June 21 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen…” ~Esther 2:17

Esther is a beautiful Jewish woman who becomes Queen of Persia while Israel is in exile. Her story most likely takes place sometime before Ezra returned to Jerusalem to oversee temple worship. The book reveals the glory of Persian kings—their vast empire, lavish feasts (often lasting for weeks), and beautiful concubines. It also shows the power of Persian kings and the vulnerability of the worshipping community in exile. One crafty courtier, one distracted king, and one stroke of the pen (or press of the ring to be more exact) and the entire Jewish race faced extinction.

The book of Esther has been ignored throughout the history of the Christian tradition due to its “secular” feel. Indeed, the name of God appears nowhere in the book. But, as biblical commentators have observed, this is intentional. Esther shows that God is at work even when we cannot see Him. By His providential (but hidden) hand, Esther becomes queen at just the right time to save her people. Without once penning His name, the writer clearly illustrates that God is protecting His people through the commonplace events that make up their days. The lesson of Esther is that God works in extraordinary ways through ordinary means. In Christian theology, this is known as the providence of God, His care and provision for all things under His sovereignty.

We would be mistaken to look for God only in the miraculous. Yes, His work can be dramatic and forceful, but He is also active in the mundane happenings of a day. “God’s providence does not always meet us in its naked form” John Calvin wrote in his theological masterpiece, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Instead, providence is often clothed in ordinary happenings and everday occurrences—job offers, chance encounters, or the counsel of a friend over a cup of coffee.

When you understand that God’s providence exists and it includes you, your eyes will open to the many ways He is at work in your life! He is working in extraordinary ways to accomplish extraordinary things through very ordinary means. So look for Him at work in the ordinary today. And when you see His providence, even though it may be clothed, give Him praise. God is at work providing for you!

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.