This is an excerpt of the Esther Illustrated study guide, meant to provide some thematic context for our study. To view or purchase the study guide, please click here.
Feasts, schemes, battles, and festivals — Esther may seem like a strange place to start a journey through the Bible. The Book of Esther is one of the only two books of the Bible where God is never directly mentioned. Queen Esther seems content to keep her faith and identity a secret from her husband and the country. Add that to the vengeful, even bloodthirsty attitude that many of our characters take towards each other, and it is difficult to imagine that Esther is a book that will teach us much about faith. But Esther may surprise you.
Esther is many things. As a character, she is a heroine with a difficult past and a blossoming future. As a queen, she is a careful, cunning, and powerful force in the fate of the Persian empire. And as a book, as a story, Esther is the unique account of a series of coincidences and human choices that are shaped, guided, and redeemed by the God who is not directly mentioned — the God who works behind the scenes.
In dark and difficult times, when the world may seem to overflow with injustice and suffering, it is important that we remember that we have a God who is at work, even when we may not be aware of it. And when we, ourselves, are called to challenges; to new places and positions; to times that test our beliefs, our abilities, and our very identities; we can remember that, just like Esther, we may be called to exactly where we are “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).