Author’s note: Before you begin reading this historical account of Jewish history in Persia, flip over to the book of Ezra. Make a note between chapters 6 and 7 – the timeline of events in Esther’s life occurred here.
I’ve always been intrigued by authors that publish using a pen name. Whatever their motivation, there seems to be an element of humility in it. The book of Esther strikes me as similar. We don’t know who physically wrote it, but even knowing that the words in this book are fully inspired by God, not once does He call our attention to His name! Yet, His acts of providence are very apparent and continue to inspire and build up the faith of His people today. As you read, make note of the scenarios where you see God’s fingerprints. Principles that teach us about God’s sovereignty and faithfulness are seen throughout the entire Book of Esther. Here are three principles that are summarized in this key verse:
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
God always keeps His promises. Mordecai did not know the future, but He did know God and His faithfulness. He knew that the Jews were God’s chosen people (Deu. 7:6-8). He knew of the promises to Abraham from Genesis 12, and how through the centuries God had been faithful to keep His end of the covenant, even when His people did not. Deliverance was going to come from somewhere for the Jews simply by knowing the nature God, it remained to be seen through whom it would come.
He can use anyone or anything to fulfill His purpose. See the orphan taken from her remaining relatives into a godless culture to compete for the pleasure of the king. See a well-to-do man sitting outside the king’s gate. See the drunken man filled with pride and anger. See the king who couldn’t sleep. See the roll of the dice. Not even the greatest of Hollywood’s screenwriters could put these things together as a means to save a nation, but for our Father it was simple thing to put into place (2 Kings 3:18). It is exciting to know the God still has promises to fulfill and prayers to answers. Who knows when He might use me or my resources to do that (Phil. 2:13)!
He is in control of the big picture even when we cannot see it. That Esther was able to witness the salvation of her people and vengeance on her enemies was a rare blessing. However, these blessings only came after great fear, daring trust, and the courage to act when she could not see what was ahead (4:14-16). We may never live to see the vengeance of our enemies or the culmination of the current turmoil that we are living through, but we can trust that it will occur (Rom. 12:19). Let the courage of Esther be a motivator not to remain silent on His behalf. God is working even when we cannot see it!
For a book in a palace setting, you might expect that the word “king” is used some 160 times. For the challenge this month, there is a great parallel in the way Esther related to her king, and the way we should relate to ours! Two important and challenging lessons for self-reflection:
Trust in the King. Even when evil seems to prosper, do I trust my King enough to live out my faith, use my influence, and consider the souls of others?
Serve in His Kingdom. Knowing that God can use me wherever I am, am I prepared to act both physically and spiritually?
Like the author of this book, the world may never know our names, but if in trust we are willing to step out and help others know His name, then we can make all the difference (2 Tim. 2:19).