Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. [Isaiah 46:10 (NLT)]
Sunset Wednesday begins the 14th day of Adar in the year 5782 of the Hebrew calendar. Instead of anticipating St. Patrick’s Day and corned beef and cabbage, our Jewish brothers and sisters will begin celebrating Purim. One of the most joyful days of the Jewish calendar, its reason for being is found in the Book of Esther—an account filled with suspense, conspiracy, reversals, twists of fate, and an abundance of what some might call coincidence.
Although the Book of Esther is the only one in the entire Bible in which God’s name is never mentioned, His fingerprints are all over the story. Was it just luck that, out of all the beautiful young virgins in the entire kingdom of Persia, it was the Jewess Esther who pleased King Xerxes so much that she became his queen? Did she just catch a good break when Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem, took a special liking to her and helped her, not once, but twice? Was it by chance that Esther’s uncle Mordecai happened to be at the city gate precisely when two guards plotted the king’s assassination? Was it mere coincidence that, when Mordecai foiled the plot, Esther made sure his name got written in the account of the event?
When the king’s chief administrator, Haman, plotted the extermination of the Jews, was it just a stroke of luck that, when casting lots to determine the date of their extermination, the fateful day was nearly a year distant, giving Esther and Mordecai time to respond to the threat? Was it just an accident that Xerxes, unable to sleep one night, had an attendant read him the history of his reign or that the selected passage just happened to be the account of Mordecai saving the king’s life? Realizing Mordecai was never honored for his good deed, the King decided to reward him. Was it just fortuitous that, at that very moment, the evil Haman appeared at the king’s door? Haman came seeking permission to execute Mordecai but was sidetracked when the king asked how to honor a man who pleased him. Thinking Xerxes was speaking of him, Haman forget about Mordecai as he described a lavish and public reward. What a delightful twist of fate when it was Haman who led his nemesis Mordecai about on horseback while proclaiming the Jew’s honor. Coincidence or God’s perfect timing?
When Esther exposed the evil plot, the enraged king went into the garden. Haman remained and pled for his life from Esther. Just as the panicked man fell on her couch, Xerxes re-entered the room. Since it looked like Haman was assaulting Esther, the evil man’s fate was sealed. Did Haman trip because of bad luck or had divine intervention caused him to fall?
The providential reversals continued as Haman ended up impaled on the pole once intended for Mordecai’s execution. Although the edict directing the slaughter of the Jews could not be rescinded, Xerxes signed another one allowing the Jews to defend themselves and kill anyone who attacked them. When the new edict arrived, many of the people of the land became Jews themselves and, when the day of massacre arrived, the Jews defended themselves and 75,000 Persians died. God’s kingdom was expanded without one mention of Him in the entire narrative. Nevertheless, we can’t help but ask if all of those events were mere coincidences or God-ordained events.
The Book of Esther illustrates that seemingly random and insignificant events are actually controlled by our sovereign God. With His wisdom and foresight, God puts people in places at specific moments to accomplish His purpose. What may seem coincidence to us is managed by a supreme God who knows the past, present and future. What seems inconsequential or random eventually may be of major importance to us or someone else. Unexplained events, unplanned meetings, unexpected calls are all part of God’s plan. God was present in Esther’s story and He is present in ours.
Is there something He want us to do “at just such a time as this?”