About this Series
On Sunday Aug 22 we will begin a new series in Esther with the apt series title, “Living in Challenging Times.” Why study Esther, you might ask? Here are some thoughts.
When things are going well in our lives we are more likely to believe in God’s goodness and benevolence. We can see that God is looking after us. But what happens when life goes wrong, when the clouds roll in, when we feel vulnerable, insecure and threatened? At these times we search for God, pleading for Him to change our circumstances, wondering if he is really in control.
All these existential and faith issues arise in Esther. Esther and all her people live under the dark shadow of persecution, threatened with genocide at the hands of the Persians. Strangely God does not appear in the story and yet a great deliverance occurs. Esther is a rescue story, a deliverance story. At the end there is a great celebration which the Jewish people to this day commemorate as the feast of Purim.
God rescues his people, but not in an obvious way. His ways are hidden, somewhat mysterious. There are no prophets, angels, burning bushes or obvious miracles. And so we are left to wonder about God’s hidden work of providence, ordering human affairs to achieve his purposes, working quietly through the decisions that people make. Esther becomes the queen, raised to prominence “for such a time as this” (4:14), reminding us that God is still in charge no matter how bleak things look.
There are many points of application as we live in our own challenging times, looking for God to rescue us from our struggles and looking for that ultimate rescue that only the Lord Jesus can provide. Esther’s world is full of danger, as is ours, but we are reminded that God is still there working for the good of his people. I am really looking forward to this new series. I think God will teach us a lot. I hope you and your Growth Group are really blessed and strengthened by it.