Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Doctrine of Divine Providence or Bloom Where You Are Planted - Part Two

The Doctrine of Divine Providence
Bloom Where You Are Planted - Part Two

Esther is one of only two books in the Bible that does not mention the name of God. (The other is the Song of Solomon.) Not only does the book of Esther not mention God’s name, nowhere is He alluded to, praised, worshiped, nor acknowledged. It has been said that God’s name is not in it, but His fingerprints are all over it!

There may be times that we, like the children of Israel, are out of the will of God, but we are never out of His reach. At first that may sound scary, but in fact, it is very loving and comforting. In other words, as Christians, (not as unbelievers, but as Christians) we may be out of His will, but we are never out of His Love.

The story of Esther is an exciting one. It has all the makings of a riveting novel. It has everything - an orphan child raised by her cousin, a beauty pageant, romance, intrigue, attempted assassinations, conspiracy, comedy, mistaken identity, spies, greed, pride, and even a last minute rescue.

But if you look closely, at every twist and turn, at every path and plot, you will see God’s hand upon it. You will see God’s Divine Providence at work, even in the midst of a people who did not acknowledge His presence.

You may remember the story (and I’m not going to tell it all, because I want you to want to read it) but in the third year of his reign, King Ahasuerus gave a great feast for all the princes, their attendants, and army officers of his 127 provinces. People came from everywhere from India to Ethiopia, and it lasted for 6 months.

The reason for this feast was to showcase the might and wealth of the kingdom in preparation for battle. In other words, Ahasuerus wanted to prove to his whole kingdom that he had the ability to sustain the attack on Greece that he was planning. Whether they all came at one time and stayed, or came and went over the 6 month span, we don’t know. At any rate, it was a big deal.

And after that, he gave another feast lasting an additional 7 days for anyone who might have been left out of the first feast! And while he was giving this party, his wife was giving one for the wives of these men, soldiers and dignitaries.

At the end of this second feast when, as the scripture tells us, “the heart of the king was merry with wine” he called for his wife to come and “display her beauty” to these drunken men. Aaaand she refused. The king was furious! So he called for the royal lawyers, “What shall I do?”

They said, “You can’t let her get away with that. If you do, none of our wives will ever obey us again. Make a decree that she can never come into your presence again. Then, when the women throughout the kingdom hear of it, they will respect their husbands whether they are rich or poor.”

So, that’s what he did. And thus the stage is set for an orphaned Jewish girl to enter a royal beauty pageant and be chosen the new queen. The things that happen to put Esther in the royal palace sound either like pure fiction or a wild set of coincidences. However, one of my favorite quotes is: “Coincidence is when God acts, but prefers to remain anonymous!”

(Stay tuned for part 3 tomorrow...)


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