Wednesday, June 7, 2017

For Such A Time As This

The biblical story of Esther is one that most Christians are familiar with.

Esther is a story of a Jewish young woman, Hadassah, who becomes queen of Persia due to a series of pivotal events.

One of the main lessons that I feel can be taken away from this story is that, when it comes to God’s plan for our lives, no event is simply random. Every single step we see Esther take leads her to a purpose that is greater than even she knows.

The first two chapters of Esther are like a prologue as they give us insight into the political climate in Persia where Hadassah lived with her cousin Mordecai, who lived in the palace, having been carried away as a captive when Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar took King Jeconiah of Judah into exile (Esther 2:5-6).

At the end of chapter one, we find out that the current queen, Vashti, has been stripped of her title because of her refusal to come before King Ahaseurus’ court during a feast (Esther 1:12-19).

In the beginning of chapter two, the king is being advised to send out officers throughout his kingdom to gather fair young maidens and bring them back to the palace so that they can be purified and brought before him.

One maiden will be chosen out of this group to become the new queen (Esther 2:2-4).

The decree goes out and Hadassah is gathered up among the young maidens that are chosen. But when Hadassah goes into the palace, she doesn’t reveal that she is Jewish because Mordecai has told her not to. It is believed that her name, Esther, was given to her for this reason.

The process begins for the king to choose his queen (Esther 2:12-13) and Esther, who has obtained favor by everyone she’s come across at the palace, is chosen (Esther 2:15-17).

To some people this would be considered nothing more than favorable happenstance, however, we learn later on that it was all in God’s plan because a plot is eventually devised to destroy the Jews (Esther 3:8-11) – but God already had a representative in the palace to save His people.

You see, Esther didn’t know exactly why she was chosen but God will put us in positions that we never imagined we’d be in – all for His glory.

You never know what you will be asked to do when God brings you into high positions of favor and we must be ready to say “yes” when God asks us to move in certain directions.
When Esther first finds out about the plot to kill the Jews, Mordecai charges her to go before the king and plead for mercy for her people but she is fearful because to approach the king without being called means death.

Mordecai responds with, “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)

These words are enough to change Esther’s mind and she tells Mordecai to gather all the Jews of Susa to fast in solidarity with her.

Esther then comes to the conclusion that if she dies, she dies (Esther 4:15).

But God, once again, brings her favor when she goes before the king (Esther 5:2).

Esther invites the king and Haman, who hates the Jews (Esther 3:5-6), to a banquet.

At the banquet Esther makes her plea for her people (Esther 7:2-6).

Can you imagine what would have happened if Esther had completely ignored Mordecai’s words? Imagine what would have happened to her? Imagine what would have happened to the Jews?

When your time comes and God places you in a position that He will use as a vessel for His purpose, plan and glory – will you say yes? Will you sacrifice? Will you take a step forward regardless of the risks?

God was not going to forsake His people. He was with Esther when she went before the King, He was with her when she faced the man that wanted to destroy her people and He was with her when the king granted her request to undo the evil that had been written against the Jews (Esther 8).

God was with her even as she was being taken into the palace.

God did not send Esther to step out on faith alone, He held her hand the entire time.

Just as He held her hand, He will hold yours.

But you have to step out and trust His plan.

You never know what palace you could end up in.

You never know if you were created for such a time as this.

Image source: (Bradley Hook)