For Such a Time as This

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The account of Esther in the Old Testament is a story of great courage displayed in the face of great danger. It is a story of a faith in God that is so strong that Esther would even risk death to try and save her people.

Let me set the stage for you. Esther takes place in the time when the Jews were in Persian captivity. The king at the time was King Ahashuerus. The King decided to have a huge party. He invited the leaders of 127 provinces to a feast that would last 187 days. That’s more than 6 months of feasting, drinking, and sinning. Near the end of this feast, the King wanted the Queen, named Vashti, to show her beauty to those in attendance at the party. She, as a woman of modesty and self-respect, denied the request of the King. In those days, the King had all power, and no one could disobey him without severe consequences. Esther 1:10 tells us that the King was drunk when he sent for Vashti, and verse 12 says that when she denied his request that he was furious. Someone in attendance suggested that the King put away (or divorce) Vashti. The King quickly agreed and puts away Vashti. The King might never have divorced Vashti if he had not been drunk. We can see from this account the evil ramifications of sin.

The party ends, all the rulers go back to their provinces, and the King realizes he has a problem. He no longer has a Queen. So the King essentially has a beauty contest, and the winner would become Queen. This is when we meet the main character of our story, Esther. Esther was one of the young women chosen to compete for the job of the Queen. Esther was a Jewess. Esther was also an orphan that was raised by her first cousin Mordecai.

By divine providence, Esther is chosen to compete for the role as Queen, and she wins. Esther goes from being an orphan to the most powerful woman in the Persian Empire. Mordecai is in trouble, though, because he offended the King’s second in command, a man by the name of Haman. Haman finds out that Mordecai is a Jew and devises a plan that will have Mordecai and all the other Jews in the Empire put to death. Haman tricks the King into signing a decree that will have all the Jews destroyed. What the King does not know is that his Queen Esther is a Jew.

Mordecai hears about this plot and immediately goes to Esther. She was the only one who could possibly get the King to change the law. But Esther is hesitant to go to the King and ask him to change the law because she knew that anyone who went in to talk to the King without an invitation would be executed unless the King held out his scepter to them.

Mordecai then told her this in Esther 4:13-16: And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: ‘Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!’”

Think of the huge level of faith that it must have taken for Esther to walk into that throne room, knowing that if the King did not welcome her, she would be killed. I hope all of us would have as much faith as Esther. We need to have the faith to tell others about the gospel. Some will make fun of us, some may not talk to us anymore, some may indeed want to kill us, but we have God on our side, and just like Esther, we can have faith that God will take care of us no matter what happens.

The story ends with the Jews being saved and Haman being hung on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Esther’s bravery paid off. She saved thousands of people. We may not convert thousands by telling others about God’s word, but if we take one person with us to heaven that would be worth whatever effort we make.

Today, I would encourage you to have courage and faith like Esther. Tell someone else about your faith, and always remember that God will take care of his people.