The Commemoration of Esther
The Lord be with you
Esther (which means “star”) is the heroine of the biblical book that bears her name. Her Jewish name was Hadassah, which means “myrtle.” Her beauty, charm, and courage served her well as queen to King Ahasuerus. In that role, she was able to save her people from the mass extermination that Haman, the king’s chief advisor, had planned (Esther 2:19-4:17). Esther’s efforts to uncover the plot resulted in the hanging of Haman on the very same gallows that he had built for Mordecai, her uncle and guardian. Following this, the king named Mordecai minister of state in Haman’s place. This story is an example of how God intervenes on behalf of His people to deliver them from evil, as here through Esther he preserved the Old Testament people through whom the Messiah would come.
Concerning the story of Esther, Ambrose of Milan wrote:
“Why did Queen Esther expose herself to death and not fear the wrath of a fierce king? Was it not to save her people from death, and act both seemly and virtuous? The king of Persia himself also, though fierce and proud, yet thought it seemly to show honor to the man who had given information about a plot which had been laid against himself, to save a free people from slavery, to snatch them from death, and not to spare him who pressed on such unseemly plans. So finally he handed over to the gallows the man that stood second to himself, and whom he counted chief among all his friends, because he considered that he had dishonored him by his false counsels.
“For that commendable friendship which maintains virtue is to be preferred most certainly to wealth or honors or power.”
(The above is almost entirely from Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publish House.)
Collect of the Day:
O God, You graced Your servant Queen Esther not only with beauty and elegance but also with faith and wisdom. Grant that we, too, might use the qualities that You have generously bestowed on us for the glory of Your mighty name and for the good of Your people, that through Your work in us, we may be advocates of the oppressed and defenders of the weak, preserving our faith in the great High Priest who intercedes on our behalf, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Other appropriate prayers:
• For the safety of all believers, especially those in lands where Christianity is persecuted
• For those who rule, that they may allow the Gospel to be freely preached
• For the willingness to sacrifice all for the sake of Christ
• Thankfulness to God for saving his people of old that we might have faith today
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert