Sunday 4 November, 2018

Esther 2:1-11

2 Later when King Xerxes’ fury had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. 2 Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. 3 Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. 4 Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it. 5 Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, 6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died. 8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. 9 She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem. 10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. 11 Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.

The Jews find themselves in Babylon, which is probably the last place they expected to be. After all, Israel was their promised land.

As I read this passage, I began to think of what it would have been like to be a Jew in this story. Where was God? Had he abandoned them? What about his promises to Abraham? And to David? The king was no longer on the throne, in fact he was a slave to the Babylon King.  Cut of from their land, did they have a future?

The big question is, where was God in all of this?

God was there, even if they didn’t see him. God was definitely at work, putting key people into key positions for events that were yet to happen.

This particular story is how Ester was positioned by God, to be the next queen. Why Ester? She had no idea now, but later she would.

I have also asked the same question, where is God in all of this – in my life when things are not as I expected or planned?

Even though Esther had no idea what was to come, God was working things out for Israel. Specific moves – Esther to queen (sounds like chess) to counter the move Haman would later make against the Jews.

In the same way, God is working on my behalf, for things that are ahead of me that I don’t yet see.

God’s promise to us never changes – that he causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Father I thank you that you are at work on my behalf. I don’t need to know how, but I trust you, because you do.

Written by Andrew Martin

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