Archive for May 24th, 2018

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Esther is the heroine of the biblical book that bears her name. Her Jewish name was Hadassah, which means “myrtle.” Her beauty, charm, and courage served her well as queen to King Ahasuerus. In that role she was able to save her people from the mass extermination that Haman, the king’s chief advisor, had planned (2:19–4:17). Esther’s efforts to uncover the plot resulted in the hanging of Haman on the very same gallows that he had built for Mordecai, her uncle and guardian. Then the king named Mordecai minister of state in Haman’s place. This story is an example of how God intervenes on behalf of his people to deliver them from evil, as here through Esther he preserved the Old Testament people through whom the Messiah would come. 

The Name of God is not mentioned once in The Book of Esther, nevertheless His providence is throughout  the narrative. In  the narrative of Joseph, Genesis 37-50, the Lord is spoken of yet does not speak much or seems to be directly involved, yet His providential hand has left His, if you will, hand prints all over the narrative forming Joseph. The Lord is Emmanuel, God with us.   In the end of the narrative Joseph tells his 11 brothers, who did great evil against Joseph,

“Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

(Gen. 50) In Esther, Mordecai says to Esther, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4: 14)  The Lord is working deeply in and for His people. We wonder why the Lord is silent, yet by faith we are assured by His Word in Esther and Genesis, and many other places in Scripture, the Lord is working His salvation for His faithful people.

When Esther is brought before the King, though she is offered to wear beautiful clothes, she does not.  She is a virtuous woman.  “…commendable friendship which maintains virtue is to be preferred most certainly to wealth or honors or power.”–(St. Ambrose of Milan, on The Book of Esther)  Mordecai does not pay homage to a man, Haman.  Esther and Mordecai have a commendable friendship for they both maintained virtue as they were formed and informed by God’s Word.  Such strength of virtue from the Lord sustained them through trial and temptation, as it did for Joseph falsely accused and then imprisoned. 

We need more than ever to be so formed for the times we are in and we will be, but not by the times themselves. The Jews were a target for the malice of the world.  Esther was called to help stop, “the destruction of the Jews.” (Esther 4: 7)  Their destruction was stopped then.  Centuries later, the destruction of the Jews would be tried once more and it was horrific:  the 6 million and that time it was not the gallows but the gas chambers of the Nazis.  Yet, the Jews were  not destroyed.  And as their younger brothers, Christians, have not been destroyed.  Esther and Mordecai stepped into the breach.  We must also  say No to tyranny and Yes to freedom in Jesus Christ, Son of Israel. Though the world bends the knee before wealth, honors and power, we know they are its unholy idols and by which we are tried and tempted to leave the Lord we love and who so loved us.  We, with Esther and Mordecai, must assert, The Lord our God, the Lord alone is God.  Thus He forms us in commendable friendships to maintain virtue in a time gone awry and upside down.

 Let us pray,   

O God, You graced your servant Queen Esther not only with beauty and elegance but also with faith and wisdom. Grant that we, too, might us the qualities that Your have generously bestowed on us for the glory of Your mighty name and for the good of Your people, that through Your work in us, we may be advocates of the oppressed and defenders of the weak, preserving our faith in the great High Priest who intercedes on our behalf, Jesus Christ , who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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