Esther 3-4: For Such a Time as This
August 22, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The plot thickens. Haman is promoted to a position of unparalleled power—right beneath the king (3:1)—and it is the king’s command that all should pay him homage and bow down before him (3:2). But Mordecai refuses (3:2). Why Mordecai refuses is not made explicit, but we may surmise either that it is because the act was equivalent to worshipping a human, or because Mordecai knew that Haman was a “piece of work” and did not want to encourage his nefariousness, or in all likelihood some mixture of the two.
At any rate Mordecai’s refusal has serious consequences. Haman decides that merely destroying Mordecai will not sufficiently assuage his wounded pride, but he must take it out on the whole race of Jews (3:6). How often is a personal slight, an offense of a petty pride, the source of wider problems! Oh how important it is to be humble. But Haman is the very opposite of humble, and he, in effect, lies to the king to gain the authority he needs to wipe out the Jews (3:8-9). They are dispersed through the king’s kingdom—here the calling up of fears and intimations of plots and secret enemies—and they live by a “different” law. They are the “other” (3:8), different from the rest of us, and they are a danger to your kingdom, O king! No mention of the fact that he is doing it because someone would not bow down before him.
The king, though, trusts Haman and gives him the authority he requests (3:10-11).
Mordecai, and the other Jews, hear about the proclamation, and Mordecai goes about in sackcloth and ashes and cries out with a bitter cry (4:1). This is the end, it is disaster, it is death for a people, it is genocide.
But Mordecai also has a plan. He appeals to Esther (4:7-8). Here we come to one of if not the most famous passages in this book: who knows but that it was for “such a time as this” that you, Esther, have been put in this position (4:14). Mordecai’s argument is fascinating. If Esther refuses to take the great risk of appearing before the king unrequested, and so potentially putting her own life at risk, then rescue for the Jews will arise from some other source, but she and her father’s house will perish (4:14). Mordecai understands that God will rescue his people, but Esther has a responsibility to be a part of that rescue. Perhaps you, Esther, have been put in this position for exactly this reason.
So it proved.
Who would have thought that Esther’s role was to save God’s people?
Perhaps you are in a situation that you did not seek or request or desire, and wonder what is the point of it all. Be at peace, your soul. God is sovereign, and the lot falls where he decides. And you are in your position for a purpose. Discern that sovereign purpose of God, and follow his will to be a part of God’s plan to save his people.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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