King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew…”write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.”…Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king. The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies. (Esther 8:7-8, 10-11)
There are two books of the Bible that never mention God by name: Song of Solomon and Esther, which we have been exploring these past four weeks.
But is God “absent” from these books? Of course not. First, we know that “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). Second, as I hope I’ve made clear in this series, while God is never mentioned explicitly in the book of Esther, he is very much present through the work of Esther, Mordecai, and the other actors in the drama.
The Book of Esther vividly illustrates a truth that is found throughout Scripture—namely that God often chooses to do his work in the world through human beings. Paul said this explicitly in Philippians 2:13 when he wrote, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” It’s why Paul calls us “God’s co-workers” in 2 Corinthians 6:1.
What does this truth mean? It means that while God is certainly able to work through miracles, more often than not, he works through our ordinary work. It’s not just pastors and priests doing “the work of the Lord.” It’s every entrepreneur, plumber, nurse, and stay-at-home parent.
Martin Luther once wrote that “God himself will milk the cows through him whose vocation that is. He who engages in the lowliness of his work performs God’s work, be he lad or king,” or in the case of Esther, a queen. Luther went on to say that through our vocations, we wear “the masks of God,” working on his behalf in the world.
Esther wore the mask of God when she sacrificed her position of power to save God’s people (see today’s passage). You wear the mask of God when you create an excellent product that genuinely serves the needs of customers, speak up for the vulnerable in your industry, create jobs that put food on the tables of your team, or care for children and others in your community.
Our work isn’t “just work.” As Esther’s life shows us, it’s a vehicle for doing God’s work in the world. So do it with excellence and in accordance with the Lord’s commands today.