For Such A Time
“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 royal position for such a time as this” —Esther 4:14, NIV
This story takes place in Persia. Many of the Jews had returned to their homeland after being in captivity, but many also stayed on in the Medio Persian Empire. A young Jewish woman, Esther, becomes the wife of King Xerxes. Her heritage has been kept a secret. But one of the king’s closest henchmen, Haman, is determined to wipe out the Jews simply because Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, refused to honour him in a way that he felt was his due. He has tricked the king into signing an extermination order.
Mordecai tells Esther that the fate of the Jews rests in her hands. She is the only one who can gain access to the king and plead her people’s cause. She puts herself at risk because she will have to reveal her background and because no one is permitted to come into the king’s presence without permission—which she doesn’t have. Though God is not mentioned specifically in the book, his footprints are everywhere, including in this verse.
In between the lines is the idea that God has allowed Esther to be queen for the very purpose of saving her people at this crucial time in their history. But if she doesn’t act, God is perfectly capable of providing another way. Also included in the mix is the warning that there are consequences to walking away from the opportunity that God has designed especially for her.
While the vast majority of us will never be in a situation like Esther’s, with the life of death of a nation riding on our decisions, there are lessons to be learned. God puts us in places, in circumstances, for a divine purpose. He allows us the opportunity to carry out that divine purpose. But he is not limited by our obedience or disobedience. He will accomplish his will, with or without us. But we must understand that our disobedience comes with consequences not, apparently, to others, but to ourselves.
Esther cooperated with the divine purpose for which God had allowed her to become queen. Her people were saved and she and her uncle were greatly blessed in spite of the risks they took. In this epilogue there is a lesson as well—when God asks something of us, risky though it might be, the end result will be satisfying to him, and to us.