Not even once

In the book of Esther, the name of God is not mentioned. Not even once.

Esther’s cousin Mordecai refused to bow down to the king because of his faith. This enrages the king, and he decides to order the annihilation of the Jews as a result. As queen, Esther is the Jewish people’s only hope. Her cousin Mordecai tells her, “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther prays and fasts with her friends for three days before going before the king. Her decision to act eventually saves the Jewish people.

Most of my life, when I read the story of Esther, I focused on Mordecai’s leadership and fatherly treatment of his niece. Or I thought about how amazing it was that a female orphan of no societal significance became the salvation for the entire Jewish people. Or I contemplated the value of prayer and fasting, and connected the dots between the three days of prayer and fasting and the salvation of the Jewish people.

But I never noticed what Mordecai really says. “If you remain silent, relief and deliverance WILL ARISE from another place.”

How did he know? He urged Esther to do the right thing and defend her people, but how did he know that The One Never Named in the book of Esther would find another way if Esther lacked the courage to speak up?

Maybe he didn’t have to say His Name to know Who He Is.

Somehow, the book which never names Him speaks more loudly to me than the books directly preaching at me.

And it’s like that in my life.

When I hear Him move through the wind, there’s no doctrine or ism involved. When I see His hand move through intricate situations, tying all of it together silently, there aren’t three points and an invitation at the end. When He speaks to me–directly to me–no one else can hear Him.

“Silence is often the loudest voice.”  -Leroy Brownlow

4 thoughts on “Not even once

  1. orahchava says:

    This is a beautiful piece. I’m currently living and learning in Israel and since the festival of Purim is fast approaching, I have been learning a lot about The Scrolls of Esther and the Hebrew month of Adar. I also wonder what gave Mordechai the strength of faith that, despite the dire status of the Jews, salvation would come. One of the main properties of this time of year is the idea of paradox. The seemingly good and the seemingly bad are not always as they appear. Could Mordechai perhaps have known that this promised massacre was itself a test of faith? Maybe he too felt like you, that “when He speaks to me–directly to me–no one else can hear Him.” Mordechai’s ears and heart were open to the message.
    It is also interesting to note that the name Esther in Hebrew includes in it the word for “hidden.” Esther’s place as queen was not one she chose herself by any means. In fact, it’s been said that by marrying the king she gave up her place in the world to come. It would seem to me then, that what Mordechai did was to remind her that her circumstance didn’t need to be for nothing. He says to her, “And who knows whether it was just for such a time as this that you attained the royal position!” (Esther 4:14) We know Who runs the world and even when we think the worst possible thing has happened, He gives us, through that test, exactly what we need for our very salvation.
    Thank you for sharing. May we both continue to see the hidden messages in our lives, the “good” and “bad” for what they really are, and in them, The One who runs it all.


    1. bethany says:

      Thanks so much for your comment! I didn’t know about the meaning of Esther’s name–it’s amazing to me how, when I study the Bible or find out more about the meaning in the original language, it makes many more things make sense and come to life. I’m going to have to check out your blog now!


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