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An Ever-watchful Providence
'Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,' and it is small wonder that the master of one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, stretching from Ethiopia to India, should have often been distracted by the cares of his mighty empire and so have his sleep driven from him.
I. But we may read these words in another way, and then the simple statement will convey a pregnant and marvellous truth. Read it in the light of its far-reaching results and it utters the great truth of Divine Providence. On that sleepless night hung the very existence of that people 'of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came'. That sleepless night was the cause of their preservation from decimation. Mordecai and Esther derived their moral strength and heroic patriotism from faith in and devotion to God. In a very real sense the atmosphere of the book breathes of God.
II. Some write over events like these the word 'chance' or 'accident,' and think that term covers the whole. What is chance? It is a word we use to hide our ignorance. There can be no such thing as chance from the standpoint of our religion. Our Master has taught us, in words we cannot forget, 'that even the very hairs of our head are numbered. So minute is the Divine care and interest in His children. The teaching of science points to the elimination of chance as a factor in life. We Christians believe in a Divine and sleepless Providence watching over our world, our lives, and so we cry with triumphant joy, 'All things work together for good to them that love God'. If the choice lies between inexorable, unconscious force and a supreme, personal, directing God, I, for my part, elect to believe in God, supreme, all-wise, all-watchful, all-loving.
III. Now, consider how this Divine Providence is seen working. It is seen working by ordinary, everyday means in which there is no trace of the miraculous, and this meets the great objection brought in the name of science against our teaching of Providence. It shows us Providence working by the means and methods of the everyday occurrences of life. We are apt to look for the working of Divine Providence in the catastrophes of history, not in its progress: this book shows the working of the ordinary affairs of life. This is what we mean, therefore, by Divine Providence the affairs of men and nations overruled and ordered for a definite, wise, and benevolent purpose.
H. Foster Pegg, Church Family, Newspaper, vol. xv., 1908, p. 414.
References. VI. 1. H. Melvill, Sermons, vol. i. p. 116. VI. 1-14. A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther, p. 213. VI. A. Raleigh, The Book of Esther, p. 134. VII. 1-10. A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther, p. 236. VII. 2, 3. J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Blessed Sacrament, p. 92. VII. A. Raleigh, The Book of Esther, p. 155. VIII. 1-7. Ibid. p. 180. VIII. 1-14. A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther, p. 257. VIII. 6. A. P. Stanley, Sermons on Special Occasions, p. 98. VIII. 7; IX. A. Raleigh, The Book of Esther, p. 205. VIII. 15-17; IX. 1-19. A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther, p. 278. IX. 1. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xx. No. 1201. IX. 20-32; XL 3. A. D. Davidson, Lectures on Esther, p. 299. IX.-XI. A. Raleigh, The Book of Esther, p. 231. X. 3. C. Parsons Reichel, Sermons, p. 46.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Esther 6". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany