I begin a study of the Book of Esther this week. I will need to lay some groundwork by way of introduction before we get into the text.
I want to mention first of all the ‘Key Characters’. There are five major characters in this book. The number ‘5’ is always connected with the subject of grace. This is a book that is totally, from beginning to end, a thesis on the subject of ‘Sovereign Grace’. It is a grace ruled, run, and controlled by God alone. The five characters are King Ahasuerus (1:1), Queen Vashti (1:11), Mordecai (2:5), Esther (2:7), and Haman (3:1).
I would also mention a ‘Key Cause’. This is the only book in the Bible where God is never mentioned in any form. He is never referred to by a personal pronoun. Though He is never mentioned in this book He is the unseen cause in this book. Let me remind you of a preacher friend on an Atlanta Highway when CB radios were used. When he got on the Interstate, said on his CB, ‘Breaker, breaker, anyone seen Smokey the Bear (Highway Patrol) on I-85 Northbound’? He said a voice came back and said, ‘Just because you can’t see me doesn’t mean I a not here’. Let me remind our hearts that just because God is never mentioned it doesn’t mean He is not the center of this book in all His glory and majesty. It is true in our own lives. He is doing more we can’t see than what we can see.
Let me first mention also a ‘Key Center’. When I speak of the center of this book I means the theme. I believe the theme of this book is ‘Providence’. I define providence as the unseen hand of God in the glove of my history telling His story. When I preach this sermon I illustrate this point by placing my hand into a black glove. The glove of our life is useless without His hand in our life guiding each step of the way. I like the breakdown of the word ‘history’. It is made up of two words, ‘His’ and ‘Story’. He places His hand in the glove of our life not to tell our history but His story.
By way of a center I mention that this is an ‘allegorical story’. An allegory is where the author takes different characters to represent a truth by way of symbolism. It is through these symbols that the author will often teach great principles of truth. The allegorical thought is seen in such great works as ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. This was a make believe story but let me remind you that Esther is not a make believe story but a true story in which God has arranged each character to teach a great truth about His providence.
I will take up the thought today and maybe for several studies of ‘Providence’. This is our theme. Let us begin to look at ‘The Beauty Of Providence’. Too many see providence as an enemy but it is a friend with great beauty for the child of God.
I turn our thoughts first of all to ‘The Illumination Of Providence’. We will never under stand the depths of providence unless our Lord gives us eyes to see and ears to hear. Let us look at Psalm 103, verses 19 and 22. We find there this thought, ‘He is the determiner of all things’. In verse 19 we are told ‘from His throne in Heaven He ruleth over all”. In verse 22 we are told ‘He has dominion in all places’. The words ‘ruleth’ and ‘dominion’ are very similar in meaning. The words mean to ordain or determine. It is the law by which God makes all events to fulfill His set ordained plan. There are no accidents only appointments. God permits nothing. He ordains all things. There is no perfect will versus permissive will. He has no plan B only plan A. Paul said ‘For it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure’. He said ‘He worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.’ We will find in the book of Esther that He is the determiner of all things both in her life as well as in our own.