Esther Reading Plan | Week 3 | Day 2
Take thirty seconds to be silent. Be still and listen to yourself breathing. This will help you to be present to hear from God. After this moment of silence, thank God that you can trust Him with everything in your life.
Bible Reading: Esther 2:8-18
Read these verses three times slowly.
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. 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.
Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.
Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Reflection & Questions
Yesterday, we read that a depraved beauty contest to find the new queen was launched. And we met Esther, a young woman living in broken dreams – her parents had died and she lived in an unwelcoming land to her Jewish nationality.
Today, we read that Esther finds herself thrust into this beauty contest. We’re not told if she is happy about that or not, but we are told that she goes along with it all. She pleases the harem boss, she keeps her identity secret and she does everything she can to win the king over. Was this under duress, was this willing compromise or was this the best she could do in an impossible situation? We’re not told and we are not told on purpose.
Often broken dreams led to complex, painful decisions or situations. We find ourselves wanting to fix the brokenness – perhaps through compromising our morals, or burying our hurt or trying to do our best when everything seems like a bad choice. We don’t know why Esther did what she did, but what we will find out is that God was at work in a special way behind the scenes in her life in spite of her broken dreams and impossible situation. He is doing something amazing. It’s the same for you. Hold on. Watch what He will do.
- Are you trusting God with your broken dreams and impossible situations or are you trying to fix them in compromising ways?
- Who is someone you know who is walking through a broken dream? What could you do to encourage them today?
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 with no devices to distract you. Take three deep breaths. Listen as you stay still and quiet for 30 seconds. Ask God for His help to read and understand.
Bible Reading: Esther 2:8-9
Read these verses three times slowly.
After the king’s order and law were announced, many young women were brought to the fort of Susa. Hegai was put in charge of them. Esther was also taken to the king’s palace. She was put under the control of Hegai. He was in charge of the place where the young women stayed. Esther pleased him. He showed her how happy he was with her. Right away, he provided her with her beauty care and special food. He appointed seven female attendants to help her. They were chosen from the king’s palace. He moved her and her attendants into the best part of the place where the young women stayed.
Reflection & Questions
I used to want to be a princess. I thought I would wear a crown and silk gowns and live in a castle. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live in times or places where kings and queens are in charge? My dream was not very realistic. Kings in the Persian Empire were in charge of everyone. If the king told you to do something, you had to do it. If he had a special job for you, you had to do it. If he kicked you out of the kingdom, you had to leave.
The king wanted to choose a new queen to replace Vashti. He had his servants gather up all the prettiest young women. The young women did not get to choose. The king told them they had to go. Esther was chosen to go to the palace. Living in the palace might have sounded fun, but it also meant that all her other plans would change. Would God be with her there?
Once she got to the place where the young women stayed, she was noticed by Hegai, who was in charge of all the young women. She was one of the first to get beauty treatments and special food. Hegai assigned other young women to serve her and spend time with her. She did not choose to be there, but she was treated well.
- Do you think Esther was sad about leaving her house and her friends?
- Why do you think she was treated so well at the palace?
- The Bible doesn’t tell us that Esther prayed. Do you think she did?
- Do you think God had a plan for Esther?
Thank God for taking care of you, even when you don’t get to choose what happens in your life. Ask Him to help you trust that He has a plan for you.
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