By Randy Dillon
Esther 4:14b “. . . who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
The Old Testament book of Esther is the final historical account of Israel followed by the Books of Wisdom, and the Major and Minor Prophets. The book of Esther is remarkable on many accounts.
God is not mentioned in the story although God’s power is clearly exhibited. Chronologically, Esther occurs about 483 – 473BC or between the return of the exiles from Babylon in 538BC and the second return in 458BC. The book of Esther seems quite secular compared to other Old Testament accounts. But it is also an account of how God works for tyher good of His people in the face lof seemingly overwhelming opposition.
Esther also can be viewed from the perspective of self-sacrifice as she places the destiny of her people above even the possibility of losing her own life as she appears before the king without being summoned. Does such a willingness remind one of Jesus who was willing to sacrifice His mortal life for His chosen people? Furthermore, we may see something of our own lives, as we realize that Esther’s very existence may have been largely for the sole purpose of preserving the Jews. This is not to say that she may not have been instrumental; in any number of other events, but as her uncle/father figure Mordecai said to her, “, , , who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Another interesting feature of this account is that of the dramatic reversals of fortune between Mordecai and Haman which make for a perfect Shakesperean contrast of good and evil, right and wrong, humility and arrogance. We see the manipulative efforts of Haman poised against the noble integrity of Mordecai. We root for Mordecai as his humility and loyalty are tested, resolved and rewarded. The gallows that Haman constructs for Mordecai becomes his own mechanism of death.
Ultimately, while God is not named in the story of Esther His presence is obvious. One aspect of this is that God in this story apparently does not need to be seen or mentioned directly. It is sufficient to see that Godly people who are fulfilling the will of the Lord do not need to know God’s exhaustive will or plan, but rather need only to trust in faith that God is always in control, whether He is mentioned or not.
Finally, Esther shows us that God’s purposes are long term not just for the present. He knows what He desires and He will achieve his purposes in spite of mankind’s obstruction and manipulation.