Most good stories have a shocking twist, and today’s passage in Esther has one of those moments. We will see today that God doesn’t always follow our scripts or our strategy. God isn’t predictable, but he is Faithful. And while God didn’t protect his people from a evil law aimed at exterminating His people, God worked in a different way to make sure that the Jews weren’t exterminated.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God (Psalm 20:6-8).
Though God is not mentioned, we’ve clearly seen His hand in the first two chapters of the story of Esther. He is at work behind the scenes, preparing to protect His people from a menacing threat that they aren’t even aware of yet. As the story unfolds we’re getting a beautiful picture of the providence of God…a picture that’s quite comforting.
However, you might have noticed aspects of the story that are quite discomforting to your mind. Perhaps you’ve been a bit confused or perplexed, especially as we waded into the events of chapter 2. In particular, questions may have arisen in your mind about our two Jewish ‘heroes’ – Mordecai and Esther – and their involvement in this scene. Because, there are things here that just don’t seem to add up inside the column of appropriateness…especially for a Jew.
We’re not going to ignore those questions today. We’re going to press into them and as we do, I believe we will find both challenging and encouraging applications for our lives.
Last week in our study of the story of Esther, we were introduced to a powerful Persian King Ahasuerus. But, then we met his beautiful Queen who told him “No”, which threw this ‘great’ king into a drunken rage. A rage that led to an unnecessary, empire-wide crisis and eventually to the Queen being banished from his presence and deposed from her throne. The events of chapter 1 leave a particular vacancy in the Persian Kingdom. As chapter 2 opens, we’ll begin to see how God will use that vacancy to fill out His plan. Today we’ll look into this and press deeper into God’s divine providence and the responses it should inspire in us.
History and literature are stocked full of examples where powerful men and shown to be weak or small. As we open the book of Ester, we find King Ahasuerus at the pinnacle of his power, ruling a wide swath of the known world and staging a six month party in his honor. But we find out quickly how fragile his power is when his queen tells me “No”. This serves as a fitting contrast to the true unseen king who is not only is sovereign but constantly working even when we don’t see him.
Truly great stories are hard to come by, but when you hear one you know it. Such is the book of Esther in the Old Testament. The lead up in history to this moment of time is pegged by God’s sovereign care to explain Esther’s role in the Gospel.