Today, we’ll focus on the best-known sentence from the book of Esther. Mordecai concludes his argument by asking Esther to reflect on her life: ″And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?″ (Esther 4:14).
In effect, Mordecai says, ″Think about it, Esther: you were an orphaned Jewish girl plucked from obscurity to be queen. Could it be that you have been put in this place of influence for such a time as this? Could a hidden hand be behind your royal position for such a time as this?″
Esther responds by taking the risk of going to the king. As she says, ″And if I perish, I perish″ (Esther 4:16). She is unsure if she will be successful, yet she courageously decides to act. Although she takes the initiative to act, she knows that she can’t control the outcome.
Again, notice that God is hidden. Mordecai could have said, ″And who knows but that God has placed you in your royal position for such a time as this?″ But he doesn’t. Let’s think again about why God is hidden in the book of Esther.
It helps if we consider the situation of the Jews in the book of Esther. They are outside the Promised Land. They are a minority people, with a minority religion, living in the Persian Empire. In this situation, it would seem like God is absent or has forsaken them. So the narrative of Esther is written in a way that reflects the reality of God’s people outside the Promised Land.
This is similar to the situation of many of us. We, as Christians, are the people of God (see Galatians 3:7, 29). We look forward to our promised inheritance awaiting us in heaven (1 Peter 1:3-5). Some of us might be members of a minority ethnic group in our country. Most of us live in countries where Christianity is a minority religion. Often we feel that God is hidden.
We plod along, day after day, largely without God doing anything spectacular. Many of us won’t see a miracle of God. Most of us won’t hear God speaking to us directly. But the book of Esther reveals that even when God seems absent, He is not. He is active in everything, even when His hand is hidden from us. His hand even works through the ordinary events in our lives, although at times we’ll only see it in hindsight.
Reflect on your experience of God’s actions in your life. Do you see Him at work from day to day? Or, are His ″fingerprints″ mostly seen when you look back on your life?
How can we respond to the truth that God is always present with us and is always active in our lives?