The Morning After

Carol Bechtel

Read: Esther 2:1-18

“And let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This pleased the king, and he did so. (v. 4)

When Ahasuerus wakes up after his one-hundred-eighty-seven-day drinking bash, he discovers that he has banished Queen Vashti. His courtiers comfort him by suggesting a contest for a new queen.

As we read the story of how the young Jewish girl, Esther, gets caught in the king’s dragnet, we would do well to remember that this is not like a modern-day beauty pageant. The “Miss Persia” contestants are not volunteers, and there are no scholarships or parting gifts. Even the winner gets only the dubious honor of marrying King Ahasuerus. For all of his power and majesty, this king is not the brightest light in the harbor. And for a Jewish girl, the prospect of marrying a heathen king could not have been very appealing.

Remember, too, that Esther is triply vulnerable: she is an exile, a woman, and an orphan. When she is conscripted to compete for Miss Persia, it’s no wonder her guardian and cousin, Mordecai, spends his days pacing with worry at the gates of the harem.

When Esther “wins” we’re not sure whether to laugh or cry. She may have wondered herself. And she must surely have wondered why God had put her in this odd position. —Carol Bechtel

As you pray, ask God to guide you when you wonder what his plans are for you. Ask him to help you trust him and follow where he leads.