The silence of the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
Wait, is it the silence or the voice of the Lord (Psalm 29:5)? Ah yes, It is the voice of the Lord that breaks the cedars of Lebanon. But is it only the audible voice of the Lord that is able to break the cedars of Lebanon? Esther might say otherwise.
Although the Book of Esther was written nearly 2500 years ago, there are many lessons and applications that we may draw from it for our own lives. Esther is unique among the books of the Bible in that it does not contain a name, title, or pronoun for God. God is everywhere in the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, as would be expected. But the Book of Esther is exceptional because in this book God conceals Himself behind the scenes. In a similar way, God often veils Himself in the world that we live in today.
Esther lived during the years when King Ahasuerus, also known as the Great Xerxes, ruled in Persia. The Jews were in captivity in that land during those days. The Book of Esther opens with a colossal feast hosted by King Ahasuerus that would last 180 days. During the feast, the King in his drunken state requested for his Queen Vashti to come to his presence in the midst of all the nobles and princes to show off her beauty. The queen refused, making the king a laughingstock before his nobles. To redeem himself, the king dethroned the queen.
The rejection of Queen Vashti provided an opportunity for a new queen to be crowned. That queen would be Esther. Esther was a young Jewish girl and she was an orphan raised by her older cousin Mordecai. She found favor in the eyes of King Ahasuerus. He made her queen the moment he laid his eyes on her. Here we see God’s sovereign hand working in the background. Proverbs 21:1 says: “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” The King’s drunken state led to the ousting of Queen Vashti and in his clear-headed mind he chose Esther as his new queen. Whether the King’s heart be drunk or sober, it’s the Lord God that’s in control of the outcome.
Now let’s fast forward to the climax of this story. There was in the court of King Ahasuerus a proud Amalekite by the name of Haman. He hated the Jews and wanted to destroy them. He had succeeded in tricking the king into turning his malicious desire against the Jews into a royal decree to destroy them. A decree that the world is too familiar with, the most recent being the Holocaust. In the Holocaust genocide, Hitler and the Nazis killed 6 million Jewish people. But in the decree of King Ahasuerus, who reigned from India to Ethiopia, over 127 provinces, only one person’s death is recorded in the bible. Ironically, that person was Haman, one who hated all Jews and initiated the decree.
It is at this point that Mordecai intervenes and presents Queen Esther with the thought-provoking question, “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”(Esther 4:14).
The story of Esther is a testimony of God’s quiet work both in the hearts of men as well as in the myriad details of circumstances.
Esther seemed to grasp Mordecai’s point. She understood the ways of the king but most importantly she understood the ways of God. She knew He could use her. As a result, Esther asked for a three-day fast among all the Jews in which they would pray to God. Afterwards she would enter Ahasuerus’ court. According to Persian law, she was risking her life, for whoever dared to enter the throne room without a royal summons was subject to death, including the Queen.
Esther, however, had the confidence that God was silently working. As she walked into the royal chamber, the king received her warmly. “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be given to you.”
Esther then wisely invited the king and Haman to a banquet and there she petitioned for her life and the lives of the Jewish people to be saved from annihilation. The king was horrified and asked who would do this. It was then that Esther exposed Haman to the king. Haman was ordered to be hanged on the gallows that was prepared for Mordecai. Esther and her people were saved and Mordecai became the prime minister.
The story of Esther is a testimony of God’s quiet work both in the hearts of men as well as in the myriad details of circumstances. God continues to work in our days as well. In fact, He delights in working out His purposes in this world through means of His children. However, He requires pure instruments for His work. Second Timothy 2:20-21 says, “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”
Esther was like a golden vessel. She had kept herself clean and pure and she was able to fulfill her purpose that God had intended for her.
God wants to use us as well. In 2 Corinthians 5:20 we read, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.” The prerequisites are purity and willingness.
What a privilege it is for us to represent Him and be God’s hands. Then we can say that the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon, whether through His voice or through His silence. May God receive the glory through it all.
George John – Guest Contributor
George John resides in Hawthorne, New Jersey with his wife Eirene and children Norah, Amelia, and Daniel. He is in active fellowship with believers in Elmwood Park Bible Chapel, NJ. He is also an employed pharmacist.