Suggested Reading: Esther 1-2
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Key Verses: Esther 2:7
And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.
Esther’s name means “Star” in the Persian language. Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name for Xerses, King of Persia (modern day Iran). The historian Herodotus refers to the six month long banquet (of today’s reading) as the occasion of Xerxes’ planning for the expansion of his empire into Europe. Persia was defeated in a sea battle just off the coast of Greece (479 BC). Xerxes then headed home where he sought a new Queen. A few days ago we were reading from the book of Ezra. The story of Esther fits between chapters 7 & 8 of Ezra. Xerxes is called Artaxerxes in Ezra.
God chose an orphan girl, raised by her closest relative, Mordecai, to save His ancient people from a holocaust which would have otherwise destroyed the Jewish people. God had long-term plans for the Jews, which continue to this day. God also has plans to bless all of us too, as long as we, like Mordecai and Esther, co-operate with His plans by our own free will. Like Esther, we may not comprehend what God is doing at the present time, but as we are faithful, someday we will look back and we will see that God was at work.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, I pray that all the plans You have for me will be accomplished as I am faithful to read Your word and pray every day. You have said that You desire to give me “a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11-13). I believe You are at work in me and in the lives and circumstances around me. I ask these mercies in Jesus’ Name, Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
I’ve stood on the eastern shore of the Ionian Sea at Salamis, between Athens and Corinth, and imagined the defeat of Xerxes’ mighty naval armada by the smaller and faster Greek ships who set the Persian vessels on fire and forced them to retreat. Xerxes never had a chance to land his army on the shores of Europe. Several years later, the Greek emperor conquered Persia and a new Empire arose under Alexander the Great.
Norma-Jean, my wife of almost 55 years, won’t read this until it’s too late to keep me from telling this story, so here goes. People would often comment about her lovely dresses, and I wouldn’t tell where she purchased her changes of wardrobe. It was at the Hadassah Bazzar. This Jewish women’s organization, named with Esther’s Hebrew name, would sell slightly used clothes at an annual event. Norma-Jean never wanted to miss the great deals at the annual sale. Years later, in the year 2000, our youngest grandson, Nathaniel Shaheen, was born in the “Hadassah” Hospital in Jerusalem. The hospital was one of the projects supported by the Jewish women’s organization in Canada. Norma-Jean always looked great in those dresses as she would often sing on national TV, and a hospital was built and maintained.
Yours for being like Mordecai and Esther, at the right place and at the right time, so that God’s will may be done “on earth as it is in Heaven,”