This Sunday, as we studied Esther 2:19-3:15, we saw a horrifying plot unfold against the people of God living as exiles in the Persian Empire. Mordecai, a member of God's covenant community, had refused to bow to Haman, a descendant of the Amalekites, the ancient enemies of God's people (Esther 3:2). In his anger, Haman decided not just to kill Mordecai, but to annihilate all of Mordecai's people, too. (Esther 3:5-6). The scene closed with Haman, acting with the king's authority, dispatching an unchangeable edict across the entire empire calling all people to take up arms against the Israelites. Understandably, everyone in the capital city was left in a state of bewilderment (Esther 3:15).
We're reminded that, at any historical period, this world has often been antagonistic against God's people. Even today, the world often acts unjustly against followers of Christ. But even if we haven't experienced evil and injustice for ourselves, we at least read about it in the news, or we know others who have. As we went through the narrative, we mentioned a few principles for us to put into practice amid this often unjust world. One of those principles was to keep trusting God.
To help us put this principle into practice, here are at least three reasons for us to continue trusting in our sovereign God:
The Lord Uses Injustices for His Purposes
One of the greatest stories of injustice comes from the life of Joseph (Genesis 37-50). In the Joseph narrative, he is sold off into slavery by his jealous brothers, and he lands in Egypt as a servant in Potiphar's estate. There, Potiphar's wife attempted to seduce Joseph, but he remained faithful to God and to his master, Potiphar. Without moral failure, he nonetheless found himself falsely accused of misconduct, spending years in unjust incarceration. And yet, through all the injustice he endured, God would eventually raise him to second in command over the entire land of Egypt. God placed him in a position (and gave him the wisdom) to preserve life when a seven-year famine struck, including the lives of his own family members who had previously wronged him. When his brothers traveled to Egypt in search of sustenance, and when they were finally reunited with Joseph, Joseph said these famous words to them: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).
A similar thing happens in the Esther narrative. Haman intends evil against God's people. But in his providence, God uses Haman's evil plot for his own good purposes. Not only will God preserve his people from annihilation, he will also ensure the future arrival of the Christ, who will come through the Israelites to save all people from sin and death. In his own life, Jesus experienced the injustice of the Jewish leaders and the Gentile rulers of his day, but that injustice was simultaneously God's work of redemption for all humanity. So we realize: Christ's work of salvation has not been accomplished despite human injustice but rather through human injustice. What a mystifying thought!
In the end, God uses even human injustices to fulfill his covenant promises to us. Since this is true, we can continue to trust our sovereign Lord amid the evil and injustice we see and experience in the world today.
The Lord Has Personally Overcome Injustice
Just as Joseph was sold off into slavery for about eight ounces of silver (Genesis 37:28), and just as Haman bribed King Xerxes with ten thousand talents of silver (Esther 3:9), so too did Judas betray Jesus for thirty silver coins (Matthew 27:3). But in all instances, not a single bribe has ever been able to thwart God's purposes. Yes, Haman dispatched an empire-wide order to "destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day" (Esther 3:13), but God would not allow his people to be destroyed.
Similarly, God would not allow the death of Christ to obstruct his redemptive purposes, either. After his betrayal, crucifixion, and unjust death, Jesus was gloriously raised from the dead. He was vindicated (1 Peter 3:18, 22; cf. Philippians 2:5-11), and, with his vindication, he has overcome the injustice he personally endured. Now, instead of a proclamation of death being sent to all corners of a single empire, the good news of everlasting life in Christ goes forth to every nation and tribe, in every language and tongue. Jesus has not only overcome injustice, he's overcome sin and death itself, and the gospel continues to overcome death and darkness everywhere.
Knowing that Jesus has overcome all evil should bolster our hearts with confidence, empowering us to continue to trust our overcoming Savior in this often unjust world.
The Lord Has Secured Our Lot in Himself
In the Esther narrative, Haman cast the pur (the lot) to determine when to destroy God's people (Esther 3:7). Similar to our modern-day dice, which we use in games of chance and luck, the cube-shaped pur, or lot, was used in ancient cultures for divination purposes. Haman entrusted himself to the false gods of his day to tell him when to destroy all of God's people. Of course, he failed to realize that while "The lot is cast into the lap... its every decision is from the Lord" (Proverbs 16:33). Ultimately, whether he realized it or not, God's hand was over Haman's lot, further indicating that "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps" (Proverbs 16:9).
It begs the question: What are we entrusting ourselves to? Like Haman, do we sometimes entrust ourselves to things which have no power to save, like our jobs, our relationships, or our bank accounts? Our modern-day idols may not be carved images of wood and stone, but they're idols nonetheless. May we never forget that Jesus has secured our future in himself! Through his death, burial, and resurrection, he has graciously and compassionately secured our eternal wellbeing. Such security is found in nothing and no one else. This evil and unjust world will sometimes temp us to lose hope. It will even tempt us to place our trust and hope in other, powerless things. But if Jesus has secured our lot in himself, we should live with full confidence that he is moving all things toward our future dwelling with him.
Jesus prayed, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world" (John 17:24). If you have trusted in his work of redemption, you can rest assured that nothing in this world will thwart his prayer for you. One day, you will see him face to face in glory. In him, your eternal future remains secure; nothing will separate you from the Lord, not even the evil and injustice of this world (Romans 8:31-39).
Keep trusting in him.
By God's grace alone,