Esther: A Bitter Bud but Sweeter Flower

This Sunday I started a new series on the book of Esther. It’s not an easy book from which to preach; the word God is absent and yet His divine providence appears on every page.

In chapter 2 verse 5-7 we read:

In Shushan the citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. 6 Kish had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. 7 And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. (NJKV)

Esther’s life was thus far pretty rotten. She had lost her parents as well as her inheritance and familial prestige when her great-great-grandfather Kish had been exiled to Babylon. Her loving guardian is apparently removed in verse 8 when she is ‘taken’ to the palace. Her natural beauty must have felt like a curse when the prospect of entering Xerxes’ harem became a very real possibility.

Yet every chapter of the book of Esther shouts in one accord: OUR GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. Little does she know in the above passage that she is appointed to be queen of Persia with the honourable task of saving her people from genocide. Our God's divine plan is unfolding, even when circumstances and enemies have us suppose otherwise.

Upon closing, we sang this hymn:


God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea

And rides upon the storm.


Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never failing skill

He treasures up His bright designs

And works His sovereign will.


Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break

In blessings on your head.


Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.


His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.


Blind unbelief is sure to err

And scan His work in vain;

God is His own interpreter,

And He will make it plain.


Hadassah, Esther's Hebrew name, means myrtle, a flower, which is appropriate for verse 5; her early life was indeed bitter but as Queen Esther she did indeed shine like star and blossom most beautifully.