Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Random thoughts on Esther

Esther 4:14 - And who knoweth, whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Esther is a short book of ten chapters, 167 verses and 5633 words.* No Divine title is found in the book of Esther; the Medo-Persian king is mentioned 192 times. No Divine name is found in the book of Esther; the name "Ahasuerus" is given 29 times. Like the story of Joseph, the story of Esther involves a foreign monarch who seems to control the destiny of the Jews. But even though God is not mentioned by name or title, He is clearly at work.

The story of God's people in the book of Esther makes me think of some lines of a James Russell Lowell poem:

"Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne, - Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above his own." **

In the movie "Proof of Life", the character Alice Bowman says, "Things don't happen for a reason; they just happen." Yet in the book of Esther as we see the unfolding of events "just happening", it becomes clear that they "just happen" for a reason. Men have many names for "God within the shadow" (or for denying that He is even there) -- fate and fortune, accidents and coincidence, good luck and bad luck (or as we say around here, "It just so happened that..."). Yet even some of these terms admit some portion of the truth. Fate -- beyond the control of man; accident -- no man planned for it to happen that way; coincidence -- events unusually and strikingly come together.

John Gill writes, "...the hand and providence of God is clearly seen -- in raising Esther to such grandeur, and that for the deliverance of the people of the Jews, and in counter working and bringing to nought the plots of their enemies, and in saving them..."

When we don't see God, He is there.

Though we don't understand it, He is not far from every one of us.

Whether or not we believe it, God works all things after the counsel of his own will.

* Words based on MS Word Count feature in Microsoft Word, with possible human error mixed in.
** From "The Present Crisis", 1844

1 comment:

clinch64 said...

If we search deeply enough, we can find how events of an an unexplained nature will come to light further on down the road.A case in point would be why George Washington was the only soldier left standing after all of his comrades were killed in a battle of The French and Indian War. Clearly the Hand of God at work.