Born For Such A Time As This
The next story is about a young Jewish girl named Esther who lived in Persia. Her parents had died and she was brought up by her cousin Mordecai (Esther 2:5-7). At that time, king Xerxes ruled over Persia and he wished for a queen to be beside him, so many young girls were brought to the Palace for the king to select a queen from among them (Esther 2:8). Young Esther, too, had been taken from the safety of her cousin Mordecai’s home to the Palace. To be honest, neither she nor Mordecai had any say in the matter. Their separation had been forced upon them. It must have been a very frightening experience for Esther to be suddenly placed in this unfamiliar environment. Moreover, she had to keep secret the fact that she was not of Persian but of Jewish descent (Esther 2:10). However, we will learn that God was very involved in Esther being at the Palace, even if she did not know that and she may well have wondered if God cared about her being taken to the Palace, since she was just a young Jewish girl. And He, very likely, had more important matters to take care of than consider her situation and do something about it. But God did care, and He allowed her to be there for a very special reason, as we will find out later on. One day, Esther was presented before the king, as we can read in Esther 2:16- 17 She was taken to king Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tibeth, in the seventh year of his reign. Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favour and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
(Esther) “I cannot believe what has happened to me; the king has made me his queen (Esther 2:17). A year ago I lived with my cousin Mordecai (Esther 2:5-7). But then I was taken to the Palace for the king wanted to have a queen beside him (Esther 2:8). And we were all to be presented before the king, including myself. That did not happen right away. In fact, it took a year of beauty treatments before I was presented to him (Esther 2:12). But that happened the other day (Esther 2:15-16). And I was chosen as queen among the other girls (Esther 2:17). I now have, therefore, a very comfortable life for I have servants to serve me, have beautiful robes to wear and have wonderful food to eat (Esther 2:9). It is somewhat lonely though so I am very happy that I can still have contact with my cousin Mordecai. Unfortunately, he is not allowed in the Palace but he spends a lot of time at the Palace Gate (Esther 2:11). And that is how he is able to contact me because he is able to send me messages via one of my servants (Esther 2:21-22).
Esther may have believed that her comfortable life would continue for ever. But then events took place that threatened her very existence, and it all happened without her knowledge. For a certain man, named Haman, had begun to hate Esther’s cousin Mordecai, and wanted to have him killed. However, having learned that Mordecai was a Jew, he decided he would have all the Jewish people who lived in the Persian kingdom killed off (Esther 3:5-6). He spoke to the king about it, and he agreed to his proposal, not knowing that he was sending his own queen to her death (Esther 3:8-11). Esther was completely unaware that her life was in danger. To her, life was pleasant. She had found favour with the people and with the king. As far as she was concerned, nothing could possibly happen to interrupt her peaceful existence. But it was time for Esther to realise that God had a purpose for her becoming queen. Therefore, He allowed Mordecai to learn about the plot to kill all the Jewish people, and Mordecai was able to send a message to Esther via her servant (Esther 4:6-8). (Esther) “I don’t know what to do. Mordecai sent me a message telling me to go before the king (Esther 4:6-8). But I have not seen the king for the last thirty days. And I cannot go to the king uninvited for that would put my life in danger. I must let Mordecai know that I cannot possibly go to the king unannounced (Esther 4:10-11). I know he has got good reasons to ask me to go before the king for my people are in danger of being killed. But I cannot do anything to help them. I am only a young woman. And the king does not even know that I am Jewish (Esther 2:10) . And my king is a very powerful man. But he is a man with a bad temper. And if I were to go and see him unannounced he may well have me killed. I must tell Mordecai. I must let him know that I cannot possibly go to the king uninvited because that would surely put my own life in danger. And, no doubt, Mordecai loves me so much that he will not want me to endanger my life.”
But that is not what happened, as we can read in Esther 4:12-14 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back his answer, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 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 that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
Mordecai did not change his mind. On the contrary, he sent a more powerful message back to Esther. (Esther) ”I did receive a reply from Mordecai (Esther 4:13-14). To be honest, it was not the reply that I expected. But when I read his words, I understood why I have become queen. I have often wondered why God has allowed to me to become queen. But today I understand for today I know that God wants to use me in my position as queen to save my people. However, I cannot just go the king unprepared so I am going to take three days of prayer and fasting to prepare myself before going to the king (Esther 4:15-16). I do not know the outcome. But God knows and my life is in His hands.”
And so Esther went before the king (Esther 5:1-2).
(Esther) “Yes I did go before the king, not knowing what would happen to me. On the day that I was to go before him, I dressed in my most beautiful robe and I then walked the hallways to enter the hall where the king was seated on his throne (Esther 5:1). When I came to the entrance of the hall the king noticed me. And I realised that he was pleased to see me. No doubt, God had touched his heart. He then stretched out his sceptre to me as a sign that he would receive me. I walked up to him (Esther 5:2). He was so kind for he offered to give me the half of his kingdom. But I do not need one half of his kingdom (Esther 5:3). I only asked him and Haman to come for dinner the next evening which they did (Esther 5:4-5). That evening I sensed it was not yet the time to speak to the king about my people. So I asked if he and Haman would come back the following evening which they did (Esther 5:6-8). I then spoke to the king and pleaded with him on behalf of myself and my people (Esther 7:3-4; Esther 8:3-6). And the king heard me (Esther 8:7-8). And now my people can defend themselves against any attack that they may have to deal with (Esther 8:9-11). Moreover, the king realised that Haman had been the one who has wanted to destroy my people so he had him killed (Esther 7:5-6, 10)”.
God, who knew that one day a man named Haman would design a plan to have his chosen people attacked (Esther 3:8-9), allowed a young Jewish girl, an orphan living with her cousin Mordecai (Esther 2:7), to be taken into the Palace (Esther 2:8) to become queen (Esther 2:17) so that she could come before the king (Esther 5:1) and be God’s instrument to save her people (Esther 8:11). Esther did not know this when she was forced to enter the Palace. Neither did her cousin Mordecai know that this was God’s plan for his cousin Esther. But God knew, and when the time came for Esther to act, she was prepared to be obedient to her calling, no matter what the cost (Esther 4:15-16).
God wants to use the story of Esther to encourage us, for He wants us to know that He has a plan for each one of us, just as He had a plan for Esther’s life. His plan for our lives will not be like the plan He had for Esther’s life. His plan for our lives will fit our circumstances, just as God’s plan for Esther’s life fitted her circumstances. But I do want all of us to know that the God who loved Esther and cared for her throughout her life and gave her the strength, ability and wisdom to do what He had for her to do, will do the same for us because He loves and cares for each one of us. So, He will strengthen us in our circumstances and enable us to do whatever it is He has for us to do. Moreover, God will give us the wisdom to do whatever He wants us to do, so we can do it well. For God wants our lives to be a testimony to His goodness and mercy, just as Esther’s life was a testimony to the goodness and mercy of God.