7th December 2018

“For Such a Time As This…”

“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?’”
Esther 4:14 (NIV)

‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’, the saying goes, but in this story, it was ‘cometh the hour, cometh the woman.’ Facing the imminent slaughter of her people – the Jews – Queen Esther was sitting on a secret that had equal potential for life or death. With advice from her cousin, Mordecai, the stage was set for one of the most heart-in-your-mouth moments…

It all started around 450BC with the king of Persia wanting a new wife. He called for a Ms Persia-like beauty pageant. Esther won, and the king had his wife. She was a stunner but, secretly, a Jew! Then enter our very own high-ranking anti-Semitic antagonist, Haman. His intense dislike for the Jewish Mordecai and the Jewish community who had come from the Babylonian captivity some 100 years before, motivated him to persuade the king to enact a decree to kill all Jewish people. The date was set and the king signs off the decree, of course, not realising his very own wife is a Jew. Oh, the irony! Or the unseen hand of God?

What was Esther to do? She gets advice from Mordecai “to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people” (verse 8). But there’s an impasse: Esther replies, “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 sceptre to them and spares their lives” (verse 11). Standing between the death of her people and her own death, she is faced with the ultimate ‘rock and a hard place’ decision. She decides to use her royal position, her influence, “for such a time as this:” to go before the king to try and save her people and change the course of history. Three days later, unsummoned, she approaches the king…brace…but the sceptre goes out. Phew! She lives. She reveals her Jewish identity. Her people are saved and, instead, Haman is executed.

This story reminds us of two important things. Firstly, God is still working in our lives even when it feels he’s not present, or it seems everything is going wrong. He is there, just behind the scenes, “for such a time as…”. Secondly, like Esther, we have the responsibility to make choices, sometimes sacrifices, to make a situation better. We may not be a king or queen, but there is one thing we share with Esther: influence. We do not have a neutral effect on any situation—we can either make things better or worse by how we think, speak and act.

Prayer
Father, help us see the opportunities where we can be salt and light, to be a vessel in your hands to make things better for the people around us, and the courage to do so.
Amen
 

Study by Richard Fowler

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About the Author:
Richard Fowler attends the Watford Congregation of Grace Communion International in the UK. He helps with Young People’s Church there as well as writing a blog and articles for the UK Church’s Because Magazine (www.because.com).

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts.
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george.sueann.henderson49@gmail.com

 

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