PROVIDENCE—AS SEEN IN THE BOOK OF ESTHER A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, NOVEMBER 1, 1874, BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
“Though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them.” (Esther 9:1)
YOU are probably aware that some persons have denied the Inspiration of the Book of Esther because the name of God does not occur in it. They might, with equal justice, deny the Inspiration of a great number of chapters in the Bible, and of a far greater number of verses. Although the name of God does not occur in the Book of Esther, the Lord Himself is there most conspicuously in every incident which it relates. In the Book of Esther, as much as in any other part of the Word of God, and I had almost committed myself by saying—more than anywhere else—the hand of Providence is manifestly to be seen.
The Lord intended, by the narrative of Esther’s history, to set before us a wonderful instance of His Providence, sothat when we had viewed it with interest and pleasure, we might praise His name and then go on to acquire the habit of observing His hand in other histories, and especially in our own lives. Well does Flavel say that he who observes Providence will never be long without a Providence to observe. The man who can walk through the world and see no God is said upon Inspired authority to be a fool—but the wise man’s eyes are in his head—he sees with an inner sight and discovers God everywhere! It is his joy to perceive that the Lord is working according to His will in Heaven, earth and in all deep places.
I. First, we shall learn from the narrative that GOD PLACES HIS AGENTS IN FIT PLACES FOR DOING HIS WORK.
II. Secondly, the Lord not only arranges His servants, but HE RESTRAINS HIS ENEMIES.
III. Next we will notice that God, IN HIS PROVIDENCE, TRIES HIS PEOPLE.
IV. But we must pass on to note, fourthly, that THE LORD’S WISDOM IS SEEN IN ARRANGING THE SMALLEST EVENTS SO AS TO PRODUCE GREAT RESULTS.
V. Our next remark is THE LORD, IN HIS PROVIDENCE, CALLS HIS OWN SERVANTS TO BE ACTIVE.
VI. Now we must close our historical review with the remark that in the end THE LORD ACHIEVES THE TOTAL DEFEAT OF HIS FOES AND THE SAFETY OF HIS PEOPLE.
From the whole we learn the following lessons:
First, it is clear that the Divine will is accomplished, and yet men are perfectly free agents. Haman acted according to his own will. Ahasuerus did whatever he pleased. Mordecai behaved as his heart moved him. And so did Esther. We see no interference with them, no force or coercion. Therefore the entire sin and responsibility rest with each guilty one, yet, acting with perfect freedom, none of them acts otherwise than Divine Providence had foreseen.
Next, we learn what wonders can be worked without miracles. When God does a wonderful thing by suspending the Next, we learn what wonders can be worked without miracles. When God does a wonderful thing by suspending the laws of Nature, men are greatly astonished, and say, “This is the finger of God.” But nowadays they say to us, “Where is your God? He never suspends His laws, now!” I see God in the history of Pharaoh, but I must confess I see Him quite as clearly in the history of Haman. And I think I see Him in even a grander light, for, (I say it with reverence to His holy name), it is a somewhat rough method of accomplishing a purpose to stop the wheels of Nature and reverse wise and admirable laws. Certainly it reveals His power, but it does not so clearly display His Immutability. When, however, the Lord allows everything to go on in the usual way, and gives mind and thought, ambition and passion their full liberty—and yet achieves His purpose—it is doubly wonderful! laws of Nature, men are greatly astonished, and say, “This is the finger of God.” But nowadays they say to us, “Where is your God? He never suspends His laws, now!” I see God in the history of Pharaoh, but I must confess I see Him quite as clearly in the history of Haman. And I think I see Him in even a grander light, for, (I say it with reverence to His holy name), it is a somewhat rough method of accomplishing a purpose to stop the wheels of Nature and reverse wise and admirable laws. Certainly it reveals His power, but it does not so clearly display His Immutability. When, however, the Lord allows everything to go on in the usual way, and gives mind and thought, ambition and passion their full liberty—and yet achieves His purpose—it is doubly wonderful!
Next we learn how safe the Church of God is. At one time the people of God seemed to be altogether in Haman’s power. Nero once said that he wished his enemies had but one neck that he might destroy them all at a blow. Haman seemed to have realized just such power. Yet the chosen nation was delivered, the Jewish people lived on until the Messiah came, and does exist, and will exist till they shall enjoy the bright future which is decreed for them. So is it with the Church of God today. The foes of the Truth of God can never put out the candle which God has lit. They can never crush the living seed which the Lord Jesus has sown in His own blood-bought people. Brethren, be not afraid, but establish your hearts in God!
Again, we see that the wicked will surely come to an ill end. They may be very powerful, but God will bring them down. They may be very crafty and may plot and plan, and may think that even God, Himself, is their accomplice because everything goes as they desire. But they may be sure their sin will find them out. They may dig deep as Hell, but God will undermine them. They may climb as high as the stars, but God will be above them to hurl them down. Wicked man, I charge you, if you are wise, to turn from your career of opposition to the Most High! You cannot stand against Him—neither can you outwit Him. Cease, I beseech you, from this idle opposition, and hear the voice of His Gospel which says, “Confess your sin and forsake it. Believe in Jesus, the Son of God, the great atoning Sacrifice, and even you shall yet be saved.” If you do not so, upon your own head shall your iniquities fall!
Last of all, let each child of God rejoice that we have a guardian so near the Throne. Every Jew in Shushan must have felt hope when he remembered that the queen was a Jewess. Today let us be glad that Jesus is exalted—“He is at the Father ’s side, The Man of Love, the Crucified.” How safe are all His people, for, “if any man sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” There is one that lies in the bosom of God who will plead for all those who put their trust in Him! Therefore be you not dismayed, but let your souls rest in God and wait patiently for Him—for sooner shall Heaven and earth pass away than those who trust the Lord perish! “They shall not be ashamed nor confounded, world without end.” Amen.