Can God Be Thwarted?

Last week as I was reading through Esther, I had to stop and chew on a couple verses:

Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)

Most of the time when reading these verses, it’s really easy to focus on the second half of the verse. “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Given that the book’s major doctrinal theme is God’s providence, we are right to do so. God indeed had placed her in the position she was in to do this exact thing—to help rescue the Jewish people.

Yet, there’s something really important that I had to pay attention to this time. It’s the first half of that verse: “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place…”

Sometimes when difficulties come up—marital problems, trouble at work, issues at church, whatever it is—it’s really easy to get tunnel vision. To be so focused on the problem that you can’t move, breath or even think. And what do we do when those situations come up?

I can’t speak for you, but I know I tend to fixate on problems and look for a way to fix them, to make things work the way they should. In other words, I waste a lot of energy that could be better spent on other things because I’m putting my confidence in the wrong thing. Usually my own abilities.

But what does Mordecai do in the face of certain doom?

He puts his confidence in the providence of God. He’s not saying to Esther, “If you don’t speak to the king, we’re all going to die!”

No, he says, “Deliverance will come, whether you speak or not.”

Sometimes we need the reminder that when it comes right down to it, God will not be thwarted.

His plans will not be hindered by anything.

In Mordecai’s time, God had a definite plan that He was working out through the Jewish people. He had promised that the Messiah would come, the one who would fulfill the promise of Genesis 3:14-15 and crush the head of the serpent under his heel. God was going to redeem for Himself a people from among all the nations and nothing would stop Him.

Not a proud government official. Not a king. Not the devil.


So let us take comfort. If nothing could stop the coming of the Messiah, don’t think that He can be stopped from bringing his plans to completion. Whatever frustrations we face, take heart and put your confidence in the providence of God.

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books including the Big Truths Bible Storybook, Epic Devotions, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, and Contend: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World. His next book, published by Lexham Press, will release in Spring 2023.

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2 Replies to “Can God Be Thwarted?”

  1. […] An earlier version of this post was published in 2011. […]

  2. Giving my struggles to God is something I’ve been convicted of a lot recently. This was a great reminder about why it’s so important to remember that sometimes God gives us trials that we can only overcome with his help and that regardless, it’s going to work out for his plan. Thanks, Aaron.

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