Bible Reading: Esther 4

“Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 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 4:13-14)

The book of Esther is unique because there are no references to God in its entirety. Set in the paganistic and secular courts of King Ahasuerus of Persia, maybe we could conclude that God was not so present in the whole situation, and thus there was no mention of Him. However, it is quite the opposite. The book of Esther reveals how God’s hidden providence always guides history according to His own will and His promises to save His people. 

If you haven’t read the book of Esther, you definitely read it from start to finish (it’s not very long). The whole book tells a story beginning with King Ahasuerus, who divorced his wife because she refused to come to a banquet. As you can see, the culture in the king’s courts was luxurious and indulgent. The king did whatever he pleased — even changing wives when his current wife displeased him in the slightest manner. 

The king then decides to hold a beauty contest to find himself a new wife, and lo and behold, for some mysterious reason, Esther, a Jew, becomes the king’s wife. Having grown up in exile, Esther did not know much about her national identity as a Jew. So she kept that part of her hidden from the king and was happy to indulge in the luxurious and carefree lifestyle in the king’s palace. 

One night, sitting at the king’s gate, Mordecai, Esther’s previous guardian (Esther was an orphan), discovers that some of the king’s eunuchs had devised an evil plot against the king. In the spirit of integrity, Mordecai informed Esther, and Esther told the king. The plot was intercepted, and the king’s life was spared. Somehow, Mordecai found himself recorded in the king’s good books. 

However, after being promoted to basically the king’s second-in-command, Haman finds himself loathing Mordecai because, being Jewish, Mordecai would not bow down to him. Haman’s fury for Jewish people fumed until he asked the king for their genocide. Explaining that the Jews did not bow down to Persian orders, the king naïvely agreed and signed the official documents. 

When Mordecai finally hears of this news, he tears his clothes and weeps. In fact, all the Jewish people throughout the Persian empire wept for their end was coming. Tearing clothes and mourning was the Jew’s usual custom of lament. They had done so many times in the past when God showed His wrath to them. Maybe the Jew’s thought that after so long being exiled in foreign lands, maybe God was finally going to annihilate them as a race who had been very insolent to their God.

Esther knew nothing about the seriousness of the matter. She was distressed by Mordecai’s seemingly absurd actions and sent him new clothes. Mordecai rejected them and explained to Esther that the whole Jewish nation was at stake for extinction — a mass genocide was coming. When Mordecai first asks her to plead mercy from the king, Esther refuses, stating that she could well be killed if she went to the king without being summoned. Yet, Mordecai challenges her with this question, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” With that, Esther asked the Jewish people to fast, and she prepared herself to approach the king. 

Long story short, the king agreed, and the Jewish people were saved. Additionally, Mordecai becomes the king’s second-in-command, and Haman gets hanged on the gallows he prepared to hang Mordecai out of pure distaste. Read the story yourself for the full details. 

Throughout the whole story, we see that events are not coincidences. Hidden in between the lines are God’s guiding hands to sustain His promise to His chosen people. God promised to His people that a Saviour would be born from the line of David. He would be the one who would save God’s people from their sins. God also promised that Abraham’s offspring would be numbered amongst the stars. God promised that He would save many and bring many to return to Him. If Haman succeeded in killing all the Jew’s, God’s plan would have failed. 

Mordecai was sure that God would rescue His people because Mordecai trusted in God’s promises (see Esther 4:14). And sure enough, God did. The God who continues to sustain His people is the same God today. Despite the prevailing secular culture around us, will God’s church be overcome? Will there be those that God will raise up to continue His church in the future generation? Will God send workers to the many ethnic groups who have yet to hear about the gospel? 

Jesus said, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). So may we humbly trust in our God, who will always continue to sustain His church, preparing her to be wedded to Christ, holy and blameless, without any blemish (see Ephesians 5:27). 

Lord, thank You for the assurance of Your hidden providence. Thank You that You do not leave Your people, Your church. Lord, despite the prevailing pagan culture around us, You are alive and working in ways we cannot see or understand. You have a plan, and You will raise up Your church in the next generation in Your own time and way. Praise be to You for Your infinite wisdom. Help us to trust in Your plans and follow You. In Jesus’ name, amen.