Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3541

Jump Start # 3541

Esther 10:3 “For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation.”

  Tuesdays with Esther. This is our final little journey into this wonderful book. I enjoyed teaching this on Tuesdays to a deeper Bible study group and I’ve enjoyed writing about Esther. The last chapter, only three verses, does not contain Esther’s name.

  One wonders, what happened to Esther? Did she grow old gracefully, have a boatload of grandchildren and finally ride off into the sunset? That’s how the movies may end the story. We are not told through inspiration, but like the death of the apostles, legend and history has left us with a pretty good idea.

  King Ahasuerus, or Xerxes, was assassinated in 465 B.C. by his own court officials. They killed his eldest son at that time. They wanted Vashti’s son, Artaxerxes to be the king. And, that happens. He is the king when the Nehemiah story is told. It is believed that during this assassination that both Esther and Mordecai were also killed. It is very likely that Esther died young, probably in her 30’s. Not the triumphant end that we’d hope for. Definitely not a Hallmark movie ending.

  And, through this journey with Esther, we have noted that there are no specific prayers, no quotations from other passages and not even a direct reference to God’s name. Jesus never referred to Esther. The apostles never quoted from this book. This was enough for the reformer Luther to discredit this book as being uninspired. But we have seen that on nearly every page of Esther, the hand of God is found. Nothing miraculous, but certainly the moving of people, the arranging of events and fulfilling of His will.

  Some final thoughts for us:

  First, God’s story, as well as His kingdom and even a congregation is always larger than we are. We play a role, a moment in time, but we are not the central figure in all of this. God is. Realizing that Esther may have died fairly young may sadden our hearts, but it certainly did not keep the flow of God’s kingdom running through David, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans, all the way down to Jesus, the fulfillment. Esther played a role. As did Jeremiah. As did Nehemiah. As do you and as do I. We fill one page in God’s story, but we are not the story. When we begin to think that the church cannot survive without us, we need to really think about that and take a look at passages such as Esther.

  Second, shortly following Esther, the books of Nehemiah and Malachi are written, and then a long, long period of silence. For four hundred years there would be no messages from Heaven. No inspired books. No prophets. No warnings. No promises. Silence. Silence until the Messiah came.

  Books like Esther, where God does not speak, there are no miracles, help us to understand that God is still active. God is still moving things. God is still upon the throne. He doesn’t have to speak to do things. He doesn’t have to use a miracle to keep His will going. And, books like Esther would be a wonderful reminder and help during those long periods for Israel.

  And, for us? God doesn’t speak directly. Not these days. God doesn’t work miracles. Not these days. How do we know that He’s still doing things? How do we know that God is not in hibernation? Books like Esther remind us that God is ever on the throne. What if Esther had not been chosen queen? What if Mordecai had not overheard an assassination attempt on the king? What if that had not been recorded in the official record? What if the king has slept soundly? What if other books were brought to him when he couldn’t sleep? What if he feel asleep while it was read to him? What if Haman had killed Mordecai?

  What if…what if…what if. The point is, it wasn’t. None of those things happened. Did God arrange it? Was God involved? How about today? Things we can’t see. Things we call coincidence. Things we call being lucky. The book of Esther reminds us that nothing is too great for God.

  Third, running through Esther is the lesson of courage. Mordecai refusing to bow down to Haman took courage. Esther approaching the king without an appointment took courage. Esther arranging a banquet with her enemy took courage. Esther asking for a second day for the Jews to battle, took courage.

  The beautiful Shepherd Psalm reminds us of a table set before our enemy. I wonder if Esther thought about that with her two back to back banquets with Haman. And, courage must be within our toolbox of faith. The courage to stand when corporate wants us to bow. The courage to speak out. The courage to do the right thing.

  The most famous passage in Esther is the: “who knows whether you obtained royalty for such a time as this?” And, who knows whether you are in the school, the job, the family, the congregation you are in for such a time as this. Maybe God has placed you in the right spot to serve Him. It may take courage. It may be hard. But such a time as this….

  Tuesdays with Esther. This series of Jump Starts has been put in a booklet called, “Tuesdays with Esther.” They are free, as all of our Jump Start books are. If you would like one, send me an email (Rogshouse@aol.com) and INCLUDE your mailing address.