While reading the book of Esther: I quickly discovered that (in this book) God never shows up… when compared to the other books of the Old Testament (His name is never mentioned). The entire narrative is filled with what I like to call “God shaped holes”. This is where you come to place in the story where you expect Gods name to be present… but it’s not. The reason why He (God) is not mentioned is because of the narrative style used in the book — I believe that the author is trying to teaching us or show us (in a different way) how God is at work when His name is not forefront and when He is apparently unseen.
In the other books of the Bible we can clearly see God’s hand in history i.e. the crossing of the Red sea, the fall of the wall of Jericho and many other dramatic instances when God intervenes
Yet for most of us in today’s post-modern world… most of us haven’t had a personal “crossing of the sea” in our lives, most of us have never experienced the “burning bush”… in reality, most of us are just going to class, or work, dropping off the kids… most of us are just sending emails or on facebook, most of us are on the train or bus, most of us are just trying to stay alive…
However, in that humdrum of our daily life activities … we are forced to do exactly what the Book of Esther ask’s us to do: We are forced to ask ourselves… “what’s really going on, in the going on’s of our daily life.”
So when you read the book of Esther you say, “what’s going on?” and at the very heart of your meditation you will realize that God’s providence (His divine guidance or care) is actively at work in these seemingly ordinary, mundane everyday things in life.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning beautifully writes about this insight in the “Seventh Book” of her epic poem Aurora Leigh (1856):
Earth is crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware….
The book of Esther is crammed with heaven, because it is crammed with Gods providence (God’s divine guidance and care).The hand of God is seen only by the faithful few in the mundane and ordinary circumstances of life. In the book of Esther, God’s providence has linked together a course of events as simple and as natural as the mind can conceive yet as surprising as a bold romance.
When we read this book we can see and understand the fact that this world, our lives… everything around us is crammed with heaven; and more encouraging is that God’s providence is upon us, His divine guidance and care will sustain us.