Scripture Read: Esther 1 - 2
Title: Esther is Chosen as Queen
(H) Highlight verse: "The kingloved Esther more than all women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti." Esther 2:17
(E) Explain: The Book of Esther is a unique book of the Old Testament, primarily because in original Hebrew written account there is no mention of religious ceremony or even the mention of the name of God. The lesser known Jewish Festival, Purim is based on the reading of Esther. You can read more about Purim AT THIS LINK
Esther reads more like a soap opera than a biblical account of God's providence. However, God's providence is believed to be the central theme of the book. It's a story about how God provides for and protects His chosen people in the face of a potential mass genocide.
The key characters of this story are King Ahasuerus (aka Xerxes I), Queen Vashti, Esther, Mordecai and Haman. The story begins by describing the King as a pompous braggart who delights in showing off his fortunes. The king throws a party complete with excessive drinking, and debauchery. While the king is throwing his party his wife, Queen Vashti throws a party for the other women who belonged to the king. At a certain point the king calls for Vashti to come so that he may show off her beauty. He calls for her to come, according to Jewish tradition, with nothing on but her royal crown. The queen refused to be treated this way and put on display for all to see so she refused the kings order. Unfortunately for her, the king was infuriated and had her stripped of her crown and cast from his presence as his queen.
Wanting to replace his wife the king decreed that all young virgins be brought to the king so he could pick one to become his new Queen. Enter Esther. Esther was a beautiful Jewish woman who was raised by Mordecai a Jewish exile living in Persia. Mordecai checks on Esther daily to make sure she was doing ok. One day Mordecai hears of a plot by two Eunichs to harm the king, so he told Queen Esther and they were investigated, found guilty and hung in the gallows.
(A) Application: I am going to be honest and say that finding an application in these first two chapters is difficult. However, I think that these first two chapters are essential to setting up the main point of Esther and that is God's providence. The doctrine of God's providence is simply defined as God's intervention in His creation. God's providence is when God steps in and intervenes in the many areas of our lives i.e. creation, humanity, natural and unnatural events etc. His providence assures us that God is in control... There is nothing that has or will happen that He does not know about. God can and does intervene at times to make sure that his will is accomplished. God is not surprised. Now, I don't want to give any indication that providence is a doctrine that is easy to understand and/or even easy to accept. In God's providence we see that He is in control, but this includes being in control of the good and the bad. I cannot explain the "why's" of God's providence. Why do bad things happen? Why does God allow...? If God is so good then why did ...? I have no reasonable answer other than Romans 11:34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" And in in Isaiah 55:8 - 9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." In reading these verses I can truly say that I trust the sovereign God and His providence, He knows what's best and He does and allows things to happen because his plan, mind and thoughts are higher than mine.
(R) Respond: Lord I may not always understand your providence and plans, but I trust that you are in control of all things.
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