Monday May 4, 2020
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.
12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.
15 When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. 16 She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Our God is a miracle working God. He lives in eternity and isn’t bound by the constraints of time like we are. In his own time for his own good purpose, God is working for the good of those who are called according to his purpose. Miracles don’t typically come immediately. But they can. Change is slow. Esther is passive and subordinate now because she must be. If God’s people are going to be more than hidden in the massive shadow of the Persian Empire, she must be patient until her opportunity comes. It isn’t time. Vashti’s name’s a reminder of what can easily happen to anyone who refuses Xerxes and she didn’t have the ethnicity and heritage of Esther whose ancestors have been on the losing side of history for hundreds of years. Esther is subjected to the drunken, coercive whims of a powerful king. But God is God. And he alone is Sovereign over all. Esther’s time is coming. The Lord is near. For the unemployed, the lonely, the fearful, and the downcast during this season, keep the faith. This is not the end.
Prayer for Today
Heavenly Father, though sorrow and trouble come our way, though we endure the sting of failure and defeat, though we spend years waiting for a breakthrough, it is only a night. Joy comes in the morning. Your light breaks through the darkness and we are made new. Thank you Jesus. Your love never fails. Help us to love each other as you have loved us. May the works of our hands make mercy and justice and words of our mouths speak grace and truth. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory before all ages, now, and forevermore. Amen
The First 15
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