Reading: Esther 1-3
Summary: After the first group of Jews returns to Jerusalem (as led by Zerubbabel, Ezra 1-6), but before the second group (as led by Ezra, Ezra 7-10), an incredible drama unfolds back in Persia and is recorded as the book of Esther.
No greater example of God’s providential care is found anywhere in Scripture than in the story of Esther.
Today’s reading sets all the pieces in place. Esther is chosen to the position of queen as Haman also attains to a position of high prominence, but also plans his villainous plot to exterminate Mordecai and his people, the Jews.
God is Nowhere and Everywhere
The book of Esther is odd. Not one time is God explicitly mentioned in this entire book. Not once. But neither is the presence of God any more evident than in the events unfolded in its pages.
“God” is nowhere in Esther and God is everywhere in Esther.
A memorable cartoon pictures two figures sitting at the bar of a saloon. One of them is impeccably dressed; broad-brimmed large cowboy hat, rhinestone studded and colorful western-cut shirt with pressed jeans held up by a belt sporting a very sizable, shiny buckle and tucked into highly-polished pointy-toed boots. The other wore a crumpled hat, wrinkled shirt, sagging jeans, over dusty, mud (or something else) caked boots—a generally disheveled look. The latter says wryly to the former, “I see by the way you are dressed that you are a cowboy.”
Externals are sometimes—not always—superficial. Externals get noticed. Externals can be seen by others. Externals can also be deceptive. The appearance they give can belie the reality within.
A cowboy is evidenced more by what he does, not what he wears. The presence of God in Esther is not measured by the number of times He’s called by name in that book. Our place as a follower of Christ is not established by the jewelry we wear, the t-shirt logos we sport, or even the assemblies we attend or how loudly we praise Him. It’s His presence in our lives. It’s His love reflected to others. It’s His compassion for people in need. It’s His commitment to fulfill the Father’s will.
“God” isn’t in Esther but He is, just as Christ must be in us.