September 24, 2012 – For such a time as this

(That phrase, I get goosebumps when I hear it. You know we’re in Esther now, right?)

 

We are dropping off our son back to the university. It’s his senior year! Please pray for him – and us. I did not have time to create a long post before leaving (count your blessings). But I also didn’t want to miss out on the beauty of the Book of Esther. 

 

Some of the people did not agree that Esther should be included in the canon of Scripture because God was not mentioned at all in the book. Well, I’m glad the Holy Spirit prevailed upon whomever is in charge of doing these things to include it anyway. True, God may not have made an appearance in print but His influence, His imprint, if you will, can be seen all around. Doesn’t it give you great hope? Even when we can’t see God or feel His presence, He is always at work in the background on our behalf.

 

It is a wonderful story of divine providence + human responsibility. Our lives can make a difference if we cooperate with God. Look what a young woman was able to do ~

 

Enjoy these treasures from the ESV Study Bible:

 

Mordecai’s action when he discovers a plot to harm the king (Est. 2:19–23) … shows the benefits that this can bring. (He spoke up and was not scared) Furthermore, Esther’s careful planning, along with her willingness to put her own life at risk to save her people, is especially heroic (4:16). (She acted and did not pass the responsibility to anyone else. She took her position seriously.) Esther and Mordecai both illustrate the fact that divine providence does not negate the responsibility of people to act with courage and resolve when circumstances require it.” (Don’t you just love that?)

 

Relevance for Christians Today

Esther is part of a much larger story that runs all the way from Abraham to Christ and, through Him, to the church. If Haman had succeeded, the Jewish people as a whole would have been destroyed, and the story of God’s saving work in and through Abraham’s descendants would have come to an end. There would have been no fulfillment in Christ, and therefore no gospel and no Christian church. Nothing less than that was at stake. That is why Christians should read the book of Esther, not just as a story about the Jews but as part of their own heritage. It is because of this fundamental connection between God’s purposes in the OT and NT that Christians are to value and learn from the whole Bible as the Word of God (see 1 Cor. 10:11). This side of the cross, Jews and Gentiles have been made one new people in Christ (Eph. 2:11–16). Christians are not obliged to observe the Feast of Purim, but they are to take to heart the truth that God providentially watches over his own, and that no power leveled against them can ultimately prevail (Rom. 8:28).

 

Sadly, the evil of anti-Semitism still exists, and it would be foolish to think that Christians are immune from it. The history of the church indicates otherwise, and, as part of the Christian Canon, the book of Esther still warns against it. But the only real solution to it is the gospel, and the transformation God brings about in the hearts of those who believe it. That is a beginning, however, not an end, and Christians are called to live in a world with some striking resemblances to the one Esther and Mordecai lived in. Governing authorities are often indifferent and sometimes even hostile to the faith of believers, and especially in the West, events often take their normal course with little or no evidence of the miraculous. But the book of Esther, like the NT, teaches how to live in that world with courage and integrity, carrying out responsibilities to the best of one’s ability and trusting God in his providence to protect and provide.

 

[Reading from Blue Letter Bible – Chronological Plan] 

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