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Who Is in Control?


It is easy to feel, when life is going well, that we have the world by the tail. We seem to be in control of our life. But other times, we feel helpless. Life seems to happen to us, and in spite of our best efforts, we are floundering, unable to change our situation.

When King Xerxes ordered all of the young women to come to the citadel for his pleasure, “Esther also was taken to the king’s palace” (v. 8). This simple statement is describing a momentous life event in this woman’s life. We aren’t told how Esther thought or felt about this command. Did she go willingly? Was she under duress?

Esther likely would have experienced both reactions. Significantly, the author writes about the event using the passive voice, which seems to suggest that Esther had no control over what happened. On the surface, she was at the mercy of the king. Esther obeyed and went.

In addition, following Mordecai’s direction, Esther kept her nationality a secret (v. 10). We can understand the temptation to hide this information and the fear of what might happen if their true identity were to be discovered. Commentators have long debated Mordecai’s actions. Some have praised him for being wise. Others have condemned him for his fear.

Again the biblical author is silent on both of these points—Esther’s reactions and Mordecai’s motives—because neither is the main point of the passage. We are reminded that neither Esther nor Mordecai was in ultimate control of their story. And that is the point, that regardless of people’s choices, feelings, or motives, God is still at work to keep the covenant that He made with His people long ago. His will will be done.

>> It’s a joy to see God’s work in our lives, in spite of the choices we make! The “end of the story” isn’t ultimately up to us. We can take comfort in His sovereignty and strength. We serve a God who knows “the end from the beginning.” His purpose will stand regardless of our choices.

BY Kelli Worrall

Kelli Worrall is Professor of Communications and Chair of the Division of Music and Media Arts at Moody Bible Institute. She is the author of two books, one of which she co-authored with her husband Peter. Kelli studied at Cedarville University (BA), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MRE), and Roosevelt University (MFA).  She enjoys speaking both individually and with Peter at events and retreats. They live in northwest Illinois with their two children.

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