Summary: Four practical lessons we learn from the life story of Esther, one woman who’s faith saved a generation and changed the world.
As I read and reread this book over the last few weeks, I came to see four overarching things we learn from the story of Esther. Let me share them with you.
The Sovereignty of God assures us that we are where he wants us to be
One of the interesting facts about the book of Esther is that it nowhere even mentions God. That’s unusual, since the book of Esther is one of 66 books that comprise a larger work, called the Bible, that is all about God. However, even though his name does not appear in the book of Esther, it is clear that God shows up on every page. One way we see him his through the lens of his sovereignty.
The events of the book of Esther are not random or without plan or purpose. God’s presence hovers over the book like the Spirit of God hovered over the waters of creation. So it is with God, and with life as we know it. There are no coincidences and no accidents in God’s scheme.
To speak of God’s sovereignty does not mean we believe in fatalism. Fatalism is the idea that God maps out every choice and event and we have nothing to do but march through life like Eveready bunnies.
Not at all. Trusting in the sovereignty of God means we walk in the confidence of knowing that God hovers over our lives at every turn. No choice we make takes God by surprise. Every choice we make—and they are truly our choices—are factored into the plan of God for our lives. God does not determine our every action, but his will for our lives takes every one of our actions into consideration.
It is good for us to remember this when life gets boring or mundane or we feel trapped in our circumstances.
Esther may have spent long days in the palace wondering why she ever followed Mordecai’s advice and entered that dumb beauty pageant.
But God had a plan.
Likewise, you may think you made a wrong decision—you married the wrong person, or took the wrong job, or bought the wrong house. Maybe you did, but it is the right one now, because God knew of your choice before the foundation of the world and factored it into his plan for you.
Hosea could have spent long hours beating himself up over his marriage choice—but God had a plan, and he redeemed Hosea’s situation for his purposes.
Stop second guessing God. You are not a mistake. You may have made some bad choices, but God has factored them in—he still loves you and wants to make the best of your life.
God has a plan.
Seek him, ask his counsel, look for his blessing and presence, pray, and God will show you the way forward. Then, of course, obey.
Routine faithfulness to our responsibilities honors God
From the time of Queen Vasti’s removal from her position in the palace until the crowning of Hadassa as Queen Esther, four years had passed (cf. 1:3 and 2:16). Four long years, and for one whole year of this time Esther did nothing but go to the spa every day for her beauty treatment. (I know to a woman that might sound like heaven, but for me that would be …).
Then from the time of Esther’s crowning as Queen until the evil Haman hatches his plot to launch a pogram against the Jews, another five years pass (cf. 2:16 and 3:7). Five long years filled with endless days of routine activity in the palace.