For Such a Time as This
Esther 3:12 – 4:15 (NIV) 12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews —young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.
15 The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.
Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help
1 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.
6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.
9 Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
I love the story of Esther, a Jewish woman whom God used to save His people. King Artexerxes of Babylon was married to the beautiful Queen Vashti. During an extended banquet the King became drunk and ordered his wife to parade naked in front of his guests. She refused, and the king ordered her removed from his presence. The search then began for a new queen, and Esther was chosen.
One of the king’s most trusted men was Haman, and he hated the Jews. Haman convinced the king that the Jews should all be killed, and when Esther’s relative, Mordecai heard of the plan, he implored Esther to intervene. And thus Esther became a conduit through whom God worked to save His people.
Read the rest of the story and you will see it is not necessarily the courageous God uses, but the willing. And when we become willing to answer God’s call, He supplies us with whatever we need to accomplish His purpose. Do you think you are not strong enough, or knowledgable enough or holy enough to answer God’s call? It has never been about what we can do, but what God can do through us.
Do you know God’s story? You can find it in the Apostles Creed*. What is your story? How did God’s story intersect with your life and give you hope, not just for eternal life but for today?
There is an urgent need today for Christ followers to be able to share God’s story with others, and to help them see how their lives can be transformed. There is a saying, “People don’t know what they don’t know.” Perhaps you can be the Esther of the 21st Century, sharing with others the story of Jesus. Because you see, once you know the story of Jesus, you can’t un-know it. You may not believe it, you may not accept it, but once you have heard it, it becomes a part of the body of knowledge that you have built up over the years. And, when people see that the story of Jesus impacted your life, then they can begin to see how it just might make their lives better.
Perhaps you, too, have been chosen for such a time as this.
In peace and grace,
*I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;*
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic** church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
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