MDB 18: Esther 4

Mark Johnston Articles

In our journey through Esther we have been wrestling with the question, 'Where is God in all of this?' - not least because he is not mentioned overtly name. But that does not mean he is not there, or that he is not at work. Derek Prime perceptively captures what is going on in the title of his little commentary on this book: 'Unspoken Words about the Unseen God'.

There is undoubtedly very good reason why God chose to make himself known in this part of his Word in this rather unusual way. It may well be because he speaks to people not just through his written Word (the Bible), but also through his Providence - what the author of Hebrews calls, 'his powerful word' (He 1.3). As we watch circumstances and events in life unfold around us - whether we are Christians or not - we find ourselves wondering, 'Who is in control of all this?' Not least as we think about the apparent coincidences of life.

We've already said that the 'coincidences' that keep on cropping up in Esther are a major clue to what it is teaching. The sequence of events and apparent 'chance' happenings all have the cumulative effect of making us as readers conclude that there is more going on here than meets the eye. And that is very much the case as we come to this chapter.

We reach the point in the narrative where events seem to be spiralling towards disaster for the Jewish people. Haman has signed a warrant for genocide and, humanly speaking, nothing can be done to stop it coming into force. Yet once more we see that the only person who is not in a panic is the very one who became the catalyst to this evil plan because he refused to bow to Haman. Mordecai is the one who not only does what only a man of faith would do - looks outside himself for deliverance - but what only a genuine Jewish believer could do: hold to an unwavering confidence that the God of Abraham would somehow honour his promise to preserve his covenant people (4.14).

It's in that same verse that we see Mordecai's perceptiveness. He's not only praying through all that is going on, he is also piecing together the clues of God's providence. And so he says to Esther in the most famous words of this book, 'And who knows but that you have come to this royal position for such a time as this?' God speaks to us in the words of his providence in ways that make us look more closely at what he says to us in the words of his Book.