Cross Words: Sovereign in the silence, XI

By Isaiah Pauley

Last week, I wrote about God’s sovereignty in Esther 4. We saw how Mordecai begged Esther to appear before King Ahasuerus and attempt to save her people from Haman’s ridiculous plan of annihilation. But there’s something I didn’t mention last week in the text that I want to address this week. Specifically, verses 3 through 5.

“And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes. When Esther’s young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was” (Esth. 4:3-5 ESV).

Notice how Esther’s first concern is Mordecai’s outward appearance rather than the state of his soul. Also, notice how Esther seems entirely unaware of what’s going on with her people. This becomes evident when Esther sends Hathach to discover what’s wrong with Mordecai.

In my previous message on Esther 4, I describe how Jesus is a better mediator for His people than Esther. And I want to expound on this point some more.

Unlike Esther, Jesus is aware of the state of His people. In fact, He even comes in the midst of the hurt and pain, experiencing it for Himself.

God’s Word says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 ESV).

Rather than sending someone else to learn about the condition of His people, He comes to experience it for Himself. Rather than being more concerned about the outward appearance of His people, He becomes flesh and walks among them. Esther is disturbed by Mordecai’s sackcloth and ashes. But Jesus Christ takes the ugliness of humanity upon Himself.

“For he [Christ] grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2 ESV).

Rather than asking us to remove our garments, Christ puts them on Himself. And on that cross, He reveals His concern for humanity.

Isaiah continues, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (v. 4-5 ESV).

Man, I pray you’re as excited about this as I am. Rather than trying to cover our grief with new clothes (like Esther), Christ takes upon Himself our grief. He takes upon Himself our sorrow. And rather than trying to make us look more presentable to people, He makes us presentable to God by tackling the issue of sin.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16 ESV).

So, yeah, God uses Esther to save her people from destruction. But in a much more beautiful way, God puts Himself in our shoes to save us from eternal destruction. And if you haven’t given your life to Christ as Lord and Savior, I invite you to do so now.

And for those who have experienced the marvelous grace of Christ, I pray this picture of the gospel in Esther 4 stirs your heart in worship.

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.