The Lord Is Near 2024 calendar

Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God, the Lord of hosts, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel. Jeremiah 51:5 NKJV

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1 NKJV

Esther (1)—Introduction

The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and of the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, trace the history of the remnant of God’s earthly people who returned from captivity in Babylon to rebuild the temple and later the city wall. The book of Esther shows God’s faithful care for His people who did not return, but stayed on in the lands to which they had been taken. God openly identifies Himself with the former, but He works behind the scenes for the others, allowing neither His name nor any reference to prayer to be mentioned in this book. But He will ever glorify His name.

The wise preacher in Ecclesiastes tells us there is nothing new under the sun. We still live in the times of the Gentiles today, so we should not be surprised to see the problems in the Persian Empire in this book still with us today: drinking, immorality, assassinations, pride, political corruption, antisemitism, and more. People fail to take God into account; however, He works in marvelous ways to accomplish His purpose to deliver and bless His people! On closer examination, this book also paints a prophetic picture of things yet to come.

Ahasuerus, the Persian king in Esther, historically is Xerxes. The six-month feast in chapter 1 was held as he assembled his forces from the 127 provinces of his vast empire to prepare to invade Greece to avenge his father Darius’s catastrophic loss there. Let us not be like this king, neglecting to consider God and His will as we make our plans. Rather, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Ps. 37:5).

Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.