Wednesday 28 May, 2014

Esther 1:1-9

1 King Xerxes ruled over the 127 territories in his kingdom. They reached from India all the way to Cush. Here is what happened during the time Xerxes ruled over the whole Persian kingdom. 2 He was ruling from his royal throne in the safest place in Susa. 3 In the third year of his rule King Xerxes gave a big dinner. It was for all of his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media were there. So were the princes and the nobles of the territories he ruled over. 4 Every day for 180 days he showed his guests the great wealth of his kingdom. He also showed them how glorious his kingdom was. 5 When those days were over, the king gave another big dinner. It lasted for seven days. It was held in the garden of the king’s courtyard. It was for all of the people who lived in the safest place in Susa. Everyone from the least important person to the most important was invited. 6 The garden was decorated with white and blue linen banners. They hung from ropes that were made out of white linen and purple cloth. The ropes were connected to silver rings on marble pillars. There were gold and silver couches in the garden. They were placed on a floor that was made out of small stones. The floor had purple crystal, marble, mother-of-pearl and other stones of great value. 7 Royal wine was served in gold cups. Each cup was different from all of the others. There was plenty of wine. The king always provided as much as his guests wanted. 8 He commanded that they should be allowed to drink as much or as little as they wished. He directed all of his servants to give them what they asked for. 9 Queen Vashti also gave a big dinner. Only women were invited. It was held in the royal palace of King Xerxes.

We all love stories. In the New Testament Jesus used many stories as parables to say what he wanted to say. Here in the book of Esther the writer is setting the scene for a story. The scene involves great wealth, magnificent extravagance and a display of generosity. In this passage we do not yet enter into the story of what happened following this banquet. Despite that, I think we can learn from this passage.

There is much detail about the furnishings and opulence of the banquet. No words are wasted in the Bible so we can ask why the vivid description? I think the answer is that King Xerxes seemed to rely on his wealth and opulence for his satisfaction. Jesus said “Where your treasure is your heart will be also”. King Xerxes’ heart was shown in his gold goblets, ornate decorations and free flowing wine.

My response to this is: “Where is my heart? Am I relying on God; making my relationship with him the most important thing in my life? Or am I relying on material possessions, experiences, status, friends or family to make me feel secure?” I need to always come back to seeking God first. Only when my priorities and my heart are right will I have true satisfaction.

Heavenly Father, I give you my heart afresh today. Thank you for loving me so much. Help me to always put you first in my life. Amen

Written by Megan Cornell

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