At last, we are at the end of our Esther Bible study series—chapters 9 and 10. These two chapters are the resolution of Esther. I recommend that you go read Esther 9 and 10 for yourself, but here’s a quick run-down.
- The fateful 13th of Adar comes, when everyone is allowed to slaughter the Jews—but thanks to Mordecai’s counter-decree, the Jews “gain mastery over those who hated them” instead of the other way around.
- After Esther requests it, the king grants the Jews in Susa a second day to defend themselves by killing their persecutors.
- Even though the Jews kill a lot of people on these two days, Esther 9 repeats three times that they laid no hands on the plunder. (See more about that in my Q&A post.)
- The Jews call those days Purim, because Haman cast lots (“Pur”) to destroy them in Esther 3:7, but God protected them. Purim becomes a holiday for the Jews.
- Mordecai is promoted! Hurray!
Rather than just focusing on Esther 9-10, today I’m going to take a step back and share the two greatest lessons I learned from the book of Esther as a whole. I knew both of these as head knowledge before I started studying Esther, but Esther helped support these truths and make them a little more real to my life.
#1: God is in control
Unlike any other book of the Bible, Esther never mentions God’s name, but this story points to God and shows us how He is at work even when you can’t see Him.
As we studied Esther this summer, I challenged myself to look extra closely for where God was at work. Once I started looking for it, it was easy to see how God was everywhere. Nothing was a coincidence.
Haman cast lots to get the favor of his gods, and that didn’t work very well for him. He was hung on the same gallows he built for Mordecai, and Mordecai got his job.
Mordecai, Esther, and the Jews fasted, and (although Esther doesn’t say specifically) they also likely prayed. Look what happened to them:
Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. – Esther 9:10 (ESV)
Haman’s casting lots (Pur) turned into the Jew’s celebration (Purim).
God worked everything in the book of Esther out to save His chosen people. God was and is in control of everything—down to the king not being able to sleep, and what his servants read him! (See Esther 6:1-2.)
#2: God works through His people.
Although God was never mentioned in Esther, He worked through His people. He empowered an orphan girl to save the Jews from destruction, with the help of her cousin, Mordecai.
Esther and Mordecai weren’t perfect. Far from it. They sinned just like you and me.
Esther and Mordecai weren’t powerful or mighty. They were just everyday Jews in Persia, seeking to follow God.
And Esther was just a girl. An orphan, too.
But God put them exactly where He wanted them. He’s the almighty Author, and He knew exactly how He wanted this to happen, even before He created the world.
And to show exactly how powerful He is, God chooses to work through imperfect, insignificant, sinful people to do amazing things. When you see ordinary people—in the Bible and in modern-day life—do extraordinary things, there is no choice but to give the glory to God.
The book of Esther shows us to have faith—because God is in control of all things. “If I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)
The book of Esther shows us to be courageous—because God works through His people. “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
Let’s be like Esther and Mordecai, trust these truths, and show that in our lives.
What do you think?
Which of these lessons is most relevant to your life? What have you learned from Esther this summer? Have you ever learned a big lesson from studying another book of the Bible?