This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2019 Bible Reading Calendar.
The book of Esther is the beautiful story of a young woman who became queen and was able to use her influence with the king to save the Jews, her people, from sure extinction while they lived in exile. One thing that sets the book apart from the other books of the Bible–Esther is the only one to not directly mention God.
It is a story of the survival of God’s people, who remained religious in their troubled times, yet God seems to be hidden in the background.
In a way, this makes the book of Esther a study on the doctrine of providence. Providence is God’s everyday, behind the scenes work. Miracles, in the Bible, are interventions by God against the normal course of the world and laws of nature. Revelation is God speaking to various people in various ways. Both are signs of God working in the open. Yet, compared to providence, both are rare.
Romans 8:28 says, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” On the surface, not everything looks to be working for the good of God’s people, and sometimes we spend a lifetime wondering how the pieces fit. Yet, the promise is there: God is at work, intimately involved in the every day details, good and bad, to bring about the best as he rescues rebellious people from a broken world.
In Esther, Mordecai, the queen’s cousin, encourages her by pointing to providence. When it is made known that Haman has plotted to exterminate the Jews, Mordecai urges Esther to break rank and go before the king without summons to expose the plot and plead for the people. When Esther states that doing such could mean her own death, Mordecai responds, “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Why else would a young Jewish lady become a Persian queen, if not placed there at that time to rescue God’s people.
This is providence. This is God behind the scene. This is encouragement that even if we don’t see God directly at work, he is, always, on behalf of his people.
Scripture quotes taken from the Christian Standard Bible