Quodlibet

Backstage Deity

by Donald T. Williams

Esther is the only book in the Bible that never directly mentions God. Why? Because it is about the way in which he works behind the scenes. He is just as much at work when we do not see him as he is in the plagues of Egypt or the crossing of the Red Sea. When Mordecai tells Esther that if she does not risk an audience with the king, deliverance will arise for Israel from another place, his statement makes no sense unless in the back of his mind rests the entire structure of Old Testament theology: God's covenant never to forsake Judah utterly; his faithfulness, which will lead him to keep his covenant promises to Abraham and to David; and his sovereign power, which will enable him to do so. The author incarnates the message of God's providential work behind the scenes so completely that he does not need to beat us over the head with it by mentioning God. He trusts the story to carry the message. And we can trust God's promises even as Mordecai and Esther did.

Donald T. Williams Ph.D., is R. A. Forrest Scholar at Toccoa Falls College. He is the author of eleven books, most recently Deeper Magic: The Theology Behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Square Halo Books, 2016) and An Encouraging Thought: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of J. R. R. Tolkien (Christian Publishing House, 2018). He is a member of University Church, an interdenominational house church in Athens, Georgia.

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