Last week, we featured two new titles in the Transformative Word series, Between the Cross and the Throne: The Book of Revelation and God Behind the Scenes: The Book of Esther. In this post, Wayne Barkhuizen, author of the Esther volume, explains the inspiration behind his work and how he hopes it can transform your life.
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The challenge to grapple with the much neglected Bible book of Esther came from a colleague who suggested that when I preach from the Old Testament next, I deal with Esther. Accepting the challenge, I soon discovered that the story of Esther is intriguing and brilliantly written. It’s a captivating account of events that first threatened the very existence of the Jewish nation, but which was later turned around, resulting in them mercifully being spared from annihilation. But, with the bigger picture in mind, the real threat posed was to God’s salvation purposes for the world, ultimately to be accomplished through the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. This dire threat necessitated God’s intervention and while there in no mention of his presence in the Esther story, the unmistakable evidence of his presence is surely there all the way through it. However, while the Esther story is easy to follow as the exciting suspense and unexpected drama plays off, the real challenge for me was how to apply the truths of the Esther story to us living in the twenty-first century. Most often the Esther story is dealt with as a whole unit but I was convinced that there was so much more treasure “hidden” in the Esther story that ought to be unearthed that’s relevant for us.
The Esther story convincingly confirms that God acts in history. We dare not forget this truth today, even though God’s presence in our world is also not always that obvious. Nevertheless, he is most certainly orchestrating history to fulfill his sovereign purposes. This is so comforting especially with the upheavals being experienced all over the world. The greatest truth that leapt out from the Esther story for me was surely that of God’s providence; while he is not always seen or mentioned, he is clearly at work, evident through his fingerprints everywhere. We just need to look for them in our daily lives; they’re also there in the world around us. God is at work behind the scenes and always will be, till His purposes are fulfilled on earth. I urge you to hear His voice through the Esther story, and then be attentive to also see Him at work in your world all around you.
What others are saying
God Behind the Scenes had received a number of great endorsements praising the practical insights and accessible content found in the book. Here are a few of them:
Wayne Barkhuizen has produced a most helpful guide for anyone seeking more insight into the treasured story of Esther. This compact commentary is embedded with interesting nuggets while still keeping pace with the flow of the narrative. It’s also a great reminder for someone like myself, with a Jewish/Gentile family background, of the rich heritage we have in a gracious God who has acted in history to save his people from bondage in Egypt, genocide in Persia and, ultimately, eternity in hell through the timely rescue of our crucified Messiah. This book will encourage you to rejoice and trust in the God who is always present, even when it seems like he is not!
—Rt. Rev. Glenn Lyons, presiding bishop of REACH-SA
I feel privileged to commend Wayne Barkhuizen’s wonderful little book on a wonderful Old Testament story. If you want the book of Esther to light up, this is the way in for you. I can’t think of a better one. And the message where God is seen working in a sovereign and hidden way in the darkest of times comes through with deep relevance for us in these present times of deep national, international, and personal stress and distress. Wayne shows how this little Old Testament book speaks with deep meaning directly into our own contemporary and troubled context. This volume also vividly illustrates how big dynamite can come in a small package.
—Michael Cassidy, founder of African Enterprise, author of The Church Jesus Prayed For
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Wayne Barkhuisen’s unique personal and cultural perspective reveals biblical truth in the book of Esther in this accessible and practical book. God Behind the Scenes is now available in all formats—get it today!