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 faithful, older cousin, Mordecai, who had adopted her (Esther 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 commands was the evil and self-serving Haman (3:10,15; 6:6-9; 7:9). Haman was an Amalekite (Agagite), a descendant of Esau, and Amalekites hated all Jews (3:1; also Genesis 36:12; Deuteronomy 25:17-19; I Samuel 15:2-3, 32-33). When Mordecai refused to bow down in "reverence" (Esther 3:2), Haman was determined to use his authority to destroy Mordecai and all Jews in the kingdom. Haman's plan was declared law with the king's approval and the lot (Pur) was cast to determine the best day to execute all Jews (3:7-13). However, Mordecai and Esther used every legal means to defend the interests of the people of God, even risking their own well-being.
God expects us to do all we can to resolve our own health, job, and financial problems. However, we should never doubt that God is in ultimate control to protect us and provide what we can't do. God never makes a mistake, is never partial, and never overlooks one of His children. 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. Like Mordecai, we must not bow down to the Hamans of this world who would seek to destroy our loyalty to Jesus.
Like Esther, you may feel hopelessly trapped where you are and may long for a time when you would be free to do what you desire. But, Jesus explained the importance of doing your best now with the parable of a man with two talents . . . (who) said (to his master), Lord, you delivered to me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things (Matthew 25:22-23).
By Mordecai, who adopted Esther (Esther 2:15). We are adopted into the family of God by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5), and we are now called children of God (Galatians 3:26; I 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) · Country: Ecuador (13 million) in South America, crossed by the equator · Major language: Spanish · Religious freedom · 91% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant
Prayer Suggestion: Your prayers must be offered to God with the Spirit and understanding (John 4:22-24).
Optional Reading: Galatians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 1:16