Thoughts About What We’re Reading!
This week, we turn our attention to the book of Esther.
Esther is written in narrative form and it reads like any good story.
Esther is our heroine, Mordecai our hero, and Haman our villain.
The book is interesting in a couple of different ways. God is never mentioned in the book.
The New Testament does not quote from the book of Esther. Copies have not been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
We did not find reference to the Law, sacrificial system or offerings. Although fasting is mentioned, prayer is not.
Our heroes in the story seem to lack any spiritual awareness – except in their assurance that God will protect his people.
Behind the scenes we see that God is faithful to His people, even when His people are not. We feel His sovereignty as the story develops.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the book of Esther takes place between chapters 6 and 7 of Ezra.
Although many Israelites had returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon to rebuild the temple and reestablish the sacrificial system, many more Israelites chose to stay wherever they were located.
I suppose they stayed because they had grown comfortable where they were.
Maybe they had built homes, established businesses, or maybe their families had established roots in the community and they just didn’t want to give them up.
Whatever the reason, they chose to stay and, in effect, became a part of the culture in which they were living.
The Gospel Transformation Bible has this to say:
“When everything seems to be under the control of a godless despot; when God’s people, because of their own sin, have lost all memory of him, of their true identity, and of their land; God is nevertheless at work to fulfill his promise of ultimate triumph over his enemies (Gen. 3:15).
The triumph of God’s kingdom is not dependent upon the faithfulness of God’s people. Even when they think that the only way to survive is to blend in or keep quiet, yet God is able and willing to deliver.
He is ruling sovereignly, accomplishing his purposes whether we see him or not.
And that’s good news for all believers who wonder where he is in their suffering. We might not see him. He may be absent from mind, mention, or memory. And it might appear that he’s forgotten us or that our sins have finally turned him away.
But that is not the truth. The truth is that God is defending his people and building his church, and nothing—not even the ‘gates of hell’ (Matt. 16:18) —will prevail against him.”
Esther is one of my favorite stories, maybe because it reminds me that I do not have to have all the answers – it is comforting to know God is ruling sovereignly even when I fail, even in the midst of my suffering – even when I do not see His hand at work.
God’s plans, purposes and promises will not be thwarted!
Until next time… keep reading!
Sources used: Bible Knowledge Commentary, Gospel Transformation Bible