Shine like stars!
Lord God, help me to live faithfully for You within the circumstances I find myself in today.
Read ESTHER 2:1–14
 Later when King Xerxes’ fury had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her.  Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, “Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king.  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.  Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it.  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,  who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah.  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.  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.  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.  Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.  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.  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.  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.  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. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat do we know of Mordecai?
Young or old, male or female, powerful or victim… there’s a role for each of us to play in God’s story. Meet the stars of this episode: Mordecai, exile from Jerusalem (5,6), and his adopted daughter, the beautiful Esther (7). The name Hadassah (7) meant “myrtle”—a star-shaped flower which grew in the desert, a symbol of God’s forgiveness and peace (Isa. 41:19,20). Her Persian name “Esther” also echoed the word for star. As God’s “star” in Susa—by name and by nature—Esther would bring peace and relief for God’s people. Being snatched for the king’s harem (8) was a cruel practice in an autocratic culture. Esther had no choice but to submit. Even so, her demeanor won her favor (9). And her careful discretion (10) shows that she was no fading flower. And Mordecai? Possibly from a noble background (5,6), we learn of a kind man who, in exile, had adopted the orphaned Esther (7). We can imagine his desperate anxiety for her, as he sits at the harem gate hoping for news (11). Neither Esther nor Mordecai had power. Yet both were living upright lives in faithful ways in the circumstances in which they found themselves. How would God use them in his story?
“Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life” (Phil. 2:15,16). Hold firmly.
Father, help me to trust that You are with me and are working on my behalf even when I do not see You.
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