Esther 1:1 – 3 “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 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.”
Xerxes was a very powerful man – perhaps the most powerful man in the world at that time in history. He ruled over a great empire which extended from India to Ethiopia, through the Fertile Crescent. As we will see in the coming verses, he was a man of countless wealth. He had everything a person could need or want, and more. But it wasn’t enough for him.
The reason he held this great banquet, which included each of his nobles and officials from all 127 provinces, plus their spouses, plus their servants, was to show off his vast wealth. He wanted his constituents to know that he was wealthy and powerful. He needed them to know this, because he was planning to go to war. His 127 provinces weren’t enough to satisfy him. He wanted to conquer Greece, as well.
So, he threw a grand political party, at which he lavished all of his officials and noblemen with expensive and rare food, drink, and treasures of every kind. He was trying to win them over, because he needed their support. He needed them to know he could take care of them, or he could ruin them.
The story of Esther takes place in a pagan land. The lead character, so far, is a pagan king. As we will read in the coming verses, their practices had little to do with God. This party was, essentially, a massive drunken orgy. God didn’t have any part of it. God doesn’t condone such behavior.
But the important thing for us to learn from this first chapter is that, even in a land that doesn’t acknowledge God, God is. Even in the midst of circumstances where God is not respected or recognized, even when it seems that Satan himself must rule, even when we feel we are in the devil’s playground, God is there. And when the time is right, when He is good and ready, He will slam down His gavel and bring justice, even in the midst of chaos.
Friends, have you ever found yourself in a situation where God seemed absent? Relax. He is there. Have you found yourself surrounded by pagan people who don’t respect God, and who don’t respect you because you are God’s child? God is there. He may be waiting in the shadows, but He is there. He will make His presence known, when the time is right. And He will always take care of His children.
Dear Father, Thank You for always being there. Help me to hold to my faith in You, even when You seem far away. Please help me to draw near to You, no matter my circumstances.