Yesterday we saw the terrible decisions made by King Ahasuerus (aka Xerxes), and today the providence of God shines through in the midst of what is going on.
If you haven’t read Esther 2 recently, you can do so here.
There is a time gap of around 4 years between the end of chapter 1 and the start of chapter 2 (Esther 1.3 cf. 2.16), in which time Xerxes led a failed invasion of Greece. Depending on where you read about it, you may come across a battle that was widely popularized in the movie ‘300’, “This. Is. Sparta.” ¹ .
Coming back from this failure, it seems that Xerxes wanted to cheer himself up, so organizes what is essentially a ‘Miss Persia’ contest (vv.1-4). Considering this was the world’s biggest Empire at the time, the chances of one girl winning were astronomical, but we know that when the Lord has purposed to do something, it happens. History says 400 were chosen to go through to the next stage, so to speak, this intense beauty regime (vv.12-14). Partly to accentuate what is natural, partly to ensure nobody was already pregnant, Esther found herself among this 400 (vv.5-11).
As the King took poor counsel and made poor decisions in chapter 1, here Esther listens to those who know better than her (v.15), and from the 400 she is chosen to be Queen (vv.16-18).
Esther has gone from an orphan being raised by her cousin (vv.5-7), to being the Queen of the world’s largest Empire. If God has a plan for someone so seemingly insignificant as Esther, we can take a great deal of comfort from knowing that He has a plan for us too.
Chapter 2 ends with Esther’s cousin/guardian Mordecai foiling an assassination attempt on the King’s life (vv.19-23), and this again speaks to the providence of God; Mordecai and Esther found themselves in the right place at the right time, and in the right roles, to be used of God to stand up for what is right and report what is wrong.
Friends, God has a plan for you. It may look different to what you imagined for yourself, but trust Him, His plans are always better than anything we could imagine anyway! Being where you are in the world right now is no accident, being in the job you are in now is no accident, and being surrounded by the people you are now is no accident. We serve a God who is all knowing, all loving, all powerful, and all wise, and either through His declarations or permissions, His good and perfect will is always going to come to fruition. Remember today when things look confusing – God has a plan for you!
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