Monday, June 29, 2015

No Coincidences



Esther 3:1–7:10, 3 John 1:1–4, Psalm 117:1–118:16

Gibbs, a main character on television’s NCIS, has ‘rules’ for life. One of them is that he does not believe in coincidences. The Word of God totally agrees. The book of Esther illustrates this well.

First the queen decides to disobey the king, making it possible for Esther, a young Jewish woman, to become queen. Then her uncle Mordecai discovers a plot against the king and exposes it. His deed was recorded in the king’s book of chronicles. The king puts a man named Haman in a position of authority, but Mordecai would not honor him, so Haman plotted to kill all the Jews. Mordecai pleaded with Esther to intervene.

His message to her was, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13–14)

At first, she was unwilling. Approaching the king without being summoned could mean death. However, she replied to her uncle, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)

She approached the king and he welcomed her. She prepared a banquet for him and Haman. He asked her request and she invited him to another banquet. Why two meals? Why not tell him what was going on at the first banquet? It soon comes out . . .  

Full of himself, Haman built a gallows to hang Mordecai, but that night the king could not sleep so started reading the chronicles. He “happened” upon Mordecai’s good deed. He wanted to honor him, so the next day asked Haman how to honor a man that pleased him. Of course Haman thought it would be him. He was humiliated when he had to honor Mordecai, then greatly dismayed when Esther told the king of his treachery at the second banquet. The king hanged him on the gallows he had built to kill Mordecai.

Coincidences? It makes no sense for a queen to risk her life, for a young Jewish girl to be in the harem of a king and become his queen, to be accepted when she approached him without being called (against the law in that place). Why two banquets, other than to give the king opportunity to find out Mordecai had rescued him?

This is a story that affirms faith in a sovereign God who is in charge over the details of life. His plans will come to pass. Esther and Mordecai discovered this. I also am assured that whatever happens, God is involved.

Even so, God’s people are told to cooperate with what God is doing. As Mordecai said to Esther, God can find someone else if I refuse, yet what a joy to be in the right place at the right time and willingly involved in His plans.

This is why the Apostle John wrote to Gaius, whom he loved, “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1–4) John knew the delight of cooperating with God.

So also did the psalmist: “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes . . . . The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” (Psalm 118:6-9, 14)

Trusting the Lord with the perplexities of life not only produces great joy, it also affirms that with Him, there are no coincidences!


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