BY JORDAN MAYER
"'For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?'"
Esther is an intriguing book of the the Bible. Though it sits in the middle of Scripture, sandwiched between Nehemiah and Job, you will find no direct mention of God throughout its ten chapters.
The book reads like a gripping and suspenseful TV drama. An ordinary, Jewish girl ascends to the role of queen. A murderous plot against the king is thwarted. The very fate of the Jewish people hangs in the balance.
On the surface, the story looks like a series of happy accidents and fortuitous coincidences. Just as disaster looms, deliverance arrives at an opportune time. Amidst a throng of young women, Esther manages to find favor in the eyes of the king and becomes queen. Her uncle, Mordecai, happens to overhear a plot against the king. Later, Mordecai convinces Esther to reveal Haman's plot to kill the Jews to the king. Though it was dangerous to see the king unannounced, Esther again finds success and eventually unmasks Haman's treachery. In an ironic turn of events, the gallows that Haman constructed for Mordecai is returned on his own head. Through a series of what appear to be random events, God was working, not merely to provide for Esther and Mordecai, but to save His people and further His plan of salvation for the human race.
The book of Esther has much to teach us about the providence of God.
The enemy of our souls is an eager advocate of coincidence, happenstance, and random chance. For to attribute life’s events to these “logical” and “practical” reasonings removes any need for God. Esther is an invitation to reflect on the events of our own lives and take a closer look at the masterful hand of the Divine - working, orchestrating, purposing.
Our lives have been likened to a tapestry. From the backside, you will see a chaotic mess of threads, a wash of colors woven this way and that without any clear order or pattern. Life can be difficult to make sense of in the moment. It often doesn't go how we planned and is filled with unexpected twists and turns. Many moments of our lives feel meaningless and wasted, and often leave us questioning why. In the words of John Flavel, “The providence of God is like a Hebrew word – it can only be read backwards.” As the present fades into the past, we begin to see more clearly the work of His hands. As the artist flips the tapestry around, the messy threads are revealed to be part of a beautiful masterpiece.
A friend of mine has often explained life as something that happens for us rather than to us. This statement is a shift in perspective more than it is a shift in circumstance. What if the things that we perceive as roadblocks are actually stepping stones that God is using to lead us forward? We must remember that we operate within a limited field of view. God on the other hand sees the whole picture. He operates outside of space and time, seeing the entirety of not only our individual lives, but the lives of everyone else as well.
And because of His Word, we are not left to wonder at his purposes or intentions. He is a good Father who delights in blessing his children (Matthew 7:11). He has a plan for our life. Not one of evil, but of welfare, to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). All that happens to us is happening for us, for our good (Romans 8:28). Finally, we know that whatever we face in this life is ultimately preparing us for something far better and more wonderful than we can even imagine (2 Corinthians 4:17).
So the question becomes not, is God working, but rather, are you looking?