Hide and seek is not a game I play much anymore. But I do like playing the game of spotting the local Highway patrol playing hide and seek. In their efforts to keep our roads safe, they constantly find new hiding places – under freeway bridges, behind trees and on bends as they seek out those whom are speeding. In their best hiding places, you could easily miss them (as long as they have no reason to catch you).
The work of God in the book of Esther is a little like that – it could be easily missed. For those who have eyes to see, his hands are all over the story. The king’s sleeplessness and consequent reading that reminds him of Mordecai’s loyalty are just a normal part of the story at one level, but at another the work of God is seen. In the same way Mordecai’s actions in exposing the officers who were planning to assassinate the king, was at one level just the act of a good man but at another the work of God. There is a sense that as the days were unfolding, God is doing something extraordinary, but it is not always clear in the story what God is doing – where the story is leading. Mordecai, Esther and others need to trust God’s hand when it is not clear or “manifest”. This can be true for us as well. While some things God has made very clear (eg. the way we are saved through Jesus), other things are not so clear (eg. a particular challenge in life), yet we trust God’s loving and sovereign hand even though his ways or reasons are not manifest.
Other times though, Gods ways are indeed manifest. As Paul returns to address the Corinthians about the work of the Holy Spirit (see1 Corinthians 2 & 3), and particularly the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he says “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good (v7).”
The work of God becomes clear through the gifts the Holy Spirit gives his people. The gifts are different, and even within a gift there is breadth of expression, but the Spirit of God is manifest among God’s people as the gifts are expressed. Paul goes on (v11); “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
As Christian people use the gifts the spirit has given them for the common good, we see God working among us. Have you ever thought about it like that? If you see the gift of hospitality, or service, or teaching, or leading, or healing, or discernment, or faith, or tongues being used for the good of people, the Spirit of God is manifest among us. God is doing his work.
Sometimes we wait and hope that “God will show up”. Sometimes we miss the clear way in which God clearly comes to us and does his work (v6), manifesting himself in his people to achieve his good.
So, as God manifests himself through the gifts he gives others that encourage you today, whether it be a word of encouragement or a message of wisdom – thank the giver for their ministry and love and thank God – that he has and continually does show himself among us!