Everyone loves a good story. On a typical weekend in the United States, people go to movie theaters, forking over tens of millions of dollars to enter the world of fine narrative. The majority of movies customarily include some combination of violent conflict, beautiful women, evil villains, innocent bystanders, broken homes, impending tragedy, hopes of romance, supposed victims, erotic sex, troubling justice, and a double-rainbow, Hollywood ending. Those are all the ingredients of most good stories, except one. The missing ingredient is the missing God. God is nowhere to be found. That’s Hollywood, but did you know that’s also the Holy Bible?
The book of Esther is one of the most riveting tales in all of Scripture. Here we find all the ingredients of a magical story. A beautiful and courageous orphan is used for her sexuality and allows herself to be used. A selfish, paranoid, and genuinely evil man experiences stunning and hilarious reversal. A king who seems inept at best rises to the occasion. Good appears to triumph and evil appears to fail. The crisis is averted and everyone goes home a bit happier. But in all of this God seems to have taken a much-needed vacation. Yes, I am talking about a book in your Bible.
Esther never mentions God. There is not a single prayer in the story. The heroes do things no godly parents would want their children to do. No Scripture is quoted. Sinful sex seems celebrated. Overt miracles are nowhere to be found. People who apparently love God hide their identity and their faith. God’s good plan seems, troublingly, advanced through sinful people of sinful means. All the while, God appears to be absent.
What makes the book of Esther so compelling is that it presents an honest look at life as we know it. An all-powerful, perfect, and ever-present God seems nonetheless hidden. His plans advance where lest expected. Heartache and horror give way to happiness, for some. Sex and love miss the ideal. Broken homes, apart from the saving work of God, tend to produce after their kind. Spirituality is relegated behind the curtain instead of discussed in the public square. God’s promises seem on the verge of complete nonsense. Through this ancient story we see our lives and our struggles to understand the Unseen Sovereign.
Esther’s message is timeless: Though seemingly hidden, the Unseen Sovereign works through imperfect people to accomplish his perfect plan. God is closer than we think. His invisible hand of providence is everywhere, but we need eyes trained to see him. This series will do just that.
April 27 – Queen No More (Esther 1:1-22)
May 4 – Beauty and the Beast (Esther 2:1-18)
May 11 – God, Are You There? (Esther 2:19-4:3)
May 18 – Imperfect Mediator, Perfect God (Esther 4:1-17)
May 25 – Tables Turned (Esther 5:1-8:17)
June 1 – Rest from Our Enemies (Esther 9:1-10:3)