Tamara Peterson’s beautiful work of art really illustrates so well the sovereignty of God. When I was asked to speak to a ladies Bible study recently, I learned they had been studying the Book of Esther. Immediately, the Scripture verse Esther 4:14 sprang to my heart, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” As I pondered this awesome Truth, I remembered this quote from the Bible Study on Esther by Beth Moore, which really resonated with me:
“You cannot amputate your history from your destiny, because that is redemption.”–Beth Moore
As I meditated on this quote, I was thinking about how many times we wished our past, our history, our background was different; yet if we believe that God is all powerful and all knowing, we have to believe that He knows our past and our future, and His providence allows our past to be part of our destiny.
There are parts of our past that we prefer to stay hidden; but God wants to use all of it in His plan to bring restoration and healing to others. We can allow God’s redemption, forgiveness, and grace to give us a future and a hope, because He has amazing plans for us. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
No matter what our past holds, we can’t change it, but God can and will use it. Our history is what God uses to create our destiny. Our history—the good and the bad—was and is in the hands of a Sovereign God who loves us and has a wonderful plan, hope, and future for each of us.
We see how God took Esther, a young girl who had suffered the loss of both parents, and brought forth her glorious destiny. Such a tragic story, yet God used her past to make her into what He wanted her to be. He used her past to bring about the purpose He had for her life.
In Beth Moore’s Bible study on Esther, she refers to 1 Corinthians 1:26-31: “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
God does not comfort us to make us comfortable. He comforts us to make us comforters. We can take whatever difficult things that have happened to us and use them to help someone else who may be going through the same thing. Our experiences and difficult times can either make us bitter or better. How much more abundant our lives will be if we allow them to make us better.
Genesis 50:20 proclaims, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Romans 8:28, the Genesis 50:20 of the New Testament, declares, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.”
As Beth Moore stated, “Like Esther, we’re overshadowed, underrated, overwrought, under qualified, under attack, overanxious, and over responsible! Our trust in God reverses the detours of adversity into the highways of destiny.”
Author Tim Challies writes: “Have you ever compared the front and back of a tapestry? The front of a tapestry is art. In the hands of a skilled weaver it displays incredible artistry and fine detail. The world’s best art museums collect the world’s best tapestries and display them there as examples of a rare but beautiful form of art. The back of a tapestry is a mess. A tapestry is made by weaving together different-colored threads, and the images and designs are created by the interplay between the different colors and textures. What is clear on the front is opaque on the back. The back shows something of the image, but it looks more like a child’s attempt than a master’s: it lacks nuance and clarity and detail. Where the front is smooth, the back is covered in knots and loose ends. We are meant to see and admire the front of the tapestry, not the back, and this has often served as an illustration of the truths of Romans 8:28: That God promises to use every single event in our lives to bring about good.
Though I have often heard Joni Eareckson Tada use the illustration, most sources believe it originated with Corrie ten Boom and her poem, “The Master Weaver’s Plan.” “Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow; / And I in foolish pride / Forget He sees the upper / And I the underside.” It serves as an effective illustration for the truth that for now we get to see only the underside of all God is weaving together in this world, while clinging to the promise that someday we will see the upper side and marvel at what He has been doing.
But it illustrates something else equally well—good deeds—not the good deeds people do to try to earn the favor of God, but the good deeds people do when they already know that Christ has earned them the favor of God. Titus 2 calls us to be people that are zealous for good works; in Matthew 5 Jesus tells us to let our light shine before others by doing good works; Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God’s very purpose in saving us was enabling us to glorify him by the good works we do for others. As Christians, we are to be known for our good works—those things done for the glory of God and the good of other people.
And so we go through life doing these good works, and far more often than not, these are small and seemingly inconsequential deeds. We rarely talk a person out of recklessly taking his own life; we rarely write a check that utterly transforms a life or ministry; we rarely save a drowning child or defuse a ticking time bomb. Instead, we interact with people for moments at a time and attempt to say something—anything—that may be encouraging; we write small checks and place them in the offering plate; we have brief conversations with children, and we share just a shred of the Good News with someone who crosses our path. Most of our good deeds go unnoticed and unmarked by others. Even we, ourselves, fail to notice or remember the majority of the good deeds we do. But not God. God sees them all, knows them all, remembers them all, and uses them all.
Just as some day we will see the beautiful tapestry God has been weaving through our suffering, through the events we never would have chosen, in the same way we will see the tapestry this Master Weaver has been creating through those good deeds. We will see how a kind word resonated in a person’s heart even days and weeks later; we will see how that small amount of money was used to accomplish something amazing; we will see how that little shred of the gospel was the pebble in the shoe of the person who had hardened himself against God.
Someday, God will show us His tapestry, we will see how God has woven each of these little deeds together for our good, and His own glory, and we will rejoice.”
Pastor Warren W. Wiersbe writes in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy: “God will accomplish His sovereign purposes even if His servants refuse to obey His will!” Dr. A. W. Tozer compared God’s sovereign purposes to an ocean liner, leaving New York City, bound for Liverpool, England. The people on board the ship are free to do as they please, but they aren’t free to change the course of the ship. “The mighty liner of God’s sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history,” wrote Dr. Tozer. “God moves undisturbed and unhindered toward the fulfillment of those eternal purposes which He purposed in Christ Jesus before the world began”
Pastor John MacArthur writes: “The invisible hand of God is evident everywhere in the book of Esther. The absence of God’s name here is intentional. It is an ingenious strategy by the writer to draw the reader to think deeply about how life’s circumstances are ordered to the divine purpose. These are no coincidences—there are too many. This is not random. There is a designer. There is a coordinator. There is a power behind all of this. God literally thunders through the book of Esther. There are no miracles in the book of Esther, but the whole thing is a miracle of divine providence. People, places, time, action—it’s more than miraculous. Not Haman, not Satan using Haman, could destroy the people of God, could put an end to the promises for the preservation of the nation for the coming of Messiah, and the ultimate salvation of Israel. No one, no matter how they attempt to destroy the people of God and the purpose of God, can succeed because God’s covenant love for Israel will be fulfilled.
While you’re going through life and trying to make sure you fix all the little pieces of your life, understand this: that there is over and in, above and below your life a divine architect ordering every detail. And if you belong to Him and are in the covenant of His love, He is accomplishing His perfect will. And you can rest in that, you can rest in that.
The Lord is still on the throne. These are challenging times, challenging days to live in. You can become distressed about the way things are going in the world—chaotic, disconcerting, troubling, disturbing, distressing, in some ways, frightening. Not so in the Kingdom. The divine architect is ordering our lives, those of us who belong to Him and are in covenant love with Him. He is ordering our lives to His eternal glory, every part. How wonderful to live in that confidence, amen? Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, we are so encouraged by the amazing story of Esther. We are so thankful that You are the same God today that You were then. That all things are being worked together by Your power for our good and Your eternal glory for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose. We thank You that we don’t live in a world of random events, but that our steps are ordered by the Lord. That You have a plan that is working out for us in every single detail that fits into Your sovereign purpose. How wonderful to know that and it is inevitably leading us to glory, to heaven. Thank You for this great revelation that takes all the fear and doubt and questioning out of life, and we live and rest in peace in Your sovereign providence. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.”
Look Up—meditate on Ephesians 2:10 …pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.
Look In—as you meditate on Ephesians 2:10 …pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: “Because God is_________, I will_____________.”
Look Out—as you meditate on Ephesians 2:10 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.
* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