(or if you have time, read the whole book).
As you read, note the amount of times there is an instance of what we would call ‘God’s providence’, that is his secret hand in the affairs of people, working out his grand plan.
Esther is a curious book of the Bible. Of course, the only book with no mention of the name of God at all, yet it is a book ‘thick’ with his presence. The narrative is brilliantly put together so that it seems there is no part of the godless exile where God is not active. One could think that the lack of God’s name actually just accentuates his pervasive and subterranean presence. Whether it is in the plans of Mordecai, the placement of Esther, the insomnia of King Ahasuerus or the egotism of Haman, God sovereignly rules the ‘in-betweens’ of reality.
A component list life vs. an exploded view.
One of the reasons we get such a feel for God’s presence in the book of Esther (and it is a feel rather than a defined description), is the way the story is told and the narrative unfolds. Rather than a ‘component list’ of the qualities, actions or words of God, the writer weaves the story. Each character is connected and it is in this ‘exploded view’ of the situation that we can trace the themes of God’s covenant grace and sovereign rule. Note the examples.
It is quite easy and natural for us to view life in list form; a peek at our diaries will reveal this. We live Dissected and Descartes-ed lives, tricking ourselves into thinking we can mentally compartmentalize our souls. We go from one task to the next, one meeting to the next, taking off this hat in exchange for another. And in this list work we develop callouses over our ability to see God’s presence in the ‘in-betweens’ of our own lives. We miss the themes. What we need is an ‘exploded view’ of our lives, seeing how each part of us – our roles, activities, emotions, relationships, situations – fit together and reveal God’s activities and presence.
Take some time then to undertake the following exercise before God-
Brad Dewson, Minister Goondiwindi Presbyterian Church