Read: Esther 6:1-14
Consider: The Book of Esther is a record of God’s dealings with the Jews who were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon and is set in the time of King Xerxes. Although it is a record of how God dealt with the Jews, the book does not contain any direct reference to God. Despite this it is clearly written to encourage the Jews, so that they could see God’s providence at work, even when they were in a foreign land.
Most people reading Esther won’t realise that she was also called (Hadassah) and she was Mordecai’s cousin (see Esther 2:7). We can probably assume that she was much younger than Mordecai, as we are told that she was brought up as his daughter after the death of her mother and father.
There are a number of characters mentioned in the book:
- King Xerxes, Persian king and son of Darius;
- Queen Vashti, who lost her position because of her arrogance;
- Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jews, but who paid the ultimate price for his duplicity;
- Mordecai, who had previously exposed a plot against the king’s life, yet at the time received no recognition for this. At the right time, when the Jews were under threat, the king was given knowledge of this and Mordecai was honoured;
- Esther, who was chosen by Xerxes to replace Queen Vashti, and chosen by God to be the person to speak to Xerxes about Haman’s plot against the Jews.
The account of Mordecai’s interaction with Esther is recorded in Esther 4. Initially Esther was reluctant to speak openly to the king, primarily because she would be putting her life in danger. Mordecai responds to her concerns in the following way: When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: ‘Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’ (Esther 4:12-14).
Do you understand what Mordecai is saying? God will bring relief to the Jews even if Esther does not speak up on their behalf. However, it could be that Esther has been elevated to her royal position for the purpose of speaking up for the Jews.
Can you see how God’s timing is perfect throughout the Book of Esther? Esther being appointed as queen at the right time, to enable her to speak openly to King Xerxes; Mordecai receiving honour and recognition from the king at the time when Haman was plotting his death; even King Xerxes being unable to sleep and having the chronicles of his reign read to him meant that he discovered Mordecai’s previous deeds and this led to Mordecai’s honour.
What can we learn from this? God’s hand of providence is on each of us at all times and even when we might be unaware of it ourselves. Also each of us is part of God’s plan and God wants us to fulfil what he has planned for us. Will God’s plans be thwarted if we are reluctant to take our part? Definitely not! It is, of course, better for us to play the full part God has planned for us.
Pray: Father, we are often surprised by how perfect your timing is and how your providence guides us in ways we cannot always see. Give us a willingness to play our part in bringing the good news of your salvation to a needy world. Amen