For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation.Esther 10:3(NASB)
There are many reasons that the book of Esther has received a less than a positive response over the years. Perhaps the absence of any direct mention of God is one reason it has been dismissed as irrelevant or unimportant by some. Similarly, different methods of interpreting Scripture, such as allegorising its content or presuming that it is no more than a fictional story, has also contributed to Esther being spurned in ancient Judaism and early Christianity alike.
However, when interpreted literally and understood in its correct historical context, many concerns disappear and instead we recognise that its primary purpose is to teach about God's providential care for His people, His sovereign oversight in the forward progression of history, His unfolding plan of salvation, and His continuing relationship with His chosen people - even when they are disobedient or far away from the Promised Land of Israel.
Esther is also a book that warns against the anti-Semitism, which has plagued the world for thousands of years, as well as a reminder that God has not... and will not reject His nation and is able to accomplish His sovereign plans and purposes through the actions of pagan rulers and ungodly men - irrespective of circumstances and whether or not they acknowledge Him as God.
As the story of Esther unfolds, we discover that a wicked plan to exterminate the entire Jewish race had been hatched by evil men. However, as the account progresses we find God using everyday happenings to fulfil His covenant promises to Israel, in order to forward His sovereign plan of salvation. Esther is a thrilling story that results in the destruction of the wicked, the promotion of characters who trusted God for salvation, and encouragement for all who trust God's Word, believe He is in control, and are willing to be used by Him.
As the story of Esther progresses, we are able to identify a series of simple events in the palace of Persia which the Lord used to turn the imminent massacre of the entire Jewish nation into a wonderful time of praise and rejoicing - which continues to be celebrated as the annual feast of Purim to this day.
The final outcome of this thrilling narrative, where God used a young Jewish girl to become queen of the vast Persian empire and expose the evil works of darkness, we read that, "Mordecai the Jew," who was also the uncle of queen Esther, "was made to be second only to King Ahasuerus!"
God used simple things like the king drunken state, queen Vashti's refusal to appear before him, the evil plots of assassins, and the king's insomnia, to bring about one of the most amazing rescues of the Jewish nation recorded in Scripture.
Mordecai, the man who was destined to be hanged on a great gallows by the evil Haman, became the second most powerful man in the Persian empire because God remains in control of history. "Mordecai was great among the Jews and found favour with his many kinsmen." Esther and Mordecai are remembered to this day, as two people whom the Lord used to save His covenanted nation from annihilation. We read in this verse that, "Mordecai sought the good of his people and was a man who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation." What a great tribute to this man who trusted God and believed that He had the power to save.
God is still in control of the unfolding plan of history and His sovereign purposes will one day be fulfilled, for His Word cannot fail and His promises are 'Yes' and 'Amen' in Christ Jesus. Today God is working through the Church, which is the Body of Christ, but He is ready and able to use any one of his people who are willing to die to self and live their life for His praise and glory.
God has a unique purpose for every believer and is willing to use each one of us to bring His plan of redemption to its completion. Maybe, like Esther and Mordecai, we have been put in a particular place to be used by Him for a particular purpose. May we be ready and willing, for His name's sake, to be used, "for such a time as this."
Heavenly Father, thank You for the amazing book of Esther and the wonderful way we see God's plans and purposes being quietly carried out through everyday circumstances, in order to forward Your sovereign will for the redemption of the world and the return of Christ to set up His eternal kingdom on earth. Thank You that there is nothing that can prevent Your eternal purposes from being fulfilled. I pray that I may die to my own desires and live for Your greater glory, and that by Your grace You would use me in the place in which I have been planted. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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