Esther 1-5: The Silence of God

Over the years, I have heard people express their dissatisfaction with the book of Esther. They comment on the lack of God’s voice and its apparent emphasis on doing rather than trusting. Even Martin Luther is quoted as having a particular dislike for the book.

I have never understood this attitude. First of all, Esther is a wonderful narrative tale, and a true one at that. It’s a story who’s central character is a strong, courageous, and faithful young woman. It’s dramatic, exciting, and exotic. Central among its themes are the evils of hatred and racism and the value of courage and faith. And, best of all, Esther is, of all the stories in Scripture, the most like our own.

How is that?

Precisely because of the odd silence of God.

The Bible is filled with tales of the miraculous. God seems to speak directly to His people everywhere. His intimate interactions with the world are so prevalent that we are often under the impression that this is God’s normal method of communication with people. But, if we think about that for a moment, we will find that the opposite is true.

The Bible takes place over thousands of years, yet I doubt if more than tem percent of that time is actually recorded in Scripture. And even what is recorded is not exceptionally detailed. There are long periods of time (hundreds of years) between many Old Testament stories. Which means that there are equally long periods of relative silence from God. There are at least 400 years of silence between Malachi and the New Testament. And even in the case of a prophet like Daniel, who received visions from the Lord throughout his life, his visions came often one at a time with several years between each one.

The New Testament covers only a 90 year period, and does so with very limited detail. And, even in the detail it does provide, God-inspired men do much more of the speaking than does God Himself.

And all of this does not take into account the rest of the people in the world during this time who, as far as we know, were not receiving active revelations from God.

Life is full of the silence of God. Rarely does He audibly speak to us. Yet we live day in and day out in reliance upon Him. This is the life that Esther lived, a life in which God is active and sustaining and faithful, yet silent. He is there. He is always here. But He asks us to have faith, faith that He is indeed here, faith that He is actively working to sustain us, faith that He saves those whom He loves, and faith that He is always faithful.

Esther stands as a reminder of us of how to trust in the Lord when He is not speaking directly to us. In other words, Esther is an example of how to live our lives every day. We may die or we may live, but we must trust in the Lord, for without Him we would have no life at all.

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