Tag Archives: Book of Esther

Devotional on Esther

The first beauty pageant?

Esther 1: He wanted to show off her beauty to the guests and officials.
Honestly, I don’t know what to do by way of “devotionally blogging” from much of the book of Esther. In spite of the seriousness of the threat to the people of God, portions of the story read like a TV sitcom. Xerxes throws a big drinking party, and after seven days of drunken revelry he gets the bright idea of putting his wife, Queen Vashti, on display for his guests. Vashti, who’s been having a party of her own, is insulted and refuses to come to be looked over by a bunch of drunks. So, instead of impressing all his buddies with what a manly man he is to have such a beautiful wife it appears that in spite of Xerxes ruling a vast kingdom that here at home it’s the hen that’s ruling the roost. Xerxes is so upset that he calls in his “expert advisors.” These “yes men” agree with him that it just won’t do for women to refuse to do their drunken husband’s bidding and suggest that Vashti be banished from ever seeing the king again (this is supposed to be a punishment, right?). Then, to replace her, they’ll have a beauty contest to pick a woman even more beautiful than Vashti to take her place. Xerxes goes along with his (obviously all male) board of advisors. Now, the story is ready for the lovely Jewess Esther to enter the picture. Again, not much devotional material here, but it is an interesting read.
Take Away: What can I say? Sometimes powerful people do dumb things.

Devotional on Esther

God has always had a people

Esther 1: This is the story of something that happened in the time of Xerxes.
Throughout history there’s been more than one attempt to destroy the people of God. It seems that the enemies of God’s think that if they get rid of his people they’ll get rid of him too. That’s mistaken in two ways. God is God, and killing his followers won’t kill Him, in fact, it will only make him angry. Second, God always has a people. Even when evil has the upper hand, by God’s mercy, there will be at least a remnant that will survive and extend his story to the next generation. In the story of Esther, we see God intervene and spare all his people. To this day, the Jews celebrate this event which is called “Purim.” One of the main characters in the story is Xerxes who rules Persia 465 years before Christ is born. Included in his vast kingdom is the exiled people of God. In spite of the pitiful picture of Xerxes in Scripture, he is, at least early in his career, a pretty successful king winning major battles and taking even more territory. Late in his reign history pictures him pretty much as he is said to be in the book of Esther: self-centered, drunken, and foolish.
Take Away: It’s such a privilege to be counted as one of God’s people.