Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 18, 2016

“For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.”

Today’s devotion comes from Esther chapter 2.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Esther+2&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

1 After these things when the anger of King Ahasuerus had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what had been decreed against her.  Then the king’s attendants, who served him, said, “Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king.  Let the king appoint overseers in all the provinces of his kingdom that they may gather every beautiful young virgin to the citadel of Susa, to the harem, into the custody of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let their cosmetics be given them.  Then let the young lady who pleases the king be queen in place of Vashti.”  And the matter pleased the king, and he did accordingly.

Now there was at the citadel in Susa a Jew whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite, who had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the captives who had been exiled with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had exiled.  He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had no father or mother.  Now the young lady was beautiful of form and face, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

So it came about when the command and decree of the king were heard and many young ladies were gathered to the citadel of Susa into the custody of Hegai, that Esther was taken to the king’s palace into the custody of Hegai, who was in charge of the women.  Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him.  So he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and food, gave her seven choice maids from the king’s palace and transferred her and her maids to the best place in the harem.

15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised.  And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her.  16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus to his royal palace in the tenth month which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

17 The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

21 In those days, while Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s officials from those who guarded the door, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.  22 But the plot became known to Mordecai and he told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name.  23 Now when the plot was investigated and found to be so, they were both hanged on a gallows; and it was written in the Book of the Chronicles in the king’s presence.”  Esther Chapter 2:  Verses 1-9 and 15-17 and 21-23.

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We read that Esther “found favor” with others three times in today’s Scripture.  Through the first favor, she received cosmetics, food, seven choice maids from the king’s palace, and was transferred to the best place in the harem.  Verse 9.  Through the second favor, she was taken to King Ahasuerus.  Verse 15.  Through the third favor, she received the royal crown and was made queen instead of Vashti.  Verse 17.   

For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord,
You surround him with favor as with a shield.”  Psalm 5:12.

10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.”  Psalm 147:10-11.

“For he who finds me (wisdom) finds life
And obtains favor from the Lord.”  Proverbs 8:35.

A good man will obtain favor from the Lord,
But He will condemn a man who devises evil.
A man will not be established by wickedness,
But the root of the righteous will not be moved.”  Proverbs 12:2-3.

Although we receive personal blessings from receiving the favor of God and the favor of other people, there are sometimes more important other reasons why we receive such favor.  

In today’s Scripture, we read that King Ahasuerus was saved because Moredecai had the favor to be able to sit at the king’s gate and overhear a plot against his life and Esther had the favor of being queen to have King Ahasuerus’s attention to tell him of the plot and he trusted her to believe the plot and prevent it.  Verses 21-22. 

Later, we read of the more deadly plot of Haman who sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.  Esther 3:6.

This time, Esther was reasonably hesitant to approach the king and tell him who was likely much more concerned about saving his own life than saving the life of the Jews.   “Then Esther spoke to Hathach and ordered him to reply to Mordecai:  “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live.  And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.”  Esther 4:10-11. 

Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews.  For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish.  And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:13-14.    

Much later in Scripture, we read of a much more common reason why we receive favor.  God uses the favor that He gives us in the sight of others to save them.    

Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe;  and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.  And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;  and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.  Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”  Acts 2:43-47.  

In conclusion, paraphrasing Esther 4:14:  “And who knows whether you have received favor with others for such a time as now and reason as this, being used by God to save them?”  


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