Focal Passage: Esther 2:5-7, 4:8-17
I know I’m about to wade into some dangerous waters but are you reading according to the sovereignty of God or your free will? Think about that question.
The physical abilities necessary to read and the class you may be preparing for were given to you by God, right? But didn’t you have to open the paper and make the choice to use your eyes and brain to comprehend these words?
I bring this up not to say that I’m going to unravel the deep mystery of the sovereign foreknowledge of God and the free will of man, but because our passage displays the tension between these two realities beautifully. Oftentimes following God is difficult, we can follow faithfully as we understand this tension with greater clarity.
Verses 5-7 in Esther chapter two describe the circumstances of the two main characters in the story, Esther and Mordecai. We learn that Esther’s parents have died and her relative adopted her. Mordecai’s lineage, the geographical location of this small family, and even the way Esther looked are discussed and are all integral to how the story unfolds.
Notice what links all of these aspects of the narrative together, they were all beyond the control of the people involved. Esther could not determine what she looked like, where she was born, who adopted her, and unless there were some extreme circumstances, the death of her parents was beyond her influence.
Mordecai did not determine his lineage, ethnicity, or the needs of his family. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “the devil is in the details.” I’m arguing that the Divine is the details. Though the book of Esther never mentions God, we can see His sovereign and good handiwork in the circumstances of these people.
As you continue to explore the story of Esther you discover how God was at work. Mordecai cared deeply for his people and longed to keep them safe. As Esther became queen Mordecai would use his influence in her life to make an effort to preserve the people of God. It was God’s will to preserve the lives of His people. Notice how God accomplished this purpose, through people.
Mordecai touched on this reality as he encouraged Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jews. Mordecai put it this way in Esther 4:14, “Perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”
Esther went before the king, which if not summoned could cost her life, and appealed to Ahasuerus to protect Mordecai and preserve the Jews, which he did.
The book of Esther ends with Mordecai, now second in command in Susa, saying he “sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people” (Ch. 10:3). God accomplished His plan to protect the Jews through the life, circumstances, and positions of Esther and Mordecai.
Did God orchestrate this series of events or did Esther and Mordecai have to act with conviction and courage? Yes. We as Christ-followers can be courageously faithful when we recognize the sovereignty and goodness of God in all of our circumstances. B&R