By J.A. Medders
When I first saw Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it bothered me for months. I was perplexed: Why didn’t the hobbits just take those giant eagles all the way to Mount Doom to destroy the ring? Rather than trekking on foot through every danger, toil, and snare, the Great Eagles seemed like a pretty great option. Reading through Esther illuminated my perplexity. Hitching a ride with the Great Eagles wouldn’t have made much of a story, and it certainly wouldn’t have made the victory as sweet. The sweetness of victory is heightened by sorrows experienced along the way.
Esther and Mordecai were positioned by God to bring about a great victory of the Jewish people. God’s people had enemies all around them, ready and eager to stomp them out. But God’s plans do not fail. Haman’s sinister plot is reversed; the gruesome plan Haman wanted to execute on the Jewish people is flipped onto him and his family. Haman is outwitted by the power of the God. This is a conflict that finds its origins rooted all the way back in the garden of Eden.
In the wake of Adam and Eve’s sin, we hear from Yahweh that the offspring of the serpent—those in Satan’s kingdom—will incite perpetual conflict with the seed of the woman. And the future descendants will win (Genesis 3:15). Haman pursued his conflict with the people of God, and in the end, he is the one who is crushed. God wins. God’s people are saved. And the people of God didn’t tame their response:
That was the month when their sorrow was turned into rejoicing
and their mourning into a holiday (Esther 9:22).
The Jewish people erupted in joy—so much joy that a holiday (Purim) was created on the heels of their deliverance. Here we see a model, a foreshadowing, of the kind of celebration we find in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God used Esther and Mordecai in our salvation history. They are a part of our testimony, a part of the greater story of how God fights for His people. He chose to work through Mordecai and Esther to defeat their enemy and save His people from death. Christ defeated the ultimate enemy to deliver us from sin, and He invites us to share in His victory over death. Hallelujah! So, let us celebrate Christ and His gospel every day. Raise the cup, poured out for us. Raise up the bread, broken for us.