There may be no clearer example of divine providence in the Bible than the case of the Jewish girl, Esther, who became queen of Persia and was God’s instrument in the preservation of her nation. Esther was one of the Jews who lived in Babylon (then under the control of Persia) as a part of the remnant who remained in that country after many of the Hebrews had returned to Palestine.
When the Persian king, Ahasuerus, rejected his wife, Vashti, he eventually took the beautiful Jewess, Esther, as his queen. Esther’s cousin was Mordecai, who had discovered a plot against the king, thus likely saving the monarch’s life—a deed which was noted in the the royal annals. An official in the Persian government, whose name was Haman, hated the Jews and wanted to see them exterminated. In fact, he persuaded the king to agree to his plot. Through the influence of Mordecai and Esther, the Jews fasted for deliverance.
God providentially responded! One night the king could not sleep so he decided to read; he reviewed the record of memorable acts and noted that Mordecai’s earlier deed had never been rewarded. Haman thus was commanded to honor the hated Jew, which eventually led to a discovery of his personal plot against the Hebrew people. This schemer was then hanged on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai, and the Jewish people were preserved. The circumstances seemed natural, but actually God was working to save his special people (in view of the coming Messiah).
Two passages in this narrative are of special interest: First, there is Mordecai’s statement to Esther that perhaps she had come to the kingdom “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). This surely hints of providence. Second, there was that night wherein the king could not sleep, and so “accidentally” discovered the unrewarded deed of Mordecai, which was the key to the Jews’ deliverance (6:1). Mark these two verses, and in your margin enter an indication of the operation of divine providence. J. W. McGarvey’s famous sermon on Esther and divine providence should be read by every Christian.