God of Extravagant Surprise

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Esther 1:1-4,10-19 ; Acts 17:1-15; John 12:36b-43

If you think you party a lot, you haven’t read Esther!  The book begins with King Ahasuerus throwing a great banquet that lasted 7 days.

On the seventh day, when “the king was merry with wine” he commanded Queen Vashti to appear before all the officials and guests of the party, to show her off.  The queen refuses.  And the kin, in his rage, deposes her, and seeks another queen.

Esther will eventually appear on the scene.

The Book of Esther is an odd little book, and many of the great rabbis have argued that it should not even be included in Holy Scripture because it does not mention God.  Despite this, it becomes a wonderful text that shows how the most unlikely of people often end up being the chosen ones.

This, of course, is a common theme in the Bible, where God is always choosing the one least expected.   David is a good example.  When Samuel went to seek out a new king and anoint him with oil, we went down the whole line of sons, from eldest to youngest, and finally threw his hands up.  “Is there not another?” asks Samuel. Oh yeah, that smelly shepherd boy, my youngest, David’s father replied, speaking of David. Surely you don’t want him.

Jacob and Esau, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, the Twelve Disciples, you and me – everywhere we turn we find God’s choices as a bit mysterious and exciting and also anti-establishment.  Our God is a rabble-rouser.  Oh my!

So I encourage you to hold up Esther this day in your scripture reading.  May she remind you of God’s surprising but wise choices.

-Matt

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