The book of Esther is an interesting book in the Bible. The name of God is nowhere mentioned in the entire book. In the opening verse of Esther (1:1), we are introduced to the Persian king, Ahasuerus. His Greek name was Xerxes. He had inherited his father’s (Darius) vast empire, fortune and fame. Xerxes was nothing short of a god in the minds and eyes of the people. There was no one at his level of authority, power and might. The Israelites had been in captivity in Babylon and Assyria. During Darius’ reign, world dominance transitioned from the Babylonians to the Persians. The Jews had begun returning from exile to the Promised Land by the time Xerxes came into power. Not all of the Jews returned from the foreign lands. Having established a life and a routine, some decided to stay where they were living. This must have included Esther’s family because she is living in Persia as the story unfolds. If we are not careful, we will read the book of Esther and miss the point. We will read it as a story about a rich ruler who grew up as a spoiled brat and then lived as a spoiled adult. The Jews had been in captivity. But the discipline and punishment of God had not been without remedy. Before sending them into exile, God gave the Jews this promise, “The days are coming … when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess says the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:3).
This was a promise from God. The big theological question for the Jews during and after the exile was … what about our covenant relationship with God? Are we still God’s children? Does God remember us down here in captivity? Some of us may feel as if our life’s story resembles that of Esther’s. You have never seen a miracle. You have never received a dream or a vision from God. You have never been visited by an angel. You have prayed but it has not been answered. The questions crop up … Where is God? Does He know what is happening in my life? Is this the best we can hope for? I want you to know that God is at work in your life as well. You may not hear His voice, the angel may not come, the healing may not occur and the prayer may not be answered. But God is active, present and at work in the lives of His people, even those who are far away from Him. I am currently preaching through the book of Esther at Centennial Baptist Church.
Over the next several weeks I want to share what we are learning about how God works in our lives. We would love to have you join us on Sunday mornings at 10:30 am as we walk through the book of Esther in a series we are calling UNSEEN. Here are four truths we must grasp from the opening eight verses of Esther to better understand what is happening throughout the rest of the book. God’s Providence … This means that God will get His will done His way and on His time. He is moving everything in the direction that He has declared. God is moving all of life and time toward Himself. God’s Faithfulness … Never doubt God’s presence. When you cannot see His hand, trust His heart. Here is what we can know for certain: Every issue is a spiritual issue. God is always at work. God’s Sovereignty … God is not just a big God, He is the only God. And He is in complete control. He is the source of all creation and all things come from and depend on Him. The book of Esther is the Old Testament equivalent of Romans 8:28, “And we know that God is working all things together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His promises.” God’s Timing … Time is defined by moments and seasons. There is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). The meantime is God’s time. He is never inactive in our waiting. We must be quiet and be convinced of God (Hebrews 11:6). Where is God? He is where He has always been … ruling and reigning from His throne in heaven.