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Daily Devotional | The Inciting Incident Daily Devotional | The Inciting Incident

Daily Devotional | The Inciting Incident


In literature, the “inciting incident” is an event that captures the reader’s attention and moves the story forward. Today, we read about the inciting incident in Esther’s story.

At the culmination of his six- month war council and banquet, King Xerxes is “in high spirits from wine” (v. 10) when he summons Queen Vashti to display her beauty to all of the people and nobles. This may have been a final demonstration of what the king had to offer those who agreed to join him in his Greece campaign. The people must have been shocked when Vashti refused to comply with his command. Certainly, the king was furious (v. 12)!

We, the readers, ought not make any particular judgement regarding Vashti’s choice—even though many commentators have done so. Some have criticized Vashti as a disobedient wife. Others have held her up as a hero—a noble character who refused to be a pawn of her abusive husband.

The author of Esther, however, gives no such commentary because that isn’t his concern. Rather, this event serves two purposes. First, it clarifies the setting of the story. It gives us a fuller understanding of what life was like in the Persian court. It was a decadent palace, but also a dangerous place where King Xerxes held absolute power and wielded it unpredictably. It was a world controlled by suspicious motives and impaired judgement.

Second, this event served as a “starting gun” that would set off a chain of events. God worked through Vashti’s refusal to fulfill the covenant He had made with His people long before. The event can urge us to praise our God; He has the power to depose or raise up rulers, and He also gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning (Dan. 2:20–21).

>>How powerful it is to recognize God’s hand at work throughout history—even in the small decisions of our lives! Take a minute to think about times when you have seen God’s providence in your own life and in the lives of those around you.

Pray with Us

Please join us as we pray Daniel’s prayer that echoes today’s study: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others” (Dan. 2:20–21).

BY Kelli Worrall

Kelli Worrall is Professor of Communications and Chair of the Division of Music and Media Arts at Moody Bible Institute. She is the author of several books, including Pierced and Embraced: 7 Life-Changing Encounters with the Love of Christ. Kelli studied at Cedarville University (BA), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MRE), and Roosevelt University (MFA).  She enjoys speaking both individually and with Peter at events and retreats. They live in northwest Illinois with their two children.

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