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Esther 2:5, 7 ” Now there was at the citadel in Susa a Jew whose name was Mordecai… 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.”

Esther 2:17- “ 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. “
Esther 9:30-31- “He sent letters to all the Jews, to the provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, namely, words of peace and truth, to establish these days of Purim at their appointed times, just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had established for them, and just as they had established for themselves and for their descendants with instructions for heir times of fasting and their lamentations. “

Esther

Esther 011

We also recently watched the movie “One Night with the King”, which is about the story of Esther. What an amazing story. Esther wasn’t in this city because she chose to be. She was a Jew, living among Persians because her family was there.

She was beautiful, and her beauty and character won over the king, Xerxes. He brought her into her harem.  She was a good Jew who had kept herself pure.  The king would have one night with her, and seeing if he liked her.  If he didn’t choose her, she would remain in his harem.  Her life would have been drastically different.  Fortunately, God caused Xerxes to find favor with Esther, and he made her his queen.

It is through Haman’s vengeful behavior, that Esther has an opportunity to stand up for herself and make the Jews known.  She had never revealed her identity to the king, and at the thought of death, she decides to confront him.  She prayed and fasted, and her people did as well.  I believe, God revealed to her the way to approach Xerxes, so that he would be able to listen to her.

She goes to him, unannounced.  Someone who approached the king without invitation was subject to death.  She was amazingly brave in her willingness to go before the king, in order to save her people.  She arranged for a series of 3 banquets, where she wined and dined Xerxes and Haman.  Just enough time for Xerxes to remember Mordecai and the deeds he had done.  And just enough time to show what an evil man Haman was.  God’s timing was perfect.  I think that God had Esther there for such this time.  So she could demonstrate the saving power of her God and how his timing is perfect.   He is a great God and is able to save us from even the most unlikely consequences.

Esther 8:15-17 – “Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a large crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. For the Jews there was light and gladness and joy and honor. In each and every province and in each and every city, wherever the king’s commandment and his decree arrived, there was gladness and joy for the Jews, a feast and a holiday.”

Mordecai's Attire

The story of Esther is such a good one. We recently went through the book of Esther in our Sunday School class. I got a chance to revisit a book I honestly had not read in a long time. You see, Mordecai is Esther’s uncle who lived in Persia. The Jews had originally been taken there under captivity, yet at the time of this story, they had been freed to go back to Israel. Yet Mordecai and his family chose to stay. So here they were, living amongst Persians, acting as Persians. In fact, when Xerxes had decided he wanted a new queen- and Esther was in the “running”, Mordecai forbid her to reveal her true nationality.

After Esther was made queen, Haman (the king’s “prime minister”) plots to have the Jews killed and tricks the King into having a decree established to do so. When the King agrees, it is then that Mordecai comes back into the picture. He advised Esther to go to the king and beg for mercy.

Haman hates Mordecai and has gallows built to have him killed. Meanwhile, Xerxes reads over some old records and realized that Mordecai saved his life and the king had not yet honored him. So he calls Haman in and asks him what he should do to honor a man. And Haman said to give him royal robes and parade him throughout the city. The king agrees and asks Haman to fetch Mordecai.

At the banquet Esther prepared for Xerxes and Haman, she pleaded with the king for the life of her people. Her request was granted, and after Xerxes learned that Haman had plotted to kill his wife, he had him hung on the gallows that were built for Mordecai.  However, Xerxes command can not be revoked.  So he issues a new edict allowing for the Jews to take up arms and defend themselves against the army, which they do.  Shortly after, Mordecai was given royal robes of blue and white and paraded through the city. The Jewish holiday Purim comes from this time.

Mordecai is a wonderful example of a man who God watched out for. Mordecai had done a good deed for the king and at just the right time, God had the king remember it. God can weave together the events of life for our best, even though we may not be able to see them at the time. We can trust Him.

Luke 2: 8-14 ” In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Heralding Angels

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” In creating this colorway, I thought about the newly born baby- Jesus. How amazing it must have been to be there for that event. Those shepherds were out at night tending to their sheep. Just an ordinary night, like any other.

Then all of the sudden, an angel appears. Now the pictures we see of angels make them look sweet an innocent. The Bible actually portrays a different picture. The angels are fierce and fiercely serve the Lord. They are his bodyguards. They are strong and mighty and crazy looking. (See Cheribum and Seraphim for more descriptions.) No wonder the shepherds were afraid.

But this angel calms them and brings them extraordinary news. The news they’ve been waiting for ALL their lives. The Jews had been awaiting the birth of the Messiah for generations. And here they were, being told by angels that He was born!

And what a sound they must have heard! I love listening to amazing choirs. The sounds of the voices harmonizing and coming together to make beautiful music. And here, this choir is a heavenly choir, singing praises to the Lord. I bet these shepherds were just in awe, and got a tiny glimpse of heaven. They heard a bit of what it is like to be surrounded by angels singing praises to the Lord. What an amazing time. And how awesome it must have been to see the Christ as a baby.

I found this link to the background and history on “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.”  It tells all about the theology behind it and each part has a verse listed.  It is really neat. I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.joyfulheart.com/christmas/hark-herald-angels-sing.htm

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