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God Unseen

Preachers and commentators often focus on Esther as a story of divine providence. Many go so far as to say that the absence of any mention of God in Esther is proof of his presence-a tenuous foundation upon which to build a case! GOD UNSEEN argues that Esther is indeed intended to be read in a religious context and that it does speak to God's providence, but shows this by a careful comparison of the text of Esther with many other Old Testament narratives that it echoes, thus setting it squarely in a canonical context. The result of such a contextual reading will give credence to the belief that God should be seen in those silences. Esther closely parallels life in 21st-century western culture. It tells the story of people who know how to be righteous followers of God, but who are surrounded by a world of paganism and, far too often, find themselves assimilating rather than standing apart. The characters receive no special revelation from God, nor does he seem to be present at all in their lives. Many Christians today live under a similar set of circumstances, so its message is vital. GOD UNSEEN's argument that the book of Esther is religious and that God is present in the narrative will help give practical shape to modern questions of what it means to live during the apparent silence of God.
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Nathan Ward has produced a well-informed study of Esther, which examines fairly the many complexities of the book, offers intriguing intra-textual connections with other Scriptures, and suggests some helpful spiritual lessons which can be derived from its text. Edwin M. Yamauchi Professor of History Emertius Miami University" Placing his approach in the wider history of interpretation, Ward shows how Esther works theologically through its interaction with the rest of the canon. From this, he shows how it continues to provide guidance for Christian readers today. This helpful study enables Christians to understand why we need this strange book in our canon. David G. Firth Lecturer in Old Testament St. Johns College, Nottingham " Ward does an excellent job of leveraging careful exegesis about an historically misunderstood book to help Christian readers understand its truly theological assumptions and implications. Timothy S. Laniak Dean and Professor of Old Testament Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary "

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