Scripture Reading: Esther 3:1-15, Psalm 68:20, Proverbs 16:33
At times, my life can feel like one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books I used to read back in the fourth grade. I find myself at a fork in the road, worrying that if I make the wrong choice the plot will be ruined, the protagonist (i.e. me) won’t be rescued, and my story won’t ever be worth reading.
But the Bible is a different kind of book. God’s Word is uniquely able to lift my eyes off of the decisions that paralyze me, and instead refocus them on the “author and perfecter” of my story, and of your story, too—of the bigger story that has already been written (Hebrews 12:2).
Here in the book of Esther, the storyline of God’s people takes a desperate turn. Fueled by ego, power, and a desire for revenge, Haman is “filled with fury” (Esther 3:5) and plots the genocide of the Jews. He’d already decided to destroy the Jews, but he waited to show his hand until the “signs”—the casting of lots (v.7)—seemed to confirm that this was more than vindication, that it was a divine assignment.
Casting lots looked much like rolling a pair of dice, and was often used as a way of seeking divine guidance. Joshua cast lots to divide up the promised land among the tribes of Israel (Joshua 18:6). The apostles cast lots to find Judas’s replacement (Acts 1:26). Here, King Ahasuerus’s officials cast lots in his court, and Haman tasks himself with interpreting them.
On the day Haman chose to move forward, an edict of death was signed and delivered throughout the land, seemingly sealing the doom of God’s people. But their story isn’t determined by a single decision or a lone madman. Our lives are not a Choose Your Own Adventure book where we sink or swim, survive or die, based solely on our ability to make the right choice.
God’s people would be spared, not because they did everything right and Haman did everything wrong. The edict of death would be repealed, not because Haman didn’t have the power to enforce it—he did—but because there is a stronger hand writing the story.
There is no rolling the dice with the sovereignty of God. “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD” (Proverbs 16:33). His plans cannot be thwarted. His story cannot be edited. His people cannot be ripped from His loving hand.
The story God writes in Esther ultimately points to Jesus. Again, wicked rulers, high on power and poisoned by jealousy, sought to destroy God’s Chosen. Again, the government officials issued decrees that seemed to seal a deal with darkness. Only this time, the edict was not repealed. Christ was killed for our benefit. And once again, the lots were cast:
And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take (Mark 15:24).
God is sovereign, capable of having His way in our lives and in our history books. While Roman soldiers cast lots to divide up Jesus’ bloody robe, He was already at work making all things new. No man can stop Him. No plot can take Him out. In His sovereignty, He rescued the Jews from Haman’s hatred, just as He rescued us from our sin. Truly, “Our God is a God of salvation” (Psalm 68:20).
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.