Saturday May 2, 2020
Beauty for Ashes
1 Later when King Xerxes’ fury had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. 2 Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. 3 Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. 4 Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it.
5 Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, 6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
“The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled” (Isaiah 2:17) No surprise that King Xerxes approves of the plan from his advisors. We are finally introduced to the hero of our story in startling contrast to everything that has preceded. Our heroes of the faith come from unexpected and surprising places. Though there has been no evidence of the persecution of the Jews thus far under King Xerxes, we are reminded the Jews were taken from Jerusalem into exile. Esther is a Jew and an orphan but she is beautiful. So the king might desire her and we’re led to believe she will become one of the women brought before the king.
No amount of wealth, status, or special connections led to Esther’s opportunity to be queen. Only God. From the ashes of exile, God can make something beautiful. In no way is our time of shelter in place comparable to exile, but we are living through a liminal time unsure of what is to come. What is God doing in your life through this period? Where is he making beauty from ashes? Are there opportunities you have to move deeper into the purpose he has for your life?
Prayer for Today
Morning Prayer from Saint Patrick
I arise today
Through the sength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.
Christ shield me today
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.
The First 15
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