Day 1 - Esther 2:8-10, 15-18

Esther Wins Favor

This is a strange time that can leave us feeling like we just took a detour. Esther learned a thing or two about detours in her incredible story. This book starts with an embarrassed king. At the end of a banquet that lasted 180 days, King Xerxes summoned his wife, Queen Vashti, to parade herself in front of his guests. Vashti refused him and Xerxes threw her out. He then staged a kingdom-wide beauty contest to choose a new queen. Esther, a Jewish orphan who has been brought up by her cousin Mordecai, is one of the young women taken by force to the palace. Check it out.

8 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. 9 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. 10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.

Parts of this story feel like a soap opera. It’s so incredible and compelling, but how do we relate to it? Well, Esther has a secret. She’s a Jew. And although God’s name isn’t mentioned in this entire book, Esther’s story is very much an example of God taking care of his people. Our God is unchanging and he still takes care of us today. It’s no coincidence that out of a kingdom of beautiful girls, Esther is singled out and given favor.

Think of a time you chalked something up to coincidence and later saw God’s hand in it. How did He show you favor?

15 When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. 16 She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.

It’s hard not to see this for what it is. Esther was forced to participate in the very first episode of The Bachelor. Talk about a detour. But whatever she does, Esther keeps winning people’s favor. We know she’s beautiful, but surely many of the young ladies were beautiful. Perhaps it was her secret that set her apart. She was one of God’s chosen people. And before she was chosen by Hegai and ultimately the king to be favored, Esther was favored by God. You can picture a proud Xerxes toasting his new, beautiful wife. And as you pan over to her, you can see a terrified little girl. She’s dressed in a costume to make her look like a Persian, smiling with tears in her eyes because everything she’s ever known has changed -her relationships, her faith, her standing, her hopes, and her fears. We’ve been in a place like this before. A diagnosis. A late night phone call with devastating news. A layoff.  We can all “fill in the blank” with a situation of our own where we found ourselves at a loss or at the very least unsure of what God was doing and why he was doing it.

Have you ever been in a situation where suddenly  everything changed? How were you able to see God in that situation?

If you’re still in it and you can’t see God, lock into Esther this week. Through this incredible story, we can see God’s faithfulness and His provision.

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