“Esther could be compared to a chess game. God and Satan (as invisible players) moved real kings, queens and nobles. When Satan put Haman into place, it was as if he announced “Check.” God then positioned Esther and Moredcai i order to put Satan into “Checkmate!” Ever since the Fall of man (Genesis 3:1-19), Satan has attempted to sever God’s relationship with His human creation and disrupt God’s covenant promises with Israel.” ~John MacArther
Very wise words that describe the book that we begin studying today. A book about a courageous woman, who takes a stand on a hard, political, and customary case. A woman who was asked to do something hard – and did it. Today, we begin looking at:
Esther is one of two books in the Bible that has two different, interesting characteristics. One, it is one of two books solely based on the life of a woman. The book of Ruth also focuses on the life of a woman as the main theme. The other characteristic that sets it apart, is that never once in the book is the name of God mentioned. We will do more on that toward the end of the post.
We have several players in the book of Esther. We start with Esther herself- who name also translates Hedassah. This means myrtle or star. She was an orphan – we are not told what happens to her parents, but she is adopted by her cousin, Mordecai (meaning warrior). There is Queen Vashti – which we are going to find to be a very short lived character. King Xerxes (aka Ahasuerus) – who was known to be tall, dark and handsome (Beth Moore “Esther” Study) and a little bit spoiled it seemed. Lastly, we will meet Haman- an Agagite- who took a long ago feud to a whole new level.
The author of this book is unknonw, although some speculate that Mordecai would have been the author. The book is filled with tons of information on Persia, the Palace of Shusan, Jewish nationalism, the Hebrew calendar and Persian customs. This is something that Mordecai would have known – being his position and by being a Jew. Yet, these are still only speculations.
Esther is part of the Megilloth- or the “5 Scrolls” that includes Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations.
The drama of the book dates back before the drama that actually happens. Mordeccai and Esther are Jews. Haman was an Agaite. Back in 1 Samuel 15:2-3 and 7-9, Saul had received an order to kill all the Amalikelites. However, Saul disobeyed. A feud between the two nations continued – all the way to Haman – and this is part of the reason he hated the Jews so much.
The biggest thing about this book- and where there is even some controversy- is why God’s name and His law are not mentioned. Does this mean God had no role? Here are my thoughts.
As surrendered believers of Jesus Christ, He has a hand on our lives. I encourage you to look for yourself on the pages of Esther. Just like in the book of Esther, so much is going on behind the scenes of our lives – even when it seems like God is quiet. Through this book, we will see the providence of God – which Websters says to be God being the power sustaining and guiding our human destiny. The Bible says
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, (Ephesians 1:11 ESV)
for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13 ESV)
Even when we can’t see it – God is working in our lives. I am often reminded of the children’s song “He has the whole world in His Hands.” Oh, how true that song is. Yet, the even more powerful truth to me is that He has MY world in His hands. My pains. My victory. The drama that is unfolding around me- God is in control of that.
Again my friends, find yourself in the pages of scripture this week. We live in tough times. We live in a world like Persia – worldly, where we fear what might happen. Yet, we can be BOLD. We can be COURAGEOUS. We can be strong women trusting in an AWESOME God.
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Worshiping With My Life,