Monday, April 23, 2018

Defining Moments: Esther

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
- Esther 4:14b

Let’s play some quick word association. Say the first word that comes to your mind when I say “Noah and the ____?” How about “Daniel in the ____?” “Jonah and the ____?” We remember Noah and the ark, Daniel in the lions’ den and Jonah and the whale not only because they’re great stories—they’re also defining moments. As we look at the great heroes of our faith in the pages of God’s Word, all of them had defining moments that made them into the heroes we know and love.

What about you? In your Christian journey, what have been your defining moments? Of the millions of moments that you have experienced, which ones have most defined your relationship with Jesus Christ? Which moments have most powerfully shaped your priorities? Which moments have most profoundly impacted the lives of those around you? And what will be your defining moments in days to come?

When it comes to defining moments in the lives of God’s people, there are hundreds recorded in Scripture. But I’d like to take you to one that you probably haven’t explored in quite a while: the defining moment in the life of a young Jewish woman named Esther. In her day, the reigning ruler was Xerxes, the king of Persia. He was in the market for a new queen, and a search was made throughout the kingdom for the most beautiful unmarried women.

The woman he finally chose was Esther, a Jewish maiden who had been raised by her cousin Mordecai. But King Xerxes’ second in command was a man named Haman, who hated Esther’s cousin Mordecai, and since Mordecai was Jewish, Haman figured that he might as well hate all Jews everywhere. So he tricked King Xerxes into signing an edict that on the 13th day of the 12th month of that year, all of the Jewish people in Persia would be exterminated.

Mordecai urged Esther to “go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people” (Esther 4:8). But Esther knew that even as queen, if she came barging into the king’s presence without being summoned, she would most likely be killed. From where she stood, it wasn’t worth the risk. When he received her response, Mordecai offered his cousin Esther this timeless advice: “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” (v. 14a).

And the final sentence of verse 14 contains, in my opinion, the most gripping words in the entire book of Esther: “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

All of it, Mordecai suggested, was orchestrated by the hand of God. Esther was chosen by Xerxes to be Queen of Persia because God saw to it that she was chosen to be Queen of Persia. And, when Esther took Mordecai’s advice, the king listened to her, put Haman to death, and issued a new decree allowing the Jews to take up arms and defeat the army of Haman’s henchmen.

Thousands of Jewish lives were spared because when Esther’s defining moment came, she was prayed up. She boldly stood up. And she boldly spoke up for her people who didn’t have a voice. God had placed her in her royal position for such a time as this. And when that time came, she rose to the occasion and handled her defining moment with grace and courage.

When your defining moments come, remember God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11-13a: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD.” When you find yourself at a crossroads, don’t take the easy way. Instead, take God’s way. It’s always the best way.

And when a defining moment arrives, it may scare you half to death. But if you trust in Christ and follow his lead, there is nothing to fear. Maybe it will be tomorrow or next month. But all of us will face some defining moments in days to come. And when those moments come, remember that your entire life has led up to this point. God has watched over you and loved you and prepared you “for such a time as this.” 

Dane Davis is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information, visit www.YourVictorvilleChurch.com  and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.


No comments:

Post a Comment