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The God of Esther

Does the Bible actually teach that God is in control of everything?

by Andrew Davis on April 27, 2021

“That night the king could not sleep.” - Esther 6:1

There is only one book in all of Scripture which has no overt reference to God, and that is the Book of Esther. Some may wonder on that account why it was included in the Bible, but such wondering can be laid to rest when we consider the marvelous and hidden providence which so clearly guides the events recorded there. The clear teaching of Scripture is that God rules over the smallest happenings on earth: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:33). What is even more amazing is the God actively rules over the decisions made by kings: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Prov. 21:1). Therefore, when the Persian King Xerxes laid down to sleep on that fateful night, the night before he was to meet with the wicked Haman and with his Queen, Esther, for a banquet that would decide the future of the Jews, it just so happened that he couldn’t fall asleep. An accident?? Hardly. God wanted to arrange some thoughts in the King’s mind. For Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, was the focal point of Haman’s rage, and God wanted King Xerxes to know that Mordecai earlier had saved the his life and that no reward had even been given him (Esther 6:3). So, it was hardly an accident that, as the King lay with insomnia, it was the book of the chronicles of his recent reign that he had ordered to be read to him. 

When the next day dawned, Xerxes ordered Haman to honor Mordecai for what he had done. Haman’s wife and advisors seemed to know that Haman was in big trouble now, for they said “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin” (Est. 6:13)! They clearly understood the unstated lesson of the entire book of Esther: “The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men…” (Dan. 4:32). Though God’s name is never mentioned in the words of the Book of Esther, His “fingerprints” are all over the events that unfolded. 

"The clear teaching of Scripture is that God rules over the smallest happenings on earth..."

And isn’t this exactly how God’s sovereignty comes to us? Without a clear statement in the everyday occurrences of our lives, without an angelic messenger descending from heaven, unrolling a scroll, and proclaiming, “God has done this,” so we must see the unseen hand of God moving through our lives. The absence of God’s name and the presence of God’s activity in the Book of Esther is a paradigm for the way God deals with us every day.

Tags: the doctrine of providence