Even though the Scriptures never credit Esther with using God’s name in public even once, never reveal one work of her that definitely shows love toward God, or present her as fighting for truth and righteousness, and instead relate her wicked strategy in a careful striving to succeed in an attempt to compete with unbelievers to be more carnally pleasing to a godless, immoral king, and so to attain to questionable honour and fame as queen of an unbelieving nation, there are those who fight vigorously to elevate her as a heroine of faith, a woman whose ways and deeds the church of today ought to imitate.
One such attempt finds conflict between the teachings of the Old and of the New Testament. Whereas the New Testament teaches that a bishop should be the husband of one wife (I Timothy 3:2), the Old Testament, according to them, approved of leaders in God’s church, such as Abraham, David, and Solomon, having many wives. And because of this fact Mordecai and Esther could, without breaking God’s law, seek the position of queen of the land for Esther. However, that these men had more than one wife does not make it a deed of righteousness any more than Abraham’s lying, David’s murder, and Solomon’s building of temples for the idols of his heathen wives make these sins good works in the sight of God. Besides, long before the New Testament was written, and already on the first pages of Holy Writ, God in Genesis 2:24 clearly states that “they two shall be one flesh.”
Granted now that many of the Old Testament saints tried to make three, and even hundreds one flesh, and also broke other commandments of God, these saints are presented as confessing God, of putting their trust in Him, of sorrow over sin and thankfulness before Him for salvation. You look in vain for these in Esther or Mordecai, as I hope to point out when we treat the remaining chapters in the Book of Esther. Saints, believers, will stumble and fall into gross sins. But they do speak of God as their God. They do seek to please Him and witness of His greatness and grace. Esther was not—and is not presented either as—seeking the city which hath foundations, Whose designer and builder is God. She sought a kingdom of this world with its lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life: And of such God Himself declares in I John 2:15, 16, “the love of the Father is not in them.” Let us listen to Him and not to commentators who cannot show one deed that reveals a love toward God in anything recorded of Esther. There is not one prayer to Him. There is not one suggestion of trust in Him. And there is not one acknowledgment of His goodness and of gratitude—as we hope to see—for deliverance. Instead we find violations of God’s law. A seeking of the things below, and a denial of Jehovah.
What we read of her in this book you could expect to read of any unbeliever in the world. Were it not included in the canon of Scripture one could call this book a love story of the world with worldly characters. It reads like a worldly success story, a story of one who succeeded in this world. But I would have you understand, as the rest of Scripture casts its light upon this book, that it was a tragically worthless success that was achieved. And God’s blessing was not in it.
Esther sought that which moth and rust corrupt and thieves break through to steal. And she succeeded in getting these things. But she does not have them today. Were she a believer, is she now in the glory of heaven, she does not have one bit of all that for which she fought and sought in a sinful way. “You cannot take it with you” even the world concedes. Success in this life, as far as the things of this world are concerned, does not follow one into the next world. No one has succeeded, though ways have been found to prevent rust, to kill moths, and to lock treasures in so that thieves cannot take them, I say, no one has succeeded in getting these things transferred from this earth into the life to come, whether in the new Jerusalem or in hell.
Indeed, there is benefit in this success story of Esther for the church of God. For the church it was not a tragically worthless success. It was all planned by the God of our salvation and served the cause of the Savior’s birth. And amazing are His works. One who did not seek the city which hath foundations, whose building and maker is God, was given success for the good of those who do seek that city. The carnal ambitions of an unbeliever were crowned with success so that the believers might have success in their search for the spiritual things of God’s kingdom. Satan never succeeds in destroying God’s church.
He did not spoil things for God in paradise, even though he thought that he had succeeded in his devilish undertaking. He did not force God to perform a work which He had not intended to perform. Paul was led to write this so beautifully in Colossians 1:15 when he wrote that Christ is the firstborn of every creature. Being first He was in God’s counsel before Adam. And Adam therefore had to fall. Satan had to be successful in his devilish plot in order that we in Christ might be lifted to a higher glory and closer relationship to God than the one in which Adam was created.
