The Book of Esther is a wonderful look at God and His use of circumstances. This is a book of the Bible that never once mentions His name – no one prays (although they fast) and not even the narrator acknowledges God’s working in their lives. Instead there is a funny chain of “coincidences” that come together to show God’s work.
- Mordecai just happens to over-hear of a death plot aimed at King Ahasuerus. He does what needs to be done to thwart the threat.
- It just so happens that King Ahasuerus can’t sleep on a particular night – the night that he’d been reminded of Esther’s beauty and worth.
- It just so happens that the book that someone uses to relax him to sleep tells the account of Mordecai’s rescue of the king.
- When the king wants to talk to someone about it, it just happens that Haman is in the outer court – in the middle of the night!
- It just so happens that there is a gallows ready to be used when the king decides to rid himself of Haman.
As we read this story and see the string of coincidences, we can’t help but acknowledge that all of these things didn’t “just so happen,” but that God was orchestrating His will through the characters and events in this story! Even though this book doesn’t say “God,” it was God! Even though they didn’t see Him, feel Him, or hear Him, it was HIM!
I don’t think that God’s use of circumstances was limited to this one story in the Old Testament. I think that this book’s inclusion in the canon was to let us know that God does indeed work through circumstances. He’s orchestrating His will, creating opportunities, working through people’s choices, and guiding events to form His purpose! Sometimes we look for angels, miracles, or talking donkeys instead of understanding that His use of coincidence is as valid and miraculous as those manifestations!
The only character in the story that seemed to see God’s hand was Mordecai. When he presented the annihilation problem to Queen Esther, he suggested that God had been using circumstances to get her to a place where she could help. In Chapter 4 verse 14, Mordecai says to Esther: And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?
Mordecai’s question suggests that God had arranged circumstances so that Esther won the beauty contest to become queen. It suggests that God had planned for her to have access to the king. It suggests that God knew about trouble ahead of time, so placed His answer ahead of time. Isn’t that awesome?!
As we go about our daily life, I think it would be good for us to look at our situations and wonder “What if I’m here right now for such a time as this? What if God’s been orchestrating my life and circumstances to come to this moment in order to further His plans for my life and the lives of those around me?” I think that it would make a difference in how we look at our coincidences! They are God’s hand! We are embarking on a study of Esther on June 17th at 6:30 at Beaudry Oil in Elk River. If you’re interested in seeing more of the irony and wonder in the Book of Esther, come join us!