Sometimes you may feel like life is a big gamble; like the outcome of your life is resting on how the dice roll for you. If they roll right, you get “lucky.” If they roll badly, your life goes down the tubes.
There are times when the stars seem to align just right and you find yourself basking in a bundle of blessings. Then there are times when everything seems out of sync and you find yourself drudging through a junkyard of disaster. Some would call this a coincidence. Others would call it pure luck. But another group would say that someone is behind the scenes working out your destiny. And they’d be right! But it is more than just someone.
Esther would understand. She is minding her own business as her people are captive in Persia. Meanwhile Haman—who has been given great authority by the King of Persia—is developing a hatred for Jews. In particular, he hates Mordecai. It seems Mordecai will not bow down to Haman whenever he parades through the streets of Susa.
Haman decides to teach Mordecai a lesson. He gets King Xerxes to sign a decree that on a certain day all the Jews can be killed. And anyone killing a Hebrew would be allowed to keep the personal possessions of the deceased Hebrew.
To determine the exact day when the Hebrews will be exterminated, Haman rolls the dice. Adar the 13th becomes the target date.
In the meantime, the king is having some issues with the queen. She refuses the king’s summons so she is released of her queenly duties. Then, because he needs a new queen, he holds the first “Bachelor” contest to find a new wife. The short story is that Esther gets the rose and becomes his queen.
Yet Xerxes did not know Esther was a Hebrew. Nor that Esther was kin to Mordecai. The king adds another edict that will allow the Hebrews to defend themselves, which turned out good for the Hebrews and bad for any Persian that attacked a Hebrew on Adar the 13th.
And Haman? Well, in a strange twist of events he wound up impaled on a pole he himself had erected for Mordecai. Not sure he got “the point” of the story, but I hope you do. Oddly enough throughout the book of Esther you will never find the name of God mentioned. Not once.
There are days you may think he is not around either. But the story of Esther reminds us that he is, sometimes behind the scenes, working things out for “good for those who love him” (Romans 8:28).
And when you don’t feel he is around, that’s more your problem than his.
He has put you right where you are, right now, so you can make a difference. You can say the words someone needs to hear. You can be the example someone needs to see. You can help someone find freedom from sin. So let others roll the dice and you let God take care of the rest.
Sometime after Adam and Eve committed their world-changing act of disobedience in Garden of Eden, I
can imagine Adam walking with his young sons Cain and Abel. They happen to pass by the ruins of the
Garden of Eden. One of the boys asked their father, “What’s that?”
Adam replied, “Boys, that’s where your mother ate us out of house and home.”
A lot happens in Scripture following the time Adam and Eve took that bite of fruit that gave mankind
perpetual indigestion. As a result, they attempted the first cover up. But since their leaf loincloths were
not very practical, God sacrificed an animal to clothe them. The pair was banished from the Garden and
began life anew as exiles away from their homeland.
It wasn’t the only time God’s people lived as exiles. They spent a few summers in Egypt. Then more
wandering in the wilderness of Sinai. Later, the Babylonians captured the nation of Judah and deported
its people to captivity.
The first group deported included the young, elite men who would be trained as leaders. In that group
were Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Shadrach, and Azariah. They were given the Babylonian names
of Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego. (If you decide to give your child a Babylonian
name, you might try “Intobedwego.”)
While in exile these young men lived powerful, purposeful, prayer-filled lives. They remained on a diet
that helped them find more energy than other workers. They prayed to their God when they were told
not to. They were bold to do what was right regardless of the obstacles placed in their path. And they
made a difference.
It may be difficult to put yourself in their shoes, but according to 1 Peter 2:11-12 those who follow God
today are exiles too. Peter writes: “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful
desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the Gentiles that, though they accuse
you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
You may have days when you just don’t seem to “fit” in this world and that’s a good thing. It’s simply
because as a child of God you don’t. You were made to live with him. Until we are home in heaven, you
and I are exiles. Until then, we have things to do. We can add some good to this life so that others can
get a glimpse of God. We can make a difference.
According to Peter there will be a day God will “visit” us. That’s when the exile will end. And that’s
when you and I will “fit.”