Devotional on Esther

Long range planning

Esther 4: Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.
I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that Haman probably hated the Jews long before Mordecai gets under his skin by not bowing down to him. I think that when the old man at the gate doesn’t feed his ego Haman takes note of him. When he finds out that he’s a Jew it triggers his plan to do away with a race of people he already hates. And, clearly, Haman has been on the elevator upward in Xerxes’ kingdom for some time now. Haman is a schemer who willingly bypasses small gains if doing so fits in with his bigger plans. If these two guesses are correct, Mordecai’s words here are especially accurate. That is, he doesn’t think that God gave Esther her beauty and then engineered her being made queen as a “just in case” measure. He believes God has been aware of the circumstances of all this all along. With that in mind, the Lord began putting together a plan of his own and that plan is what brings Esther to the position she now holds. Up to now Mordecai and Esther have tried to react to the unexpected events of life as a people of God should. Now they realize that God is depending on their faithfulness to accomplish his own purposes. This passage reminds me that even when I can’t see the big picture that God can and when unexpected things happen (both good and bad) they might just be a part of something bigger than I know.
Take Away: Even when I don’t see the big picture I can trust in the One who can.

Devotional on Esther

2019 – Yorktown, VA

Resistance is futile
Esther 3: There is an odd set of people scattered through the provinces of your kingdom who don’t fit in.
On the TV show “Star Trek the Next Generation” Captain Picard’s big enemy is the Borg. This mechanical-biological menace goes around “assimilating” people. Once the poor person is captured, they are melted into the Borg and lose their self-identity. When Jerusalem falls its citizens are relocated to various places in the Babylon Empire in an attempt to assimilate them. Conquered people are expected to lose their self-identity and simply see themselves as part of that vast kingdom. However, the Jewish people were called by God Almighty to be a “chosen people” centuries earlier. Obviously, there were many failures, still they resisted assimilation in Egypt and again when they moved into the Promised Land. Now, they insist on seeing themselves as, not just part of Xerxes kingdom, but as a people in exile. Haman is a bad guy who wants revenge on Mordecai by eliminating both him and his entire race, but he’s right when he says they “don’t fit in.” Okay, from Star Trek to Babylon to today…we too are a called out people. We’re the Church and we’re called to be in the world but not of it. As the fictional Picard resists being assimilated and as the historical Jews resisted, so are we to resist. We interact with our culture, influence it, and confront it — but as God’s people we must never be assimilated by it.
Take Away: Resistance is not futile.