God’s hand of providence and protection on behalf of His people is evident throughout the book of Esther, though His name does not appear even once in this great book. Hamman’s plot to annihilate God’s people brings grave danger to the Jews and is countered by the courage of beautiful Esther and the counsel of her wise cousin Mordecai, resulting in a great deliverance of God’s people. The pivotal passage in the book of Esther comes when Mordecai challenges Esther to see the possibilities of why she might have been blessed with her position of queenship:
“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
This passage offers five suggestions to bear in mind as we consider the phrase “such a time as this…”
God’s Providential Working
Mordecai correctly recognized that perhaps God’s hand had brought Esther to the king’s palace. He said “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom…” He is motivating her to understand the broader blessings that were involved in her being raised from relative obscurity to being the king’s wife. Mordecai wanted Esther to see that God had a plan and a purpose for her. Her coming into the kingdom was no accident nor was it any fluke, but she was an instrument for bringing about God’s divine purposes.
This same principle can be found in the words of Joseph when he said to his brothers:
How much more effective would we be in our lives if we would be willing to recognize that perhaps we have been brought to this place for such a time as this?
Opportunity to do Good
Esther had been presented with an opportunity to do good for God and His people. She could choose to act or to turn a blind eye but she could never say that she did not have opportunity. Many times people will only seize upon opportunity when it benefits them but that should not be the case for God’s people. Just like Esther when we are presented with opportunity to do good we should take hold of these occasions remember the words of Paul to the Galatians:
“Therefore, as you have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10
As opportunity to do good presents itself we are to act upon it, giving thanks to God for blessing us with the privilege of serving Him and His people through the opportunities He provides.
Responsibility to do Good
Opportunity + Ability = Responsibility. Someone had to act and Mordecai urged Esther to go before king on behalf of the Jews and plead their case. Mordecai knew that the Jews would be delivered from death whether it was by the hand Esther or from another place but this did not excuse Esther from the responsibility to do good. We should remember the words of Paul as he wrote to Titus:
“The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devout themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.” Titus 3:8 (ESV)
To devote one’s self to good works means to “take the lead” in doing good works. Paul wants Titus and all of us to recognize that we, as those who “have believed in God”, have an overwhelming responsibility to do good.
Courage to do What Was Required
If Esther was going to seize upon the opportunity to save the Jews she was going to have to muster all the courage she had to go before the king uninvited. She recognized that her life was would be on the line (Esther 4:11) but Mordecai was not willing to allow her fear of dying to keep her from doing what was required. The Psalmist recognized that our courage comes from the Lord when he said:
“Wait on the LORD; Be of good cheer, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” Psalm 27:14
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to wait. We must learn to trust in God, rely on Him, and to come to God in time of weakness. He will give us the courage and the strength that is needed to act upon the opportunities that he has blessed us with.
Faith to Carry Out Her Work
Esther sees the providential hand of God in her life; she recognizes the blessed opportunity the lies before her; the responsibility to act weighs heavy on her heart; the courage to act will be come from the Lord by waiting on Him and she will act in faith. But she will not act alone. Esther calls for a three day fast (traditionally coupled with prayer) before she goes before the king. She surmised that if she perished, she perished but she would faithfully carryout her work. We too must be willing to faithfully carryout the work of the Lord. Jesus spoke of one who valued his life more than his faithful work when He said:
“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Luke 9:24
We may not live in a time when people seek to take our lives because we faithfully carryout the Lord’s work. But one of the principles that we can take away from this verse is that if we seek to keep not only our lives but the lives that we have built we will lose it in the end. But if our lives are built around Jesus Christ our lives will be saved in the end.
Let us recognize that these five suggestions also apply to all of us; perhaps we have been brought into this moment “for such a time as this.” Let this phrase spur us to action recognizing God’s providence, His opportunities, your responsibility, and the courage and faith that will be needed.