Currently a group of us are going through the Old Testament book of Esther. It is among my favorite books of Scripture. And I am learning it is among the most powerful of books when it comes to exploring issues involviing courage, wisdom, and faith.
Set in the 480s-460s B.C. in Susa of Persia (present-day Iran), Esther’s story covers a series of historical events and explores sundry themes:
- Good vs. Evil
- Cowardice vs. Courage
- Pride vs. Humility
- Bravery vs. Bravado
- Trust in Government vs. Trust in the Lord
- Temporal Power vs. Divine Providence
This list could go on, of course.
Esther is about how the Feast of Purim came to be, about how God sustained the Jewish people during their exile under Persian rule and captivity, about how a humble God-fearing man like Mordecai was used by God to alter the history of redemption, about how a beautiful and brave young woman (Esther) risked it all to trust the Lord, and how God rewarded that trust by vanquishing wicked Haman, his progeny, and how the low and humble (like Mordecai and Esther and the Jewish people) were brought from low to high, and about how God’s providence was manifest–yet again–through examples of faithful men and women.
People often quote phrases from this book, like ” … for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) and “if I [Esther] perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16), but Esther is an easy book from which to quote. It is much harder to live out, especially if you have skin in the game.
May we be found faithful.
Lord, may I be, too.