For Such a Time as This
God’s name is not mentioned by Mordecai in his words to Esther, but God’s Sovereignty and His provision are clearly evident. Mordecai’s faith in God Almighty is steadfast. He has confident hope that God will provide. The only question is: does Esther choose to be part of the blessing? Will she see that all the events and circumstances of her life have been orchestrated to have her in this position for this specific time and this opportunity?
There are many cautions in scripture about speaking rashly, gossiping, criticizing, and letting nothing unholy come out of our mouths.
The sin of commission is easy to identify and I have many times needed to apologize for my words. (You know – once uttered, words are like the proverbial toothpaste in the tube – -hard, if not impossible, to put back). Once uttered, our words are out there and can’t be pulled back in.
But this passage addresses our sin of omission when it comes to our words. Just as it is sinful to speak when we should be silent, so it can be sinful to remain silent when God is calling us to speak.
- Are you and I holding back a word of praise or affirmation that needs to be released to encourage another?
- Are we shirking on our responsibilities as mothers to use words to discipline or correct our children?
- Are there words of kindness or sympathy that we need to make time to share?
- Are there words of truth that need uttered when the character or reputation of another are being maligned?
God orchestrates opportunities for us to speak up and it is our responsibility to rise up in obedience – to respond as He prompts in a way that is Spirit-led and God-honoring.
Esther faced a dilemma that many of us face when God provides such an opportunity. Rather than our physical life perishing (which was the very real possibility for Esther), for you and me it might be death to a relationship, a position, or it might invite criticism we would not welcome.
- When your girlfriend begins to complain about her husband, might you encourage her to pray for him…or ask her if she could identify five positive things about him she is grateful for?
- When a group of friends begins to gossip about another friend, might you have the courage to speak up and vouch for the one being condemned?
- When conversations are going south, might you have the courage to change the subject?
Are we willing to take a chance on our popularity perishing among our group of friends?
Sometimes being quiet is a hard thing, but sometimes speaking up can be even harder.
Are you and I open to seeing our presence in every conversation and situation as a for such a time as this opportunity?
Esther’s response shows again she is the star shining brightly in a dark place at a dark time. She demonstrates that she learned well from her cousin and father-figure Mordecai. Here’s her reply to him:
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
Esther 4: 15-16
We know that in Scripture, fasting and praying go hand in hand. The commentators I read agree that this is a call to pray.
Esther is taking this battle very seriously. She is stepping up to be a warrior woman. She is calling everyone to pray on her behalf. All the Jews in Susa – those outside the palace are to pray. And inside – Esther and her attendants will do the same. I’m guessing that most likely her attendants are not Jewish, so reading between the lines, it would seem that Esther’s faith has made an impact on those who serve her. She is living as a woman of God –allowing her faith in Him to shine brightly in this dark place.
She is resigned to what she must do. But she is convicted that before she goes, she must prepare by spending time in prayer. Her final words – –If I perish, I perish — are in essence an AMEN. A so be it. A confident faith that she is placing her life in God’s hands.
Her choice to go to the king may result in her death. She knows this. So how does she prepare – order her favorite last meal? Call for more beauty treatments or order a new dress or lingerie? Does she spend time having a good cry? She does none of that. She prays! She woman’s up and she gets down on her knees.
I pray that you and I would respond the same in a time of crisis. God can use a crisis to create revival in us individually and in our community. Trouble is a revealer. It proves our faith genuine. Only a woman of faith can say, “If I perish I perish.”
Paul may have written these words long after Esther’s time, but I think she not only believed them, but lived them:
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. II Corinthians 4: 18
The woman of God fixes her eyes on what is unseen.
It is prayer that brings on that eternal vision. It is through prayer that we are prepared for battle. As we begin to cultivate a habit of prayer and strengthen our prayer muscles, we can be sure that God will provide – or life will bring – opportunities for the application of prayer.
You can listen to the entire teaching lecture for Esther Lesson 3 here: