Check out all the previous Esther readings here.
Esther Reading Plan | Week 2 | Day 1
As you come to spend time with Jesus, calm your mind and body until you feel fully present.
Psalm 103:8 says, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Thank God for his compassion and grace as you come to meet with him today.
Bible Reading: Esther 1:1-12
Read these verses three times slowly.
This is what happened during the time of Xerxes, the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush: At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.
For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa. The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones. Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king’s liberality. By the king’s command each guest was allowed to drink with no restrictions, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.
Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.
On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona,Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.
Reflection & Questions
The story of Esther doesn’t begin with the character Esther. It begins with King Xerxes. He is a powerful king in the land of Persia, and he wants everyone to know it. He throws a massive party, with extravagant decorations and an open bar. Everyone got what they wished for and the king got all the credit. Xerxes power trip came to a screeching halt though when his wife, Queen Vashti, denied submitting to his depraved request. The king was “furious and burned with anger.” He felt his power meant he got whatever he wanted. He felt he was the center of the universe, and everyone owes him.
In contrast to Xerxes, Jesus is a far greater King, more powerful than Xerxes could dream of. He’s displayed his power for all to see (through creation). He was rejected by his people, but instead of responding in anger, he came in love and sacrificed his own life for us. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This week in our readings, we are going to see how Jesus is the far better King, and how when we’re in his Kingdom, we can live like Him.
- Anger can often be a response when we don’t get what we think we deserve or should expect. When do you find yourself getting angry? Why? How could you respond differently?
- Are you giving Jesus your allegiance as your King? How do you know?
Pray in response to today’s reading.
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
Prepare to Meet with Jesus
Go to your quiet place. When there are no devices around that will distract you, take three deep breaths. Ask God for His help to understand and listen.
Bible Reading: Esther 1:1-4
Read these verses three times slowly.
King Xerxes ruled over the 127 territories in his kingdom. They reached from India all the way to Cush. Here is what happened during the time Xerxes ruled over the whole Persian kingdom. He was ruling from his royal throne in the fort of Susa. In the third year of his rule King Xerxes gave a feast. It was for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media were there. So were the princes and the nobles of the territories he ruled over.
Every day for 180 days he showed his guests the great wealth of his kingdom. He also showed them how glorious his kingdom was.
Reflection & Questions
Showing off new skills to your parents or grandparents can be fun. They always want to see how you are learning and growing, but have you ever been around someone who bragged and showed off to everyone? Or someone who used nice things to get you to do what they wanted? Maybe they said you could play their game if you did something for them, or they offered to give you something if you let them play with your game. That can be annoying.
King Xerxes was showing off. He wanted everyone to know how rich and powerful he was, so he threw a huge party. It lasted six months! He planned to get the military leaders, the princes, and the nobles to do what he wanted by impressing them and making himself seem stronger than all of them. This was how he was leading the people he was in charge of.
He wanted them on his side so that he could take over even more territories. He already ruled most of the land that we call the Middle East and even part of Africa, but he wanted more. He was willing to do whatever he could to get the people he was in charge of to help him. He wanted them to like him, but he also wanted them to be a bit afraid of him so that he could tell them what to do.
When we ask God to help us with our friendships and relationships with our family, He helps us to be more like Jesus. He shows us how to love others and not just get them to do what we want.
- Did Jesus show off and brag to people? Do you think he would do what Xerxes did if he were in Xerxes’ shoes?
- How do you feel when someone is being nice or sharing with you just to get you to do something? Or when they brag about everything they can do that you can’t?
- Does that make you think of Jesus’ love or not?
Ask God to help you learn as we read through Esther. Today, you can ask Him to help you love other people and not just try and get them to do what you want. Ask Him to help you keep up with the readings each day, and remember to talk to Him.
Check out more Bible Reading Plans here.