Esther and God’s Providence
August 17, 2014 Series: The Old Testament
Passage: Esther 4:1-16
Do you sometimes feel like God is silent or absent in your life and circumstances? Where are you looking and what are you looking for to find evidence that God is present? Are you missing what’s He’s doing right in front of you?
The Problem of God’s Silence
Read the book of Esther. Considering it’s a book of the Bible, what stands out most as you read through the book? Notice God’s apparent absence or silence. Early in the book of Esther we see two problems: 1) Circumstances look very bad. All of the Jews are going to be killed. 2) God seems to be absent or silent. Can you relate to the feeling of life circumstances being bad with no way out and no one to rescue? How does that affect your relationship to God? Do you begin to question God’s goodness and whether he is actually in control? Do the things that have been brought into your life result in anger or despair towards God?
The absence of God in the book is actually a literary device used by the author. He is tell us: In spite of the way things look, God is not absent or silent. He is right in front of us, in control, and working all things out to accomplish his purposes.
The Assurance of God’s Providence
A number of things in Esther seem to just “happen”, along with many reversals of events. The reality is that although God is not mentioned in the book, the author is trying to get us to see that God is behind every move! The book of Esther teaches us that even when God seems most hidden and silent, He is still present and working for His people in all things. It also teaches us that God works in the ordinary. Do you see God in the things of everyday life or are you looking elsewhere?
Read Ephesians 1:11. What does this teach us about the doctrine of God’s providence? It’s one thing for God to be in control of everything, governing all things, and have the power to do that. But we need more than a God who is powerful; we need a God who means to do us good in all things. Where do we find that promise?
The Guarantee of God’s Goodness
Read Esther 4:14-16. Esther was raised up “for such a time as this” and saved her people. The Bible tells us that, like the Jews in the story of Esther, we too are under a decree of judgment and in need of a Savior. But we need a Savior who can approach God, not a sinful, earthly king. Apart from the Savior that God provides, we, as his enemies, have every reason to worry about life, death, and judgment.
But the good news of the gospel is that God has provided a Savior in his Son, Jesus, who was raised up at the right time (See Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:4) and underwent the ultimate silence from God on the cross in order to save sinners. By repenting of our sin and putting our faith in Jesus, we are reconciled to God and receive his promises.
Read Romans 8:28. This is the promise that because of the gospel, God is working all things out for the good of His children, even if we can’t understand them yet. We can trust him in all things because He gave his only Son for us (Romans 8:32). How does this promise change the way you view your life circumstances?
Spend some time in prayer reflecting on what God providentially has done in the past, and apply the truths of his good character and promises guaranteed in the gospel to your present circumstances.
- Worship the LORD for His power, goodness, and wisdom in governing and preserving all things. Praise Him, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for working all things for the good of his children.
- Where have you overlooked God’s hand in your life? Do you struggle with anger and bitterness towards God over things He’s brought into your life? Ask God to forgive you for your pride.
- Give thanks to Jesus that He died on the cross to atone for all your sins and that God’s smile now shines upon you. Praise Him for all things that He’s brought into your life, the good and the bad, and trust Him with them, including the things you can’t understand. (see Ephesians 1:11, Romans 8:28).
- Who do you know that holds a worldview that doesn’t truly satisfy or bring peace to them? Ask God to open their eyes to their need for God’s power and goodness that can only be found in the work of Jesus.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to develop in you the ability to see God in the ordinary things of life, and to come alongside others to point them to what God is doing in their lives. Repent for consistently overlooking His grace towards you in the things you take for granted.