I love the book of Esther! Those extraordinary words about her being there “for such a time as this” are endlessly quoted across the Body of Christ. But, as so often happens, the whole context of the Scripture is rarely understood or appreciated. I have just been prompted to read the book of Esther again and found myself being suddenly, and deeply, alerted to a profound lesson as I read the whole verse which contains these words.
This is what Mordecai said to Esther about the fact that all Jewish people were under threat of destruction because of the evil intent of Haman:
“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” (Esther4:14).
The implication of what Mordecai said was that the purposes of God will not be thwarted and if you have been challenged by God to action and don’t do what He is asking of you, then the consequences could be very serious. In Esther’s case she was facing the reality that both she and her father’s family would perish.
Esther faced a critical decision. If she were to approach the King on behalf of her people, without first being summoned, she could come under an immediate sentence of death. Unless the King extended his gold sceptre towards her, and gave her permission to speak, she would die. Mordecai was asking her to risk a death sentence, for the sake of saving the Jewish people. This is the context of those words “for such a time as this”.
Esther was being called by God to do something incredibly risky, an act of life and death importance. This had to be a moment of supreme faith and, at the same time, one of supreme risk. No wonder John WImber used to say that the word faith is spelt R-I-S-K. What a dilemma for Esther! If she didn’t risk it, then there was no hope for all her people across the 127 provinces of the King’s domains. They would all die. But if she did risk it, she could die in the process, if the King didn’t extend his sceptre towards her.
This story of Esther is one of the most profound in the Bible. She risked everything. Lost nothing. And gained not only the freedom of all her people, but the end of Haman and all those who were plotting to kill all the Jews. The story ended well and to this day remembering Esther’s bravery is one of the most celebrated events in the Jewish calendar.
However, it’s easy to remember the story without understanding its wider significance. The children of Israel had left Egypt and were but a short distance from entering their promised land. Twelve spies were sent ahead. Ten came back in fear with the message that there are giants there. And two, Joshua and Caleb, came back with the same information, but urged the people to enter the land, trusting that God would go ahead of them and not to be afraid, saying, “Only do not rebel against the Lord” (Numbers 14:9).
But the people did rebel. They complained and spent forty years in the wilderness until every single one of those who had rebelled were dead. It did not turn out well for them. Only Joshua and Caleb survived to enter the promised land! The ultimate purposes of God for His people were not thwarted, but not one of those who had responded to the challenge in fear, as opposed to faith, survived and all missed out on God’s blessing. This is serious stuff.
When we set these two stories side by side, the lesson is profound and obvious. Faith leads to life – Fear leads to death, but God will not be thwarted and if we say NO to the purposes of God, then He will find another way to do whatever it was He asks of us, but it won’t involve us and we will miss out on the blessings God was waiting to give.
And, following on from the theme of my last blog, I believe this is an Esther/Johua/Caleb moment for us all, and especially for today’s church leaders: Are you going to walk in relational obedience to the living God and courageously fly in the face of godless secularism, fearlessly proclaiming to a desperate nation and the world that God is the Creator of all things? And that He has set in place a plumbline of truth and when we ignore it, then people and the nations suffer?
This may seem a risky thing to do in a world that loves to oppose anything that has God’s stamp of authority and truth on it. Just as it was in Esther’s day, there’s a world out there that is dying. Esther spoke up and saved her people. We desperately need our leaders to speak up and by so doing give today’s godless generations the opportunity to believe differently from the antigod agenda which drives so much of the social and political western world.
These are serious times. Where are the people who need to be raised up in a time of national spiritual emergency “for such a time as this”? People who don’t look at the giants and run in fear, but look at God and trust Him. And at a personal level, how do we respond when God asks us to do something that seems beyond us? Do we look at the problems or do we look at the God who is above the problems and move forward in faith, taking risks and trusting that the God who saved Esther will also be with us?
Sounds like it, Abigail. Keep on watching and waiting on the Lord and you will experience His Spirit directing your steps – this is what Watchman Nee used to call the normal Christian life!!
Dear Peter, God ignited a fresh fire in my belly on last Thursday! I was in workshop, watching one of my classmates as a receiver praying for herself, her face turning from being distress to smile. Suddenly, a kind of hope, joy and happiness coming out of my stomach! I could not stop laughing that was real exciting and came from my deep heart. This was something that I had never experienced previously. Praise the Lord! Your words are good to me! Is this an Esther/Johua/Caleb moment for me?
I had the same thought that Robert wrote on January18, 2023 at 2:25pm, but the response you you wrote at 3pm clarified by saying that ‘there was a higher Messianic and eternal purpose for His people’. Thanking you for sharing this.
Thanks Peter. The message from the book of Esther is one of risk and God turning what seemed to be an impossible situation to one of deliverance and freedom. Redemption!
Thank you for your faithfulness in Gods work. We continue to put into practice that Biblical principles here in East Africa and around the world what we gleaned from our time together in Florida several years ago.
