Esther 3 & 4: For Such a Time As This
Read Esther 3 & Esther 4 before reading this blog.
As we read Esther 3 and 4 we read of a very crucial problem that, on paper, could affect our salvation and the entire foundation of The Bible. Now, as we know nothing could get in the way of the divine plan of God. But to put yourselves into their shoes, I will explain to you why Esther and Mordecai are putting their lives on the line to respond to this problem. We read that the entire population of the Jews would’ve been wiped out. All Jews -- young and old, including women and children -- would be killed, slaughtered, and annihilated on a single day. If this were to happen the Jewish man could argue that the Messiah could never come forth from God’s people, since there would be end to all of Abraham's descendants. This irrevocable annihilation decree was given to each one of the 127 provinces in the empire as an order to slaughter all of God’s people.
While Esther is not listed in the genealogy of Jesus, thanks to her obedience, courage, boldness, and strength, she prevented His entire nationality from being wiped out, the heritage in which our Messiah would come forth. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, had the wisdom to see that God had Esther in her prominent place for a reason. Now Esther must exercise the boldness to step up to the plate.
Esther 4:14 NLT “If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”
Faith Is Not Meant To Be Private
As I reflect more on my life, I am moreover persuaded that we do not exist just to merely exist. The possibility of us even being born is so terribly small and to think that we do not make an impact or that we do not have purpose (especially as someone who literally has The Holy Spirit inside of you) is foolish and completely unbiblical. Yet there’s a difference between sitting back enjoying the comfort of your life and letting someone else do the work, versus stepping into place choosing to activate the power of the Holy Spirit by faith. God puts us in place for a reason and we need the wisdom to see that reason with the courage and obedience to step into it. Charles Spurgeon once said,
“You have been wishing for another position where you could do something for Jesus: do not wish anything of the kind, but serve Him where you are.”
How do you do something for Jesus where you are? It’s simple: faith is not meant to be private. As Christian Americans, we have it very comfortable, in fact we are exceptionally privileged. We are so comfortable in our religious expression that we can make the choice to not express our religion at all. Most American Christians see their Christianity as the town they grew up in, the family that raised them, or the country music they listen to -- and nothing more. They dare say that they “keep their faith private”. I’ve got to be honest, I’m not sure which is more dangerous as a Christian: living comfortably or facing active persecution. Forbes reports that “260 million Christians live in World Watch List top 50 countries where Christians are at risk of high, very high or extreme levels of persecution. This is up from 245 million in 2019.” To put that into perspective, imagine 79% of Americans meeting up in churches underground, facing death every single day, while learning an elevation pitch of the Gospel to tell their murderer. To be a bit edgy here, COVID-19 closed nearly every church door in America but this same pandemic did not stop 15 million more Christians from facing persecution. My friend Olivia Wilk made a very good point, “In China, Christians are committing the Bible to memory because they do not have access to the Bible there, but in America we can’t even make 15 minutes in our day for God.” How do you do something for Jesus where you are? It’s simple: faith is not meant to be private.
The Suicide Mission
In Esther 4:8, we see that Mordecai urged Esther “to go into the king's presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.” Esther responded saying (in modern words), “Cousin, if I go to the king, I could be killed. This is a suicide mission.” (Esther 4:11). Mordecai came back and said that inaction was also tantamount to suicide (Esther 4:13).
So Queen Esther was in between a rock and a hard place. Who was she going to serve? Her fear or her Lord? Just as us, stepping up to advance the Gospel or stepping down from advancing the Gospel is tantamount to suicide.
2 Timothy 2:13 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
But it’s our choice: who will we serve leading up to our death? The Lord or our fear?
Jesus Is Our Savior
It’s true, God doesn’t need you to accomplish anything. Mordecai’s faithfulness in these chapters wasn’t in Esther, his faithfulness was in God, but Mordecai certainly had the wisdom to see how Esther’s position was granted by divine provision. Esther 4:14a “If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die.” Mordecai is saying that it is indeed God who will rescue them but Esther has the privilege to step into place and serve. Nothing can stop God’s great Will from being accomplished. But why back down when the King of Kings is calling? Why say “no” when you have the opportunity for promotion in your faith? Esther could’ve been like us: timid, scared, ignorant, waiting on someone else to save the day, waiting for it “all to work out”. But she stepped up in mighty courage and became one of two women-inspired Books in the 66-book Bible saving an entire nationality, the Jewish people of which are God’s people and have brought forth our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, Jewish man, Son of God, then came to this world He created. He died on a cross, placing all our sins and transgressions upon Him so that we may experience the abundant riches of His grace and life everlasting. Jesus Christ is the true Savior, not Esther, but Esther was called to be a servant of His great plan and so are you.
It is Christ within you who gives you strength and the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you that gives you the freedom and responsibility to be bold in Christ. He is your protection, He is your courage, and with Him even the faith the size of a mustard seed can take down any giant. You can make a difference.
Look at the world, do you see it hurting? Look at your nation, do you see it crippling? Look at your state, do you see it unjust? Look at your town, do you see it lukewarm? Look at your community, do you see it anxious? Look at your friend group, do you see them lost? Look at your family, do you see them in need of a Savior? Look at yourself, do you see that you can exercise courage and that you can make a difference? All it takes is wisdom, courage, and obedience; God freely gives these gifts when we ask of Him.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7, 13-16 “ For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves...But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.”
1) Who do you tend to serve on a regular basis: God or your fear? Dive deep to uncover your true answer.
2) What is one practical way you can show the light of Jesus (advance the Gospel)? I challenge you to actually follow through with what you say.