How long ago did God make the first caterpillar? The first human? How did he make us? His word doesn’t say. It seems to me that we are wise to focus on what he intends us to know, defending his clear revelation rather than our opinions.
God turns bad things into good things (2-7)
God uses small things, and bad things. The king’s personal attendants proposed a national search for the next queen: “‘Then let the girl who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.’ This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it.”
Now our heroes enter the story, and not from easy places. First we meet Mordecai. There is interesting archaeological data regarding this man. A tablet found near Babylon mentions a Mardukaya who was a minister at the court of Susa in the early years of King Xerxes. Many scholars believe that this is the Mordecai of our text.
Mordecai’s great grandfather Kish “had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon” (v. 6). This occurred in 597 B.C., when Jehoiachin was king of Judah.
Mordecai has now been in exile from his homeland for four generations. He has not seen the land of his home and faith in his entire lifetime. But this fact means that God began preparing four generations earlier, specifically 118 years earlier, for this time and event.
God used the destruction of Israel to save Israel.
Esther’s background was no easier. Her parents had both died. Her father had been Mordecai’s uncle. So Mordecai raised this cousin from her birth. If he had not, he would not have had the relationship with her which God used to spare the nation.
So God used the destruction of the nation to save her; and the death of Esther’s parents to save her people. God turns bad things into good things. Paul reminded us of this: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8.28).
Our faith tendency when bad things happen to us is to turn from God and refuse to listen to him.
God will use bad things in our lives for spiritual purposes to grow us spiritually and to give witness. But we have to allow him to redeem our hurt. We will find God only when we let him use the hard places for good.
God turns the physical into the spiritual (8-18)
Now the king’s advisers are looking for the next queen, and Esther “was lovely in form and features” (v. 7). So she was brought to the harem with other candidates. God used her beauty and personality to please Hegai, the head of the harem (v. 9), so she was given preferential treatment.
God used Hegai to show her what to take to the king (v. 15). And so “the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti” (v. 17). And he gave a great banquet and holiday in her honor.
God used Esther’s physical beauty and charm to impress Hegai, and used Hegai to help her win the king. All so he could use the king to save his people. God turns the physical into the spiritual.
What resources are at your disposal today? Physical abilities? Experience? Finances? Time? What spiritual gifts? Everything God has given to you, he intends to use through you. Are you open to his use, available to his call?
We will find God when we are totally available to him.
God turns coincidence into providence (19-23)
Esther 2 isn’t finished. God has used the small thing of Vashti’s disobedience to begin the process which will save the nation; he has used the bad thing of Mordecai’s and Esther’s background for good; he has used physical for spiritual. Now he turns coincidence into providence.
Mordecai “happened” to be sitting at the king’s gate (v. 21). The gates of the city were its markets, and the “city hall” as well. One was typically used by the king, and Mordecai happened to be sitting there.
Here he overhears an assassination plot against King Xerxes. He tells Esther, who tells the king, giving credit to Mordecai. The two officials were hanged, and the event was recorded in the king’s annals. And you remember how God will use these annals to remind the king of Mordecai’s service, leading to the beginning of the end for the enemies of his people.
Coincidence is when God prefers to remain anonymous. There is really no such thing for the child of God. God orchestrates some events, but he uses all events.
So look for God in the happenstances of your life. For there you will often find him.
Do you need to see God? To hear from him? To know his word and will for your life? Then look to these four places:
•The small events of your life
•The hard places
•The physical resources and abilities he has given you
•The coincidences of your daily experience
God loves us as much as the exiled Jews in Persia. And he will be found, if only we will look. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7.7-8).