Esther is one of my favourite books of the Bible, and if you’ve ever taken time to read it, this won’t sound strange to you at all.
Esther was a Jewish girl who was not only an orphan but also a displaced person- a slave in foreign Persia along with her fellow Israelites. Her older cousin Mordecai raised her, and together they submitted themselves to be used by God, bringing about a great deliverance for Israel.
It’s a short book you can finish in one evening. Here are 6 parts of the story that fill me with joy, wonder and worship.
1. There is no mention of God anywhere in the book. When you read Esther, one of the things that jumps out at you is just how much Jehovah is at work in the lives of His people and on their behalf. Yet He isn’t mentioned anywhere, and this is something that has fascinated me since I was a child.
2. God is always working on our behalf. Often when men are set in their own ways and choose to exercise their free will for evil purposes, God doesn’t take free will from them. He leaves them to do what they have chosen to do, and simply counters their efforts. When the enemy comes against us like a flood the Spirit of God raises up a standard against him. For every Haman, there will be a Mordecai and an Esther. God works in ways we cannot see, but He is always working!
3. Things don’t just happen. This is especially true where God’s children are concerned, and it puts me in mind of Travis Greene’s “He’s Intentional” which is one song that just boosts my faith every single time. The Book of Esther reminds me that God does things on purpose, and when He allows things to happen, He’s looking at the big picture, which we often can’t see. Whether it’s Vashti scorning her husband, or the king having a bout of inexplicable insomnia, it’s not random.
4. There is a big picture. Mordecai was right: if Esther had refused to act, deliverance would, without doubt, have arisen for the Jews from another place. Prophecy had clearly stated that a Jewish virgin would give birth to the Messiah. If the entire Jewish race was wiped out then Messiah would never come. Of course, that could never be allowed to happen, so Vashti had to get into her husband’s bad books and be deposed, and Esther had to become queen “…for such a time as this.”
5. God has a sense of humour. The part that really brings out the child in me, all tickled and in awe of God, is Haman and his gallows. So dude is pained that Mordecai refuses to kowtow to him, and he and his wife Zeresh come up with a plan: a gallows on which to kill Mordecai. Thing is, on that very night when Haman is planning how he will show up at the king’s palace in the morning to raise the Mordecai matter, God has also seized sleep from the king’s eyes. None of the usual sources of relief can soothe him, so he sends for the book of records and finds out that Mordecai hasn’t been rewarded for foiling a coup against the king. That’s how Haman walked in the next for ill against Mordecai and walked out to execute a plan for the guy’s honour. The funniest part is how Haman thinks he’s the one the king wants to honour so he’s reeling out all the good stuff.
6. Sometimes we still have to fight, but our victory is assured. Most people have the idea that after the king discovered Haman’s evil plan, he revoked the decree against the Jews, but that’s not what happened. A Medo-Persian edict cannot be revoked. What the king did was to issue another edict empowering the Jews to fight back against anyone who tried to kill them when the set day for the Haman-conceived massacre arrived. And fight they did. Often, God does not take away difficulties. We still have to walk through the fire and the waves. Yet we know that we will never be overcome, for faithful is He who has promised. As you step into the boxing ring, know that the match is fixed – in your favour!
The Book of Esther is so deep and layered, it would take more than just one article to unpack it. What parts of this story stand out for you, and why? Please share in the comments.
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