9th Aug 2016
"A Sovereign Protector I have..... "
The book of Esther is surely a unique piece of literature.
Xerxes, the King of Persia, is a named over 100 times; Mordecai, who was to become Xerxes' Prime Minister, is named 51 times and Esther is named 42 times. Yet, the central character in the book is God Himself and He is never named. His hidden hand is never acknowledged.
The book is full of coincidences whereby God delivers His people from a Persian edict of extermination. Natural explanations can always be made about such coincidences, eg. that Esther just happened to be available and be qualified to be Xerxes' queen, when he was looking for someone to replace Queen Vashti. Natural explanations can be made and yet natural explanations never tell the whole story.
The book of Esther is another reminder that God is in control of all things, not just some things. God is well able to use peoples' evil intentions to bring about His good purpose. Joseph's brothers; the evil Prime Minister of Persia, Haman; the weak Roman Governor of Palestine, Pontius Pilate; the able Jewish lobbyists, who demanded the death sentence for Jesus ; and later the deacon Stephen, are all examples that the Sovereign Lord 'rules the peoples justly and guides the nations of the earth' (Psalm 67:4).
The early church knew this. In response to the threats of the Sanhedrin they prayed to the 'Sovereign Lord' (Acts:4:24) and recognised that Herod, Pilate and others 'did what Your power and will decided beforehand should happen' (Acts 4:28).
We don't know who will occupy the White House from next January, but whoever it is, 'The king's heart is in the hands of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases' (Proverbs 21:1). Presidents Xi and Putin, Chancellor Merkel, Prime Ministers May and Turnbull, are all pawns in the hands of the Sovereign Lord.
'There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.' (Proverbs 21:30).
I am not writing this column to justify a fatalistic attitude or any indolence on our part as we face the future. I am writing to combat pervasive fear arising from the latest conspiracy theory doing the rounds of the talk back radio stations of the nation.
We have no need to fear. Our trust is in the Sovereign Lord who does all things well, and works always for the ultimate good of His people (Romans 8:28), that we become more and more like the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:29).
Scratch the surface of all human events, examine the so called coincidences, and not very deep beneath the surface an omniscient, powerful, purposeful hand will be evident. Re-read the book of Esther and be reminded how Mordecai the Jew, at a precarious time in his people's history, becomes Prime Minister of the Persian empire, just as Joseph had done many centuries before in Egypt.
Pharaoh has a recurring dream; Xerxes can't sleep; God uses these everyday events to elevate people to high office to be the means of deliverance for His people Israel. Then remember that the greatest deliverance of all was from our greatest enemy, Satan, by a most unexpected means - the death, not of the tyrant, but of the deliverer. This deliverance is so unusual that the world calls it foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23).
Revelation 21 and 22 reminds us that the day is coming when God's hiddenness will be no more! The Lamb of God will be enthroned and God and the Lamb will be the Light and lamp of the nations (Revelation 21:23). Hidden and unacknowledged will be the things of the past as God, His plan and purpose to unite all things under the rule of Christ will be acknowledged by all who ever lived.
'At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.... and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' (Philippians 2:10-11).