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Esther 1-4

5/10/2019

A Devotional Journey 
 led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
 
        Based on the events described (during the reign of the Persian emperor, Xerxes, 486 - 465 B.C.), and characteristics of the language used (a form of Hebrew with no Greek influence), it appears this book was written some time before the return of the exiles to Judah with Ezra (about 458 B.C.), and the conquest of the Persians by Alexander the Great (331 B.C.).
         The purpose is to show the origin of the Jewish festival, Purim, and to record for posterity the deliverance and preservation of God’s people through the Xerxes.  The central biblical theme of a Remnant of God’s Chosen People always being preserved, whether in the face of natural disasters, or God’s punishment for unfaithfulness, as in the Babylonian captivity), is clear in the emperor’s final edict (chapter 8).
         While there is no direct reference to God, worship, prayer or sacrifice (leading many to dismiss its value – Esther is the only Old Testament book not found among the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, and Martin Luther did not include it in his own list of authentic biblical writings!), this may be explained as a literary device.  The reader is forced, more and more unavoidably, to the conclusion that divine intervention must be behind the final escape of the Jewish people, who should have been the victims of a carefully planned and executed program of genocide, cannot simply result from a collection of coincidences (the king’s inability to sleep, and, as he reads from one part of the voluminous annuls of the empire, rediscovery of the great deed of Mordecai, for example). 
         In the first 4 chapters, Esther becomes queen through the understandable rebellion of her predecessor, Vahti.  Her cousin, Mordecai, discovers a plot by the king’s second-in-command, Haman, to annihilate the Jews – a course which may reflect Haman’s ancestry as an Amalakite and the long-standing feud between his people and the Jews (Deuteronomy 25:17-19; 1 Samuel 15; 1 Chronicles 4:42-43), and persuades Esther to help him thwart it.
 
         Have you ever wondered if God had a plan for your life, or if all the good things you have done would ever make any difference?  Mordecai had been a hero (as we see in chapter 6); yet all these years, no one had done anything to reward him.  His knowledge of the court is useful only in securing the ascent of his cousin to be queen, and it would appear that this will be his crowning achievement.  What about his own life?  Why did God not use him more?  Then, at just the right moment (from God’s perspective) Mordecai becomes the key strategist in one of the most important episodes of his people’s history and he is used by God to save 1,000's of them.
         Today, remember that the right moment is only found with God’s perspective.  Trust His timing and keep living the life you have been given.  It is commonly not until we see the ending that life’s middle makes much sense!  Ask God to give you the faith you need to keep going.
 
© A. Eugene Pearson 2010