Esther, like most of the Bible, is a story. It is meant to be heard, first and foremost as a story. It invites us to enter the story world and let it stretch our imaginations, unsettle, disturb, and change us. Only then should we turn to the questions of discipleship: In times like these, what does God ask of us? In times like these, how are we to live? In times like these, what does God want for the world? Esther is a story beautifully told, highly comedic, deeply tragic, and deadly serious. Every word is important. Each episode connects to earlier and later events. Esther gives us a true-to-life glimpse of an imperial court, its excesses, absurdities, and power games. It is a tale of survival: a Jewish orphan and her cousin outwit an adversary bent on their people’s destruction. It is also a cautionary tale: one of our heroes foolishly precipitates the crisis and ends up resembling the villain he replaced; the Jews survive but the empire and its atrocities continue unchecked. The scroll of Esther is read or performed twice during the annual Jewish festival of Purim. As you participate in this devotion series, we invite you to borrow this tradition and listen to the book of Esther from beginning to end. You can find a link to an audio Bible here. A word of warning: Much of Esther deals with R rated themes. Some readers may these devotions confronting.
Author: Deborah Storie
Deborah is a Baptist minister and lectures at Stirling Theological College. Deborah previously lived and worked in an Afghan village where daily bread, freedom from debt, and deliverance from trials, were things about which her village neighbours dreamt and for which they prayed.