Editor’s note: This post is part of a series featuring outstanding excerpts from student papers at the BibleMesh Institute, which offers affordable online training for local churches, schools, and ministries. The author’s name has been withheld for privacy and security purposes. She is preparing to serve as a missionary overseas.
The story of Esther is an important narrative in the overall Biblical story for many reasons. One of the main reasons is because it is a great example of God’s heart for his people. It shows how much he loves and cares for them, as well as how he is in control of all things.
The story of Esther comes from the book of Esther in the Old Testament. The story starts with King Ahasuerus, the King of Persia at the time. He was displeased with his current wife, Queen Vashti, and held a beauty contest to find his new wife. Esther, a Jew, won the contest and became the king’s new wife. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, overheard someone making plans to assassinate the king. He immediately told Esther, who then told the king and saved his life. This was all thanks to Mordecai! He was not rewarded by the king at this time, but would be later.
The king promoted Haman, one of his staff, to the highest position possible. Because of this, Haman commanded everyone to bow down to him. However, Mordecai refused to do so because he would only bow down to God. This made Haman extremely angry, and he concocted a plan to exterminate not just Mordecai, but all of God’s people who lived in the Persian empire. Haman issued a decree that was a genocidal law against the Jews.
When the Jews heard of this decree, there was great mourning. Mordecai told Esther what had happened and begged her to approach the king and ask him to save their people. However, Esther was terrified of doing so, because if she did, she would be risking her life. During that time, if someone approached the king without being summoned, they could be killed for doing so. Knowing this, Esther chose to bravely approach the king and invited him and Haman to a banquet.
Before the banquet, the king was unable to sleep one night. When this happened, he asked that the historical records be read to him. As they were read, he was reminded that Mordecai had discovered the assassination attempt and had saved his life. He was also reminded that he had not yet done anything to reward Mordecai for his help! The king honored Mordecai, which made Haman furious. Then, Esther revealed Haman’s plot to the king to kill all of the Jews. The king was enraged, and had Haman killed. He then promoted Mordecai to the position Haman had been in. A law was passed that allowed the Jews to defend themselves, which spared them from the genocide.
Through the story of Esther, we learn about God’s heart for his people. We see through this story how much he loves and cares for them. God promised his people that he would protect them, even in captivity or exile, and he does just that. Even though the name “God” is not mentioned in the book of Esther, God’s hand is in every detail. He is in control of everything and is sovereign over all things. He intentionally placed Mordecai where he would hear of the assassination plot against the king. He strategically placed Esther as the queen so that she would be able to save God’s people from extermination by Haman. Through every step, God was caring for and protecting his people, just as he promised them he would.
In Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem writes, “It is God’s nature to act [in love] toward those upon whom he has set his love, and he will continue to act that way toward us for all eternity” (p. 199). One of God’s attributes is love. He loves his people and does everything for their good – sometimes that means blessing them, and sometimes that means punishing them. But he promises never to leave them nor forsake them. When describing some of the key themes of the book of Esther, the authors of the ESV Study Bible write, “Even when God is most hidden, he is still present and working to protect and deliver his chosen people” (p. 851).
Although there are times when it seems that God may not be actively involved in events, he always is, because he is sovereign over all things. He always makes sure his people are taken care of. When describing the book of Esther, Matthew Henry writes in his commentary, “We find in this book, that even those Jews who were scattered in the provinces of the heathen were taken care of, and were wonderfully preserved, when threatened with destruction” (p. 405). God protected his people not only because he is faithful to his promises, but also because he loves them. God did not want to see his people completely wiped out by Haman. He loved and cherished his people and wanted to use them to bring forth his glory to the ends of the earth. He still does.