Tag Archives: queen

Through the Bible, June 18

Reading: Esther 1-3

Summary: After the first group of Jews returns to Jerusalem (as led by Zerubbabel, Ezra 1-6), but before the second group (as led by Ezra, Ezra 7-10), an incredible drama unfolds back in Persia and is recorded as the book of Esther.

No greater example of God’s providential care is found anywhere in Scripture than in the story of Esther.

Today’s reading sets all the pieces in place.  Esther is chosen to the position of queen as Haman also attains to a position of high prominence, but also plans his villainous plot to exterminate Mordecai and his people, the Jews.

Devotional Thought:

God is Nowhere and Everywhere

The book of Esther is odd.  Not one time is God explicitly mentioned in this entire book.  Not once.  But neither is the presence of God any more evident than in the events unfolded in its pages.

“God” is nowhere in Esther and God is everywhere in Esther.

A memorable cartoon pictures two figures sitting at the bar of a saloon.  One of them is impeccably dressed; broad-brimmed large cowboy hat, rhinestone studded and colorful western-cut shirt with pressed jeans held up by a belt sporting a very sizable, shiny buckle and tucked into highly-polished pointy-toed boots.  The other wore a crumpled hat, wrinkled shirt, sagging jeans, over dusty, mud (or something else) caked boots—a generally disheveled look.  The latter says wryly to the former, “I see by the way you are dressed that you are a cowboy.”

Externals are sometimes—not always—superficial.  Externals get noticed.  Externals can be seen by others.  Externals can also be deceptive. The appearance they give can belie the reality within.

A cowboy is evidenced more by what he does, not what he wears.  The presence of God in Esther is not measured by the number of times He’s called by name in that book.  Our place as a follower of Christ is not established by the jewelry we wear, the t-shirt logos we sport, or even the assemblies we attend or how loudly we praise Him.  It’s His presence in our lives. It’s His love reflected to others.  It’s His compassion for people in need. It’s His commitment to fulfill the Father’s will.

“God” isn’t in Esther but He is, just as Christ must be in us.

My Delight is the Lord, August 27

The Very Good From the Very Bad

August 27, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 11:1-12:18

Talk about a dysfunctional family. Grandma Athaliah “destroyed all the royal family” (11:1). After her son, Ahaziah the king, was killed, she eliminated all the potential heirs to the throne.  That is, she killed all her grandkids. (Now there’s a sentence you don’t write very often.) Well, at least she thought she did. One grandson, Joash was saved. Seven years later, Athaliah was ousted (killed, is what she was) and Joash (also known as Jehoash) became the child-king. Incredibly he “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days” (12:2). Certainly we would all love to have strong, stable, God-fearing families. That would be God’s preference as well. But, not everyone is so blessed. And, even when that is not the case, it does not spell automatic spiritual doom. Joash is testament to that. As was his own experience, the influence for good sometimes comes from somewhere else (Jehoida the priest in this instance; 12:2). Never fear, dysfunctional family or not, good and right can still prevail!

Questions to Ponder:

  • Who had killed Ahaziah? (see 9:24-28)
  • Who orchestrated Athaliah’s ouster? (11:4-8)
  • In what act did Jehoida lead the people? (11:17)
  • What project did Joash undertake? (12:4-5)