Do you ever feel forgotten by God? Do you wonder if He still knows your address? If He has a plan for your life? If He is able to help with your needs?
Do you ever feel discouraged while looking at the state of our nation? Do you wonder where the speedily declining moral degradation will end?
In short, do you wonder if God is in control?
The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is good news for weary, fearful, or discouraged Christians. It assures that our lives and the world itself is not slipping away from a loving but helpless God. It reminds us that He is in control, and He is committed to making all things work together for our good and His glory.
God’s sovereignty—His position as Ruler of all—is stated emphatically throughout Scripture. But it is demonstrated vividly in the story of Esther. Remarkably, Esther doesn’t even mention God’s name, but His hand is so clearly seen in this intricate unfolding of events that it has encouraged untold Christians to trust in the Lord and His good and kind sovereignty.
Notice a few of the truths related to God’s sovereignty we learn from Esther’s life.
Human power is always limited.
Esther lived in a world of heathen despotism. Worse still, the king who publicly humiliated his wife because she stood up to him became Esther’s husband. And the king’s closest advisor, Haman, was a sworn enemy of the Jews. Yet, despite the wickedness of evil men, God had His way. He let Ahasuerus and Haman go just so far and then used their own desires to accomplish His purposes in preserving and prospering His people.
Proverbs 21:1 tells us, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”
Here in America, we don’t live in a dictatorship, and I believe Christians have the responsibility to participate in electing leaders who most closely align with biblical values. But we also should not wring our hands in despair when ungodly leaders are elected or those in power are corrupt. For there is still a King in Heaven Who reigns supreme. And even the most powerful rulers on earth are limited by the decrees and purposes of God.
“Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:8–10).
God’s timing is impeccable.
The basic story of Esther is simple: a Jewish orphan girl grows up to be the queen of Persia and saves her people from destruction. But the story’s plot is complex, involving multiple subplots that integrate at key moments. For instance, Mordacai was in the right place at the right time to hear the assassination plot of the king’s chamberlains. Furthermore, the king could not sleep on the very night that Haman came for permission to kill Mordacai, and that just happened to be the night Ahasuerus had been reflecting on Mordecai’s kindness. Had any one of these—or several other—events happened earlier or later, the story could have ended differently.
Like many other biblical events, Esther’s story showcases the perfect timing of God. He is never late, and He is never surprised. The God who sent His Son into our world in “the fulness of the time” (Galatians 4:4) is not oblivious to the timing in your life either. You can confidently pray with David, “But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand . . .” (Psalm 31:14–15).
You get to be part of God’s sovereign plan.
When it comes to God’s sovereignty, we have a tendency to lean to extremes as if all elements are either/or choices. We think that either God will perform His plans, or our choices are meaningful. In reality, both are true. God will perform His plans, and our choices are meaningful.
Perhaps the most-quoted phrase from the book of Esther is from Mordecai’s encouragement to Esther to act: “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).
Mordecai’s confidence in God’s sovereignty didn’t lead him to a lackadaisical attitude toward the tragically unfolding events around him. Rather, his faith compelled action. He reminded Esther that God would keep His promises, but she had a choice in being involved.
For Esther’s part, she fasted and presumably prayed in recognition of her dependence on God’s intervention. And then she acted. Valuing a cause greater than her own life, she went into the king’s presence to make her request. Yet, even in her dependence on God, Esther was perceptive and measured in how she approached the king. Rather than just blurting out an accusation against Haman, she craftily drew out the king’s intrigue and set the stage for a moment that called out his sense of valor.
So is it God’s sovereignty or our actions that make a difference in the unfolding of God’s purposes? Both! The incredible reality is that God uses people—you and me—to make a difference in this world.
God has a purpose for your life at “such a time as this.”
When your life seems to be careening out of control, when challenges mount around you, when the choices of others negatively affect you, remember God’s sovereignty. Remember that human power is always limited, God’s timing is impeccable, and you get to be part of God’s sovereign plan.
Stabilize your soul in remembering God’s sovereignty, and then, trusting in Him and depending on His strength, choose to engage in making a difference for Christ right where you are.