Tonight we kick off our 10 week study of Esther, ala Beth Moore. I am excited, because I think we’ll have a fun and unique group. I’m also excited because this is, hands down, my favorite Old Testament book. Why? Not because our protagonist is a woman (although that is refresing). Esther is written without direct reference to God–he’s never mentioned by name, and is never mentioned as having specifically intervened any way throughout Ester’s story. In fact, this has brought the book under scrutiny in the past, with some historical critics claiming that it shouldn’t be considered part of the Bible. But I think that the subtlety of God’s presence throughout the book is it’s brilliance.
How often do you hear a narrator, like Harold Crick, over your life story saying “and then God did this…”? How often do you literally wrestle with angles, encounter burning bushes or see Jesus walk through the wall of your living room? Esther’s story reads a lot like how we experince daily life. God’s hands are all over it, there’s no doubt, but the book is devoid of the dramatic biblical devices that we equate with God’s involvement yet hardly encounter in our own lives. I think sometimes when we read stories in the Bible recounting the unbelieveable, we do actually find them unbelieveable. Our familiarity with these stories allows us to categorize them with fairy tales we were told as children. It’s not that we don’t believe God parted the Red Sea, we just don’t think that’s the same God we encounter today.
Well folks, it is. And Esther’s story–a story that happens right in the middle of a whole lot of unbelievable activity–that reminds us that God is present in our life too; even if we can’t hear a narrator tell us so.