“Perhaps you have been made queen for such a time as this.”
Many people through the ages have been touched and encouraged by the story of a young Jewish girl named Esther. We don’t have a lot of information about Esther prior to this moment in time. Her story begins with ” Meanwhile in the citadel of Susa there was a Jewish man from the tribe of Benjamin named Mordecai”. We learn that Mordecai’s ancestors were forced out of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar to live in exile in Babylon. After this short history lesson of the Jewish people we are introduced to Mordecai’s cousin Hadassah who was also called Esther.
We know Esther was adopted after the death of her parents by Mordecai. Mordecai instructed Esther to keep her Jewish heritage secret so she told no one. Esther’s story begins with being one of many young beautiful women who are being considered to replace Queen Vashti. Vashti had fallen into disfavor with King Ahasuerus by refusing to appear before the kings guests at a state banquet.
It is said of Esther that “she had some special qualities and all who met her favored her”, Esther finds favor with Hegai who is charge of the kings harem in Esther chapter 2, “Esther soon impressed Hegai and was favored. He arranged that she be given the most lustrous beauty treatments and fed the finest fruits and vegetables from the king’s garden. He assigned to her seven servants and moved her and her servants to the harem’s finest rooms”.
Unlike the other young women brought before him, Esther alone won the king’s heart and favor” and she was chosen to be queen ** Esther barely has time to settle into her new life when she is faced with a challenge that would affect not only her but the lives of many others. Mordecai has infuriates a local politician by the name of Haman, refusing to kneel or honor him as the king commanded. True to his Jewish teaching Mordecai would bow to no man or pay him homage as that honor was reserved for God alone. Haman is furious and is not satisfied with killing only Mordecai but begins to think of ways to destroy all of Mordecai’s people the Jews, throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus. He convinces the King to order a decree to carry out his plan and even offers to pay for it. Mordecai learns of the plot and sends word to Esther through her servant, and asks that Esther go before the king and plead for favor, not only for his life but also for the lives of his people.
At first Esther is hesitant and sends a message reminding Mordecai that anyone who approaches the king without being summoned receives the sentence of death, even the queen. Mordecai says- “Tell Esther, Don’t be fooled. Just because you are living inside the king’s palace doesn’t mean that you out of all of the Jews will escape the carnage. You must go before your king. If you stay silent during this time, deliverance for the Jews will come from somewhere, but you, my child, and all of your father’s family will die. And who knows? Perhaps you have been made queen for such a time as this.”**
Esther sends word to Mordecai asking him to gather together all the Jews in Susa to fast and pray for her. Esther asks that for three days and three nights they would abstain from all food and drink, and adds that she and her maids would also join them in this time of fasting and praying. Esther concludes her message to Mordecai with this… “And after the three days, I will go in to the king and plead my people’s case, even though it means breaking the law. And if I die, then I die!”Esther 4:16**
The account of Esther’s unselfish choice can be read in the book of Esther chapters 5 and 6
The story of Esther is rich with meaning, wisdom, and takeaways for all of us, even in this time As I read it I think of my life, and my world, I wonder am I here for such a time as this?
Have you ever considered that you like Esther are here for such a time as this?
We know that God has ordained a time and a place for each of us to be born–Acts 17:26-27 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.*
We know that God has purpose for each one of us- Ephesians 2:10 For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.**
We see evidence of this divine calling of people in all walks of life if we take the time to look around us.
In Syria and Iraq where there is unimaginable persecution and death there are those who in the midst of their own suffering are standing strong offering hope and encouragement.
In West Africa where the worst of the Ebola outbreak is taking place people from all over the world are serving and offering comfort. And Christians are there. Two of the health care workers with Samaritans Purse almost died from this deadly disease early on.
In China and other parts of the world where public confession of Christ can cost you your freedom and subject you to torture and maybe death, many are gladly suffering so that others will know the truth.
In Ferguson Missouri not far from where I live in the midst of the anger, bitterness and pain over the death of a young black man, churches deliver meals and water to the police officers called to keep peace and order and to the protesters alike. They drive by on trailers singing and offering peace in this storm.
Have we really considered that we are here were for a time such as this in our home, in our communities, in our jobs, in our church?
Are we willing to be used by God even in dangerous, difficult circumstances in a way that will draw others to Him?
I believe in all our lives we will all have an Esther moment where we all are called to do something extraordinary. So what can we learn from her story to prepare us for that moment?
God does not always inform us as to what His plan is and things are not always what they seem to be. And that is probably best. I am not sure Esther would have wanted to be queen had she known ahead of time what would be asked of her or the potential danger
What God calls us to do will not be without risk. I think of Lucy asking Mrs Beaver in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, “Is he—quite safe?”
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” ***
God will not always call us to do what is safe, but it will always be for good. Even when the outcome is unknown and dangerous through our willingness and obedience He will accomplish great things with far-reaching benefits.
Had Haman succeeded in his plan the Jewish people would have faced annihilation. But through Esther’s obedience the people were rescued.
And maybe it will be written of us in God’s book for our time
“They were here for such a time as this and in them I am well pleased”
* The New International Version Bible
** The Book of Esther “The Voice Bible”
*** The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe C.S. Lewis
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