Read: Esther 1:1-2:23
What a wild and screwed up story. The Persians had conquered the Babylonians and King Xerxes now rules over the empire. He banishes his uncooperative wife and sends a declaration in all the languages of the empire that husbands rule and wives drool (or at least must submit). The interaction between the king and his advisors over this topic reminds me of a “logical” conversation among middle-schoolers.
Anyway, the queen is banished and the king needs a new queen. Cue Esther and of course all the other beautiful virgins in the kingdom. They go through a full year of beauty treatments to be prepared to be a one-night-stand for the King. The hope is that the king will take notice of their beauty and skill and invite one of them to be his queen. Esther is chosen…
Esther is pretty and made an impression on the king so she gets to be queen and share the king with hundreds if not thousands of concubines. I struggle to see the hand or the presence of God in this story – at least at this point. God does end up using Esther and this situation to save His people (you’ll have to keep reading in the days ahead for the rest of the story).
But the point I find in today’s reading is that even in the midst of the most twisted situations, God is still working the bigger picture for His purpose and our good. Not that He approves of the morality of the situation, but “He will work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”(Romans 8:28)
He redeems our messed up stories and brings beauty and blessing through them. How many heroes of the Bible were former prostitutes (Rahab & Mary Magdalene), liars (Jacob), murderers (David), philanderers (Solomon), or persecutors of God’s people (Paul). Esther was a sex slave who became queen. It wasn’t her fault that she was in those circumstances, but at the end of the day they were screwed up circumstances.
The point isn’t that we should seek to be immoral, and sometimes we are forced into immoral situations. The point is that God isn’t afraid of our past or even our current struggles. In fact, He’s working in the midst of them and has a good track record of redeeming pasts and sovereignly establishing futures.
This is good news for all of us! Because we all have a past. (Take a listen to this great song by Gungor)
Father, thank You that You use and redeem the broken situations and even the sin in my life. I pray that You will do that in me today. In Jesus’ name, amen.