How often have we questioned the wisdom of God? During those times of trials and difficult circumstances, have we not asked God "Why?" Perhaps Mordecai battled with those kinds of thoughts when he found that the King of Persia had decreed the complete annihilation of the Jewish people (Esther 3:7 - 4:3). How can we reconcile situations like this with the Wisdom of God? In this lesson we shall investigate three answers to this question using a Book that neither mentions God nor uses the word wisdom. We shall find our answers in Mordecai's plea to Esther, "who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14). By studying the wisdom of God in relation to our circumstances our goal is to strengthen our trust and patience in His Wisdom.
I. The Secrecy in God's Wisdom
In our text, Mordecai asks Esther, "who knoweth". When we find ourselves asking God "Why?", we should remember that the wisdom of God is not always easy to see. In 1 Corinthians 2:7, Paul calls the wisdom of God the hidden wisdom. Why does the wisdom of God seem to be a secret? Here are a few reasons:
A. The Simple Things
First, we need to remember that God often uses the simple or unlikely things in order to confound the wisdom of man. Who would have ever guessed that God would raise up a young woman to defeat 75,000 foes (Esther 9:16). Even Mordecai, who seemed to have an inkling of Esther's purpose, would probably never have dreamed of such an outcome. Yet this is God's wisdom as seen over and over again in Scripture. He used a young shepherd boy to defeat a giant. He used the church's greatest foe and most unlikely candidate to be the church's greatest evangelist. He chose a manger as the birthplace for the King of Kings and Lord or Lords. Where is wisdom in these actions? It ensures that God alone will receive the glory, for no one else could claim it!
B. The Natural Things
Not only does God use the simple things, He often accomplishes His desires by ordering things in a way to make use of natural causes rather than using the miraculous. Miracles display the awesome power of God, but the use of natural laws shows His infinite wisdom. To defeat the enemies of the Jews, God used the natural beauty of Esther and the gallows which Haman himself had made. No miracle was employed in the mass slaughter of those who opposed the Jews, yet the whole story shines with an undeniable luster of design. God could have fed Jacob and his family by miraculously creating food for them, but instead He chose to position Joseph in Egypt such that food would be obtained by saving up the surplus. He could have killed Goliath with a great thunderbolt, but instead He chose to use a stone thrown from a sling. Perhaps taken one event at a time, one might overlook the wisdom behind these situations; but when they are seen in their complete context, the bow shot at a venture becomes the obvious design of an incredibly wise God.
C. The Right Things
Finally, we frequently miss the wisdom of God because we are looking for the wrong results. If we are honest, most of the time we are thinking only about how the outcome of our circumstances will benefit or bring pleasure to ourselves. No doubt, while Esther was going through the selection of the next queen, she probably never dreamed that she would deliver her people. Likewise, Mordecai may not have realized that his persecution by Haman would not only end in Haman's death, but would mean the defeat of a great host of foes. God had more than just a reprieve in mind - He had planned an awesome triumph. The end of God's wisdom is to bring pleasure and glory to Himself which is the right and best outcome.
II. The Shaping in God's Wisdom
In out text, Mordecai suggested to Esther that her position as queen may not have been an accident. Though the Book of Esther does not mention God, certainly the work of God is implied here. So, when we find ourselves asking God "Why?", we ought to remember that He often makes use of trials and tribulations in order to mold and fashion us as follows:
Whatever afflictions Esther suffered in order to become queen were all used by the wisdom of God to fit her for her role as Israel's deliverer. The wisdom of God allowed the awful sentence of death upon the male Hebrews in Egypt in order to raise up a Hebrew man learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians fit for the Master's use. So the wisdom of God uses circumstance to prepare us for His service.
Who can deny that the times of greatest trials and afflictions are also the times of greatest closeness and dependency upon our God? For Mordecai and the Jewish people, the decree suggested by Haman brought them to their knees in sackcloth and ashes (Esther 4:1-3). So, God in His wisdom uses circumstances to bring us back to Him or draw us closer.
Every difficult situation that God brings us through builds and strengthens our faith and trust in Him. Surely the deliverance from Haman and the defeat of their foes must have renewed their faith in God. This faith would be needed later when the Jews would return to Israel. Again, the wisdom of God orders the events of our lives to strengthen our faith and prepare us for the next task.
The inward beauty of Esther displayed in her courageous resolve, "if I perish, I perish", would never have shown forth had there been no plight of annihilation (Esther 4:16). Job's integrity would not have been witnessed had he not been tested. So God in His wisdom chooses to allow testing of His vessels in order to display His work and show us what we have become.
Afflictions and testing have the peculiar effect of removing sinful habits from our lives as fire removes the impurities from gold or the dross from silver (Proverbs 25:4, 1 Peter 1:6-7). This purity is often necessary as preparation for God's service. Moses spent 40 years in the desert before he was truly ready for the role of deliverer and shepherd. So we should rejoice in the wisdom of God and its refining of our nature.
III. The Seasons in God's Wisdom
When we are loaded down with the greatest weight of distress, when we are at the end of our rope, when we cry out to God that we can take no more, remember the timing of the manifold wisdom of God. In due season, when the earth is destitute of water, God sends the former and the latter rains. When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman (Galatians 4:4). To every thing there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1). By His omniscience and omnipresence, God had heard the cry of His people in bondage to the Egyptians, but it was the wisdom of God that chose the timing of their deliverance. It was the wisdom of God that waited until Paul was on the Damascus road to reveal to him the resurrected Christ.
In our text, Mordecai brought out the timing of Esther's appointment as queen. The defeat of Haman on his own gallows could not have taken place had God acted sooner. Nor could their eventual triumph have taken place without the decree to destroy the Jewish people. God waited for the height of Haman's wickedness before He set the trap, but all was ready and everything put in place to completely overturn his plot. The only wise God has the unerring ability to put us in the right place at the right time. Let us therefore be patient in our tribulations and rest upon the infallible timing of God's wisdom.
ConclusionWhy do situations arise which we can neither understand nor explain? Remember the secrecy, the shaping, and the seasons in the wisdom of God. Let us daily meditate on this manifold wisdom of God and we shall find that our doubts and fears will be replaced by trust and patient security that God is working all things for good.