The Empire Has No Clothes
This morning we open up a new book that is actually quite an old book—the Old Testament book of Esther. This is one of the most unusual books in the canon of Scripture. Go ahead and turn there, if you would; we’ll be taking up the first chapter together this morning.
Maybe you’ve heard Esther told as if it is a story about dating, courtship, love, or something of the sort? A One Night With the King sort of take? I want you to know that that is utter nonsense. It’s not even close to what Esther is about.
This book is not about dating. It’s not even a love story—unless you have some really weird ideas about love that involve essentially powerless women being turned into sex objects for rich and powerful men.
No, Esther is a story about empire. That’s where it starts—in the capital city of a vast, pagan empire. It is a story about an invisible collision of rival empires, and the God who can take down kings armed with nothing but an old man and a young girl, without his name ever coming up in the conversation.
To go into this book with our eyes open to some of the key themes, we need to do some spade work on the nature of human empires.