When Life turns dark

When Life Turns Dark God Moves in Unseen Ways

Esther 2-3

 For Esther, the sudden change of events must have elicited various emotions.  There would have been fear, excitement, and apprehension all mixed into one.  As the king's men scoured the land to find a suitable replacement for Vashti, it must have been a shock when Esther was chosen as one of the candidates.  When she arrived at the citadel of Susa, many young ladies were vying for the position of Queen.  To be selected would have brought all the things a person could wish for:  wealth, recognition, and a financial blessing for the whole family.  For many, it would be a dream come true.  Yet for Esther, it would also bring apprehension, for she was a Jew, a people in exile and looked down upon by others. Why Mordecai advised her to keep her ethnic identity a secret, we can only guess.  Was it because Mordecai saw it as an opportunity to gain a more significant position in the palace? Was he fearful that if her identity was revealed, the anti-Semitism that existed might put her at risk?  Did he see this as an opportunity for a Jew to gain greater influence in the kingdom?  The narrator does not tell us.  The point is that the issue was not in the decisions and actions of the participants in this drama. Instead, it is upon the unseen hand of God working behind the scenes to provide deliverance for one of the most significant threats that would arise against the nation of Israel.  

The first hint that God was orchestrating the events is seen when Esther first arrives at the palace.  Of all the women brought to be presented to the King, Esther gained the favor of the one most influential in the process, Hegai, the person in charge of the women.  Under his tutelage, she is given the special attention that would ensure that she catches the king’s eye.  As a result, Esther was chosen to become the queen.  

The second event that would play an important role involves Mordecai.  While conducting business at the king’s gate, he “by chance” became aware of a plot by two officials to assassinate the king.  After hearing of the plot, he informs Esther, who then tells the king.  After a quick investigation, the two insurrectionists were put to death.  However, surprisingly no reward was given to the one person who provided the information. So instead of rewarding Mordecai, the king went about his business.  

It is now that the story turns dark, and the circumstances for both Mordecai and Esther become sinister.  Just when everything seemed to be going well for Mordecai and Esther, Mordecai gains a dangerous adversary.  Haman, who had been appointed as one of the chief officials of the king, became angry when Mordecai refused to bow down in homage to Haman.  Soon his anger turns to bitterness, and his bitterness turns to hatred.  Furthermore, Haman was more than just an official, he was an Agagite, the sworn enemy of the Jews. Agag was the king of the Amalekite who had been put to death by Samuel.  As a result, there was deep hostility between the Jews and the Amalekites, hostility that God foretold in Exodus 17:15.  Furthermore, Mordecai was a Benjamite, the tribe of Saul, and the one who had been the king when Agag was killed. Consequently, Haman had ethnic, religious, and political reasons for destroying Haman.  

This brings us to an important principle.  God’s sovereign hand upon our life does not guarantee that we will be free from adversity and struggles.  We often assume that when God is working in our life, we will be free from trials, and his blessing will bring peace, tranquility, and prosperity.  But such is not often the case.  God looks at circumstances from an eternal perspective, while we look at them from a temporal perspective.  There are times when God allows us to face difficulties so that he might accomplish something supernatural and eternal.  But that is for another devotional.  What is essential for us to realize is that even in the trials of life we can still rejoice, for God’s unseen hand is still at work to accomplish results that we could not envision.

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