Satan did not succeed at the cross, even though he succeeded in getting Christ on that cross. And you may believe that today, after Christ’s resurrection and ascension, he regrets his folly of leading men to hang Him on the accursed tree. But the success of the wicked so wondrously in God’s grace serves the successful deliverance of the righteous from the guilt, power, and love of sin. For there is an almighty God Who has an eternal counsel according to which all that takes place was designed to occur to serve the church He unchangeably and eternally loved. Romans 8:28 must be remembered throughout this Book of Esther. All things today, and all that which happened so far in the past, work together for good to those that love God. That does include the temporary success of the wicked in their worldly pursuits. It will be so very true when Satan in his last desperate attempt gets the world to succeed in uniting all men, with the healing of Babel’s mortal wound, to be in a position to starve the believers to death with the mark of the beast which will keep food from them. They, the believers, will lose all that Esther lost the day she died, but they will reach joys and blessedness which no earthly creature has ever known. They will know the life and joy that Christ succeeded by His accursed death to realize for all His people.
But the unbelievers, in spite of all that they succeeded in getting hold of in this life, will be plunged into poverty and woe far worse than any of them ever tried to escape on this earth. And, though they were used for the good of the church, they will not be rewarded with the smallest part of the minutest blessing—if indeed there is such a thing on this earth or in the new creation—for their works which served the church of God. Many heroes of the world who gave their lives for their nation and fellowmen are extolled to the sky and presented as surely having their reward in heaven, though they were unbelievers here below. But soberly we had better listen to Jesus Who in Matthew 7:21-23declares something quite different. And He knows and speaks the truth. There we read, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father Which is in heaven. Many will say unto Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I say unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” If that is true, and it is, concerning those who do speak of Him, use His name, in their own minds even seek to further His cause, as they see it, how much more is it true of those who never went to church, never use His name but to curse and swear, seek the world and their own flesh?
Esther and Mordecai, though they unintentionally served the church of God, are not rewarded with the blessings that the church will know in the new creation. They are the chaff which serves the wheat. But Scripture teaches us that the chaff is burned, even though it served such a good and important purpose. Though without the peeling the orange and banana could not have become good food for us, we throw them away and in no way try to reward them. And these served unconsciously and unwillingly, while the wicked consciously and willingly seek to destroy the church in their worthless efforts to succeed in gaining this world and the things it contains. O, yes they do. If you will not work on Sunday for them, you lose your job. If you do not take their mark of the beast, you cannot buy or sell. Refuse to teach evolution in your Christian School, and they will strive to close the doors by making the requirements for your teachers so stringent that you cannot find men and women with your religious convictions who meet those standards. Or they will seek to tax your school, or make the building codes so severe that it will cost you more than you can raise to change over to conform with the codes. And all this they will do under the guise of looking out for your physical, material well-being. Or to “maintain the freedoms we ought to enjoy, and to do away with discriminations.”
And though Esther and Mordecai did not deliberately set out to destroy the church and to trouble the believers, they were not consciously and willingly seeking the well-being of the believing Jews of that day. Where in the whole book do you find them saying so? Where do you find that they even had the believers in mind as they struggled to succeed in a purely fleshly beauty contest for material, earthly gain? No, the whole struggle for them was carnal, and the success tragically worthless.
And there is a sobering lesson in all this for us who do believe, and do show in our speech and conduct that we trust in Jehovah, and walk as followers of His Son. We in so many ways emulate Esther, though not to the same degree. We strive to get as much of this world as we can, and kingdom causes go begging because we have such big payments to make on the house and the car, and to lay away for that vacation and trip that we plan to take. But after we have paid them all up in full, and they are ours, after we have had that enjoyable trip around the world, or to some unique spot of earthly beauty, we have not really succeeded in anything of lasting value. Yea, besides the fact that we failed to support God’s cause, these treasures have turned our hearts and minds away from the living God. They could not bring us closer to Him by such actions. And then rather than being worthless these things are damaging to us and our spiritual life.
Rather let us first seek the kingdom of God, and its righteousness, with the assurance that the earthly things we need to seek it will be added to us. We will succeed in finding it, and in God’s grace receive rewards that have everlasting worth.