Esther & Xerxes: Can You Imagine?

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April 22, 2013

Esther and XerxesThe story of this biblical couple is filled with graphic contrasts. Xerxes, who makes no claim to know or believe in the God of the Hebrews, is the raucous and philandering king of a vast empire. When he meets Esther, she is a virgin. Xerxes is surrounded by indescribable opulence and luxury. Esther is an orphan being raised by her uncle. Xerxes is a man of indulgence, impulse, and great passion. Esther is a humble worshiper of Yahweh. Xerxes lives in a royal bubble, protected from uninvited visitors and isolated from unplanned conversation. Esther is a woman at the mercy of her husband’s station. Even for the most prepared brides whose grooms are of like faith and character, meaningful conversation in marriage is a challenge. Can you imagine what Esther faced? When it came time for a life-and-death discussion with her husband, how was Esther successful in helping her husband understand? What melted these extremes and opened his heart? The Bible tells us that because she knew the critical importance of this encounter with Xerxes, Esther fasted and prayed. Before she approached her husband, she approached God. For three days, instead of eating or drinking, she bowed before the Lord and pleaded for His mercy. And wisdom. We don’t know how many of the details she may have shared with her friends, but we know that Esther also invited them to join her. She even called for a season of prayer among the entire Hebrew population living in Persia. Then as Esther entered into the conversation with her husband, she was polite, gentle, gracious, and humble. She didn’t blame; she didn’t whine or complain. Because she had thought it through, she chose not to disclose her entire request but to use her opening conversation to invite her husband to talk about the details later, over dinner. The Lord gave Queen Esther great discernment when she talked to her spouse. He can do the same for you, if you seek His guidance. From God’s Word . . . “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” —Romans 12:9 – 10

Their Legacy of Prayer

Reflect On: Esther 3 – 5 Praise God: For His perfect timing and His ability to work mightily to accomplish His will. Offer Thanks: That God is orchestrating events and providing on your behalf when difficult situations arise, and that He has given you the gift of faith to walk forward with confidence in His mercy. Confess: That you often do not trust God’s timing, and that you tend to be consumed by a fear that drives you to turn to people or to some other power outside of His provision. Ask God: To give you discernment, hope, and confidence in His plan and His timing. For His strength and ability to rescue you from the forces that would destroy your marriage. Listen: “Dear children, I am a very present help in time of trouble and have made all the resources of heaven available to you. Come boldly into My presence, and I will give you grace and mercy and all you need. Do not worry about anything. Pray about everything. You are Mine, and I will never forsake you.” Pray: Father in heaven, we are weak and often fearful, but You are strong and have settled the future. You are the Creator and Ruler of all things. We need Your help to trust Your Word and rely on Your promises. Please equip us to face every challenge in our marriage with prayer, grace, and courage as we put our hope in You. Thank You for Your amazing plan and perfect timing. Amen.
From Couples of the Bible, ©2013 by Bobbie & Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). Used by permission.   Couples of the BibleCouples of the Bible offers a 52-week overview of Scripture as seen through the tragedies and triumphs of biblical couples. You will be reacquainted with the obstacles and outcomes of familiar couples like Abraham & Sarah…and meet some lesser-known couples like Othniel & Aksah. Each week focuses on one couple of the Bible, from Adam & Eve to Christ & His Bride. You will read their story, learn about their cultural setting and explore how their story can teach you important truths about your own marriage. Each week you will be guided with questions applying biblical truth to your relationship with your spouse. And you’ll finish the week with a time of reflection, thanksgiving and prayer. Whatever your season of marriage, this book will draw you closer to God and strengthen your relationship with your spouse.

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