Highlights In Today's Reading:
God prepares His plan to preserve His chosen people. Events begin with Queen Vashti being deposed. Esther, from an exiled Jewish family, replaces her (chap. 1 — 2). Mordecai finds favor with the king (2:21-23). Haman, the king's chief advisor, plots to kill the entire Jewish population in Persia (3:7-15).
Between the time Zerubbabel rebuilt the Temple and the time Ezra returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, Ahasuerus (reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces) . . . In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto . . . the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him. . . . he commanded . . . to bring Vashti the queen . . . to shew the people . . . her beauty . . . but . . . Vashti refused (1:1-12) and she was dismissed as queen (1:19). About three years after Ahasuerus (Xerxes) returned to his palace in Shushan, he commanded that a search be made for the most beautiful girls in his kingdom (2:1-4).
Esther, a Jewish orphan, was taken along with other maidens to the king's palace to either become queen or be put in the harem of the dictatorial ruler. Esther was in a situation out of her control. She and her cousin (or possibly uncle), Mordecai, could only trust God, pray, and fast for direction and protection. To complicate their situation, the man charged with enforcing the king's command was the cruel and powerful Haman (3:10,15; 6:10; 7:9). He was an Amalekite descendant of King Agag whom Samuel slew, and he hated all Jews (Ex. 17:14-16; I Sam. 15:33).
You, too, may feel trapped, a victim of circumstances beyond your control. Our responsibility is to be faithful, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. . . . present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . which is your reasonable service. . . . what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (II Cor. 10:5; Rom. 12:1-2). Never doubt that God is in control and knows exactly where you are, why you are there, and when you need to move.
We cannot bow down to the "Hamans" of this world who would rob us of our loyalty to Christ (Rom. 13:1). Although Mordecai and Esther were subject to the Medes and the Persians, they used every legal means to defend the interests of the people of God. As you remain faithful to Him, regardless of your circumstances, know that God hears and answers prayer. There is no need to doubt you are missing God's best.
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11).
Thought for Today:
Be not afraid of sudden fear. . . . For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken (Prov. 3:25-26).
By Mordecai, who adopted Esther (Esth. 2:15). We are adopted into the family of God by Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:5; I John 3:1). Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26).
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.
Pray for English International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Mr. John Kemp and in memory of Gerald Gibbs • Radio Sri Lanka Broadcasts sponsored by John L. O'Donnell • Staff: Ilene Wallace • Government Official: Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA) • Country: Philippines (76 million) in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Filipino and English • Religious persecution in some areas • 80% Catholic; 9% Protestant; 8% Muslim (mostly Sunni); 3% Other (Buddhist, Animist, nonreligious) • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to enable you to endure temptation (James 1:12).
Optional Reading: Galatians 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:33