Thursday, 3 September 2009


(Esther 4:14)

For our world is a lot like Esther’s world. And God, Who was at work in Esther’s day, is still at work in our day. He has been and still is doing some marvellous things in this world! God is involved in a divine plan to shed light where there is darkness, to bring good to where there is evil, and to conquer hatred with love. Our God is involved in a master plan to snatch the perishing from destruction and to wash completely clean sinners stained and ashamed.

And the forces of evil that were arrayed against God and His servants in Esther’s day are still arrayed against the kingdom of God in our day. And what does God want us to do? What part will He call us to play in His mighty work? And what will we do when the call comes?
When the moment comes for us to make crucial decisions that will have effects and consequences upon God’s kingdom, how will we respond? Will we boldly trust Him? Will we take a step in the direction of a huge risk? Or will we be silent or frozen, inaction because we don’t have the faith to act?

Our text is just one verse - Esther 4:14. It is one of the great references in the entire Bible. In Esther 4:14, we read these words of God, passed through Mordecai, for Esther:
“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?”

God’s work in this world is always mysterious!

There is always some mystery, some tantalizing unknowns and uncertainties in what God is doing in our world. See how Mordecai seems to grasp this concept? “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Who knows? Who knows, indeed? Is it possible that this is your moment to act? Well, I don’t know! Maybe! Could it be that this is our unique challenge, because of what God has invested in us, what He has given us, what position He has placed us in, that NOW we must act? Who knows?
There will always be some uncertainty in God’s claims upon our lives! There will always be unknowns in God’s work in this world. It is the very nature of faith and trust in God that He calls us to take steps when we don’t have all the details nailed down.

Now God gives us the big picture. Mordecai has no doubts that deliverance will come for the Jewish people. God has made covenants with them, there are promises given to Abraham that must be fulfilled. Deliverance is assured. “…relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews…” according to the first part of this verse. But there is some mystery as to how that rescue will actually take place.
“Who knows, Esther? Perhaps this is your moment!”
But how does the big picture find expression in daily life? That’s often where the mystery comes in. That is where we hear the voice of God. That is where we sense the nudging of the Holy Spirit. That’s where we follow God’s leading.

Of course there will be adventure. Naturally there will be risks. There may even be some danger. Tangling with the enemy of our souls, rescuing the perishing, is not comfortable or safe. How many times was the apostle Paul beaten? Stoned? Shipwrecked? Cold and naked? Weary and sleepless? But what a story he had to tell!! (2Cor. 11)
God’s work in this world will always have an element of mystery to it. Please, do not let the uncertainties of situations keep us from being the agent of God when He needs an agent. Leave some room for mystery, and be bold in faith.

The Lord needs people

A second lesson could be stated this way: God’s work in this world has always been dependent upon individuals. People, one by one, have always been the key element in what God is doing in this world. In all of God’s efforts to redeem mankind and bring glory to Him, the Lord has always called upon and depended upon men and women, boys and girls.

We hear Mordecai saying in his message to Esther, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” We can imagine Mordecai and Esther assessing the circumstances that have come upon them and wondering what one thing either of them can do in the face of this hideous decree of Haman’s.

Granted, it is easier for Mordecai to see how Esther as queen can play a crucial role. He’s older; more experienced, and is looking in from the outside. Esther is younger, less experienced in matters of the world, and is at greater risk and danger. And of course it’s always easier for one person to see what another person should do! It’s clear as crystal to me what you should do, especially when it’s not my neck on the line.

But the Scriptures are full of examples of single individuals, called upon by God, giving personal effort for the sake of God’s kingdom.
It is Moses that God singles out to be the leader of His people out of the iron furnace of Egypt. It is Moses who must trek into the palace and literally, verbally confront Pharaoh as the mouthpiece of God with a demand that has no chance of going anywhere.

It is a young shepherd boy by the name of David who comes upon a giant named Goliath terrorizing the army of Israel and its leader, King Saul. It is just one young boy, taking up his sling and five smooth stones and his great faith in God, who ruins the Philistines’ day and gives Israel one heck of a victory.

“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

And who was that spear thrower in Numbers 25 who took a javelin and thrust it through both an Israelite man and his Midianite wife and brought to an end a plague from God that had already killed 24,000 in Israel? His name was Phinehas, a grandson of Aaron the priest. A pretty bold move, wouldn’t you say? How many thousands more might the plague have taken if Phinehas had remained comfortable on his tabernacle stool? Or was it a pew?

God’s work in this world has always been dependent upon individuals. How does God want to use you? What part will He call on you to play that only you can fulfil? Will you respond to His call? What are you wrestling with right now that you know you need to surrender to? Will others suffer because we don’t want to get involved? Will others perish because I don’t want to be disturbed?

Every individual in the kingdom of God has been drawn there because each one can play a pivotal role at a unique time to further the cause of Christ in our world. Let us be ever alert to stand and say, “Here I am, Lord, send me!” To that volunteer will come adventure, great reward, exhilarating victory, and marvellous stories to tell to the children and grandchildren. But it won’t be easy. And the battles will be real for the kingdom of darkness is real. And there will probably be some wounds. But it will be worth it all.

God will act without us

God’s work in this world is not ultimately dependent upon individuals. Even though people, as individuals, have always had a key role to play in the kingdom of God, it is ultimately God Who fulfils His plans. Notice that Mordecai says, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place…” Mordecai knows that God WILL keep His promises.

What was made clear to Abraham about a people, a land, and a covenant (Gen. 12) will come to pass. The Jews will not be completely destroyed, no matter what enemy has made what plans. Mordecai is fully convinced that God’s plans will be fulfilled to the letter.

God will not be disappointed from accomplishing exactly what He has planned. If Esther chooses to sit out this round, if she chooses to remain completely silent at this time, God’s plans for His people will be completed in some other way. Relief and deliverance will come:
- from some other action
- of some other individual
- from some other place, eg: revival taking place in Fiji in the pacific as I am speaking.

We have a great God. If we choose to be silent when God’s Spirit says speak, if we choose to be disobedient when opportunity knocks, if we decide to turn a deaf ear when a need comes calling, God will not be defeated. Someone else will respond, and someone else will be blessed, and someone else will have a story to tell to the nations!

When the Lord Jesus was commanded by the Pharisees to hush up His disciples, for they were shouting, ‘Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord’… When the Pharisees said, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples,” the Lord Jesus said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:39-40) God would have His Son recognized and praised, either by disciples or by rocks from the side of the road.

What this means for us, is that God can handle our failures. Sure it’s a shame when we stumble and fail, but God can handle it. Sure we lose and there are consequences to be paid, but God can handle it. Sure we are afraid and paralyzed and immobile, but God cannot fail. And if He cannot fail, then we are encouraged to step forward when He calls for us to act.

Esther came to understand that this was her moment on the stage of Jewish history. And by the grace of God she was found faithful. She proved to be dependable as one of God’s children. And her story and her glory live on for all of time and eternity.

So Mordecai’s question to Esther is God’s question for us as well: “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Don’t worry about the uncertainties. Be ready to answer God’s call. Don’t let failure keep you from stepping forward again. For ultimately, it is God’s work, and He will not fail.

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