Summary: God has a plan as seen in Esther when she was made queen
Esther 4:1-17 “The Plan”
Sharon was a good student with almost an “A” grade point average. She had her heart set on going to a prestigious college. She wasn’t accepted into that college, however, and the scholarship she was awarded by her second choice was not as large as she had hoped. Her dreams and bright future were suddenly taken away from her. The Connor family was awakened one night by the blare of the smoke alarm. Everyone escaped the flames, but their home was significantly damaged. In a few shore minutes they were homeless. Life sometimes throws us some curves that take us by surprise and shake us to the core of our being—even our faith is affected.
The story of Esther takes place during the exile, or what some people call the Babylonian Captivity. It was probably written shortly after the Jews return to their home land in 537BC. The Jews were rebuilding their cities and towns, at this time, and also rebuild the temple. Life was a struggle and their faith was shattered. The Jews didn’t know what to believe. Esther was written to give the people hope and to explain how God was still a part of their lives.
This may be the Christmas season, but that doesn’t mean that it is immune from sickness, grief, broken relationships, dashed dreams and a bruised faith. The story of Esther shares with us some timeless truths of which we occasionally need to be reminded.
When tragedies strike, we are tempted to shut down. We can become paralyzed with fear, like a dear caught in a car’s headlights. We can hold a pity party and fall into a hole of despair. We can become confused and disorientated.
In verse three we see that this was the reaction of most of the Jews. There was great mourning, fasting, weeping and lamenting. The people laid in sackcloth and ashes. There was little hope and a lot of despair.
Mordecai acted. He dressed in sackcloth, but he did so in front of the king’s palace. He attracted attention and communicated the unjust action to the people of the community. Mordecai also challenged Esther to act. His sends this request to Esther through her servant Hathach, in verse eight.
At first, Esther doesn’t want to act. She fears what the repercussions might be for her personally. Mordecai perseveres and Esther is finally persuaded to enter into the king’s presence.
After a brief pity party, Sharon, sent out applications to more colleges and applied for more scholarships. The Connor family made plans to repair their home while they grieved over the items that they lost.
How do you react when tragedy strikes or you encounter hard times?
AN EVERYDAY GOD
There are not great miracles in Esther’s story. God doesn’t appear to her in a burning bush, nor does God send an angel to speak to her. There are not plagues or crossing of the Red Sea. No one walks on water and there is no blinding flash of light and voice from heaven.
We may want God to answer our prayers and change our situations miraculously. That certainly would be a boost to our faith. Usually, however, God doesn’t work that way in our everyday lives. Miracles happen, but they are few and far between.
BEHIND THE SCENES
God is only seen indirectly in story of Esther. God’s name is never mentioned. Some people wanted to take the book of Esther out of the Bible because it doesn’t contain the name of God.
God’s presence is assumed, though, throughout the story.
God is working behind the scenes and is the cause of several coincidences.
• By coincidence Esther becomes queen after queen Vashti upsets the king.
• By coincidence Mordecai overheard the plot to kill the king and thus saved the king’s life.
• By coincidence Mordecai learned of the plot by Haman to massacre the Jews.
Upon reflection, we can see God working in our lives in this manner. We understand that God is working in our lives in ways that we cannot detect and don’t really understand. We meet people who have an effect on our lives. Things happen to nudge us along a path. We respond and take action because of other events. Others may not see the hand of God, but we see God through the eyes of faith.
We don’t necessarily prepare for the coming of the Lord in Advent by keeping a stiff upper lip or a fake smile on our faces. A better way is to admit the struggles we are enduring, take the action that we believe God is guiding us to take and trust that God is working in the background.
Small acts combined with coincidences can produce great things.