January 09, 2017

The World We Live In

Esther 1:10-22

He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom . . . that every man should be ruler over his own household.

—  Esther 1:22

The advice of the king’s counselors is ironic. The search process would bring Esther, a Jewish woman who shows great integrity, into the most important house of the empire. She would wisely influence the two most important men in the kingdom, intervening to protect God’s people.

We like to believe that we’re competent managers of our world, especially if we find ourselves in leadership positions. Xerxes had total confidence in his counselors’ search for a new queen. They were surprisingly successful.

As the story develops, Esther impresses the king and becomes his favorite. But no one knows she is a Jew. As it turns out, following Mordecai’s advice not to reveal her nationality at first is wise (Esther 2:10, 20). Eventually Esther’s actions and words would bring triumph for the Jews. Good Persian leadership brought this woman to the right place at the right time. Or was it God’s intervention?

Laughable advice, corrupt search objectives, bad influence from inherited wealth, and threats against the faith are commonplace in our world. When we, as Christ’s disciples, stand before rulers and leaders, let us be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). That’s good advice: “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord” (Proverbs 16:20).

Help us gain wisdom, Lord, that in this world we may speak and behave with integrity in every ­aspect of our lives. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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