The events of Esther Chapter 1 were, I suspect, nothing unusual in the annals of power in civilisations through the ages and were it not for the intervention of God in the affairs of Persia at this time they would have gone unnoticed. However on this occasion the search for a replacement for the deposed Vashti led to the Jewish inhabitants of Persia, who were the ‘apple of God’s eye’ (Zechariah 2.8 and other references) coming under the threat of annihilation and that could not happen!
Some time after the king’s anger had abated his advisers suggested a scheme for finding a new Queen. A search was to be made in all provinces of the kingdom for ‘beautiful young virgins’ to be brought into the royal harem in Susa and after appropriate cosmetic treatment the one that most pleased the king would take Vashti’s place.
It so happened (if you believe in chance) or God was working out his purposes (if you believe in the Sovereign God revealed in scripture) that a Jewish orphan was one of those selected from the beautiful virgins across the kingdom.
Esther was bring brought up by her cousin, one Moredcai, and he took great care and interest in all that happened to her. He must, I think, have been deeply disturbed by what was happening to Esther but made no protest or intervention apart from telling Esther not to make known the fact that she was a Jew – one of God’s chosen people.
It appears from the account in Chapter 2 of this great saga that Mordecai simply carried out his duty to a member of his family and was possibly aware of the letter the Prophet Jeremiah sent to the exiles in Babylon (Jeremiah 29.1-7). We are not told how Mordecai had come to be in Susa but in the providence of God he was.
Esther was elevated to the position that Vashti had held, amidst great celebrations (2.17-18) and conscious of his blood relationship with Esther, Mordecai sat at the king’s gate where he subsequently overheard a plot against the king. He reported this to Esther. The plot was verified and the plotters hanged and ‘It was recorded in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king’ (2.23. ESV)
Two chapters of this fascinating book have brought us to this point and had we not read it before and discovered the ending we would likely be wondering ‘why is this in the canon of scripture?’
I offer just one point of application which I believe is relevant to us today.
We have here, members of God’s people, living lives in a foreign land (similar in a number of ways to the account of Daniel in Babylon), simply going about their daily lives, where God had placed them ready to be used by him for the blessing of his people.
Is that how you view your position this morning?