Thanku Peter for your blog this secular society needs to hear this so much ,
Thank you for your obedience to the lord and encouraging us all and challenging us all was able to witness Gods good need to many in hosp yesterday it’s when we are weak and servant minded he is strong ,
How do people manage without Jesus our dear Yeshua ,
Praise be to him now and always we are in end times ,
Ester has always blessed me we had it on tape and was always worried about Haman the agergite but so relieved she obeyed the L-rd ,
May you and your family be blessed
Been blessed by your teachings at Ellel I love it there so much I never want to leave such a small glimpse of heaven
Blessings be on u now and always
Mary from Ronsey
I woke up at 4.30 am weighing on whether to carry out a regional building project this year or leave it to the next generation of leaders. Age is catching up; I am not young! “Lord, can I take it easy, rest, and ignore this hour of need?”
Your article, maybe God’s reply to my question. Esther 4:14, “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”.
Pray for me. Thank you.
Dear Peter, I too love the story of Esther, what a lady, ready to give her all to save her people. Of course as someone has stated preparation was all important as indeed it is for us, for God to use us for His end time purposes. What have we to fear ? I think of it as a great adventure ! I for one am ready to embrace it. Only by God’s grace is it possible.
‘.. a word in season…’. I wonder how long it will be when some of us will find ourselves in a similar position to these worthy saints? We need the boldness that can only come from the Holy Spirit. We need to pray for one another especially, for those of us in the secular work space who face compromise over issues of Gods view of sexuality, that God would grant His courage to stand for Gods truth, even if it means loosing their job.
I have felt I should write a book of my experience in the past. I have a few pages on Cloud. I know that what your parents tell you before you are born influences your thinking throughout your life, even though I think I have been healed of it, but I still struggle with “should I be somewhere else” “has Satan destroyed my destiny”even though I know my Heavenly Father cares for me and I sometimes think I still need more healing from a death curse and false accusation.
Peter, I am so moved by what you have written – and stirred, too. Thank you! The Lord asked me yesterday to read Esther right through, and to note everything it said, and how it spoke personally to me at this season of my life and walk with Him.
What struck me was the preparation of all things for Esther before this assignment was laid upon her; and also all the preparation the Lord did in setting up the detail behind the entire scenario in advance, in ways nobody would decipher or recognise as being necessarily significant – even down to King Xerxes having insomnia, and electing to read that one particular record, of Mordecai’s loyal actions towards him as sovereign! And the craft and stealth the Lord imparted to Esther during the fast she undertook; the strategy for battle He gave her; and the queenly conduct she displayed in ensnaring Haman in the presence of the King.
And the Lord gave time for Haman’s wicked plan to be cancelled out.
What struck me most of all were these wonderful words, which could not be more pertinent in my own life right now, from chapter 8:8b – “No document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.” AMEN! His word, written and spoken, stands for all time. I pray for courage, integrity, grace, nobility of heart and tenacity for all my brothers and sisters in Christ, and for myself, in the face even of existential threats in the days to come.
What a timely reminder Peter. There is a war on and we are called to be soldiers.
I also rejoiced in what you had to say here – God’s purposes will be completed. He is still Lord of all despite the mocking and scoffing in the media. I love the book title – the Lamb wins but it is through hardship and pain. Isn’t that what soldiers go through?
Thank you for this call to action, Peter. We truly are in a contest of life and death. Satan’s heart is being more fully expressed through culture and his followers than we might have imagined possible only a few decades ago.
But as you say, God’s ultimate plan will not be thwarted. It’s just a matter of whether we’re Joshua and Caleb or the fearful, rebellious majority. I appreciate you exhorting us to step up to our calling. Lord, help us!
Thanks Robert. Yes, you are right. But the instruction that had gone out from Haman was that death was coming to the Jewish people in all those 127 regions were the King reigned and Moredecai says it very plainly that Esther and all her father’s family would perish if she didn’t do what he was asking of her. It doesn’t seem that Mordecai would be expecting any deliverance for them – even from another source. I think this is a case of both being true – God would ensure that the Jewish people as a nation survived because there was a higher Messianic and eternal purpose for His people. But, as has happened on countless occasions in Jewish history, Jews have also been the victims of many massacres, but even so, God’s eternal purposes for them have never been thwarted. On this occasion God used Esther to save the Jews – it is such an encouraging story to read how faith for the impossible produces a God-answer that is beyond expectation.
Thank you Peter for this timely reminder. Something which is presently very much to the fore of my mind, and is the subject of much prayer.
You write the following:
‘… What a dilemma for Esther! If she didn’t risk it, then there was no hope for all her people across the 127 provinces of the King’s domains. They would all die. …’
That isn’t what the scripture you quote says is it? Relief and deliverance would arise from another place?
Thank you for all that you continue to do; God continue to bless your work for Him. Have been gifted the CT Studd new book. ‘Only what’s done for Christ will last.’