Esther: So Contemporary!

The Esther story is an example of how at one crucial moment in history the covenant promises God had made were fulfilled, not by his miraculous intervention, but through completely ordinary events. – Karen Jobes

My brother, Pat, asked me if when I studied through Esther, I had thought about how the principles revealed in Esther applied to our situation now.  I replied that I thought Esther was one of the most contemporary biblical books exactly because it related so closely to our own times.
Look at the many parallels between the culture in which Esther is set and our time.  Esther was struggling with how to live as a Jew at a time and place in which being a Jew was a distinct disadvantage (in just a few more months if you were a Jew, Haman was going to annihilate you). We live at a time in which Christian beliefs are not highly prized (to put it mildly). We are not yet under the same physical threat that the Jews were, although we experience the same pressure to give up our beliefs and go along with the culture at large.  How do we interact with a government that increasingly demands sovereignty over our lives? Do we go along? Do we isolate ourselves from the culture? Do we call out the powers that be and demand that they conform to Christian mores?  And where is God in all this?  What does he want?  How do we know when he is working when he is not working miraculously?
I’m glad you (didn’t) ask.
Esther gives us the faith to live when God is silent. In a study of Esther we find that God is still working when he is most silent; he is working through the ordinary events of our lives and we walk by faith believing that truth because of the lives of Esther and Mordecai.  Who knows that God has not put you exactly where you are “for such a time as this” (Esther 4.14)?
Esther is why we need to think carefully before we throw stones at other Christians who work for someone whom we perceive as opposed to our faith.  One could imagine if another Jew had stood up and called out Esther for siding with Xerxes and demanded that she step down as queen. End result annihilation of the Jews. Short note: I am aware of the moral difficulties contained in Esther. Suffice to say that she did not have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, nor the New Testament, nor ready access to the Torah, so before you throw stones at her, you had better put her in her context and not yours. Was she a flawed heroine? Yes.  But so was David. God uses flawed people again and again in the Scriptures. We do not give Esther a pass, but neither do we try and judge her from a 21st century lens.
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