Summary: God’s Providence Sets the Stage for His Dramas; He places us where we need to be to accomplish His purposes.
Esther: The Book of God’s Providence
1. Israel’s History is Filled with Irony and Tokens of God’s Providence
2. Hitler’s attempts to exterminate the Jews resulted in the modern nation of Israel; Joseph Stalin, who was insane and hated the Jews, was on a Manic high when the UN voted to allot Israel part of the unincorporated region of Palestine, so he did not object; his objection would have killed the resolution.
3. On the 9th of Av, Moses broke the first tablets of Law when he came down from Sinai to find the people worshipping the golden calf.
Solomon’s Temple (the First Temple) was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586, under the rulership of Nebuchadnezzar.
The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, under the leadership of Titus.
In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain.
World War 1 began on the 9th of Av.
Hitler presented his plan to the Nazi Party on the "Final Solution" to the Jewish problem, July 31, 1940 - Tisha B’Av
4. Greatly outnumber during the 1967 War, but the Israelis not only won, but they took territory from their agrgressors…
5. The surprise attack on two fronts from Egypt and Syria began on October 6, 1973, which was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. Egypt’s forces swiftly crossed the Suez Canal and overran the Bar-Lev line. Syria moved into the Golan Heights … Israel was outnumbered in the north nearly 12 to 1 (there were 1,100 Syrian tanks versus 157 Israeli tanks)…The tide of the war began to turn on October 10. The Syrians were pushed back and Israel advanced into Syria proper. ..The result was UN Resolution 338… This cease-fire was broken and again the Soviets threatened to intervene. However, the US pressured Israel into accepting a second cease-fire on October 25, 1973.(source: www.campus.northpark.edu/history/WebChron/MiddleEast/YomKippurWar.CP.html)
6. Many of us here were alive in 1967 and 1973, and I remember the news casts as these things happened.
7. But the original genocide attempt on the Jews was made around 478 B.C., and it failed miserably, as documented for us in the book of Esther.
The Structure of Esther: A True “Royal Court Story”
A. 13 EPISODES
1. center point: the providential change in Haman’s lot (6:1-14)
2. six symmetrical points before the center point, six after
• Because it is so arranged does not mean events did not happen just as they are spelled out; as the International Bible Encyclopedia points out, “the discovery of a cuneiform text…referring to a court official of Xerxes I called Marduka’ would seem to rule out the mythological approach. It seems clear that Mordecai was a real person” (Vol. 2, p. 159).
• Centered around banquets and fasts
C. Esther’s Theme and Purpose
1. Theme: God’s Providence, though imperceptible, is real nonetheless
2. Secondary Theme: Israel is ultimately indestructible because of God’s Providence
3. Immediate purpose: to explain the origin of the feast of Purim
Main idea: God’s Providence Sets the Stage for His Dramas; He places us where we need to be to accomplish His purposes.