For Such a Time as This

Vaniz   |   March 6, 2024 

In the dramatic story of Esther in the Old Testament, we see Esther's critical role in preventing the Jews from massive destruction.

Haman, a royal official of the king of Xerxes, ordered to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jews in the kingdom—young and old, women and children on a single day and to plunder their goods. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, persuaded Esther to plead to the king on their behalf. Esther knew the rule that anyone who approached the king in the inner court without being summoned shall be put to death unless the king extended the gold scepter to them and spared their lives. Mordecai challenged her, saying, “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 but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther4:13-14)

Then Esther calls for a three-day fast among her people; when it is done, she would go to the king even though it was against the law. She says, “If I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:16)

She called her people to fast and pray for three days. She worked intelligently to execute her request. She went prepared, wearing her royal robes in respect to the king, invited the king for dinner twice, and then placed her request.  While she did her part, before the second banquet, the king could not sleep, and at night, he began reading official records. There, he read about how the Jewish man Mordecai had exposed a plot against the killing of the king. On the second day’s banquet, Esther found favour with the king and he granted her request, thus preventing the destruction of the Jews in the kingdom.

Esther was an ordinary woman who was appointed to be queen due to circumstances that led the king to replace Vashti, the original queen. Esther’s parents had died, and she did not come from a princely family background. However, she found favour to be appointed into the role of the queen. Circumstances led her there. Her appointment to the highest and most envied office did not make her proud and arrogant. She embraced her position and utilised her role to do God’s work.

In 2 Kings 5, we read about another ordinary girl who was a servant girl. Her master Naaman was a great commander of the army of the king of Aram. He is described as a highly regarded and valiant soldier. But he was suffering from leprosy, which usually led to a life ostracised from society, stripped of all self-respect, and looked down upon by the world.

At an opportune time, the servant girl recommended to her mistress that the master should visit prophet Elisha in Samaria, who could cure him of his leprosy. Then, the story goes that Naaman made the journey to visit the prophet Elisha, who told him to wash himself seven times in Jordan and he would be restored. Naaman felt insulted initially at this command; however, after some persuasion by his servants, he dipped himself in the Jordan, and his skin became clean like that of a young boy! He returned to Elisha and proclaimed, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel."

The servant girl was an ordinary girl who became a slave to the army commander after being captured from war. Circumstances had led her there. No details are shared, but one can imagine that as a victim of war, she must have been separated from her family and loved ones. Her captivity and enslavement did not quench her spirits nor deter her confidence. She embraced the opportunity and utilised her position to do God’s work.

What common traits can we learn from these two women who have influenced a nation?

Firstly, they were aware of their strategic life position. They knew the people and places they had access to and conducted themselves respectfully, careful not to overstep boundaries in general.

Secondly, they were young and had no prior experience speaking up in front of authorities. But they did not listen to voices of fear in their heads that deterred them from jumping into action. They had confidence filled with grace and wisdom. What if it doesn’t work? What if I am killed? What if I sounded stupid? What if I lose my job and livelihood? What if my reputation is lost? What if I am insulted? The what-ifs were unending. They refused to nurture those voices and instead believed in the burden that God had put in their soul for the people.

Thirdly, they acted in faith. They demonstrated obedience in that they were willing to put their life at risk to fulfill their calling. They used their words to bring God’s purposes to fulfillment.

Two women, two extreme ends of the hierarchy, and one outcome—God’s name glorified.

It does not matter where in the organizational, economic, or societal hierarchy situations may have brought us. We may be managing a large team of people or in the lowest rung of the chain, feeling insignificant and unnoticed.

God can use our life to bring Him glory if we are willing to see our life’s circumstances and positions as exactly what He has orchestrated it to be, queen or servant; it's all the same.

 

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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Vaniz

Hello, nice to e-meet you! I'm a student of life, a child of God and a person who loves to celebrate the simple joys of creation. There is love and beauty in everything around us only if we have the eyes to see it. Though I'm imperfect and inconsistent, I've learnt that God sees our availability more than our ability, He calls and He qualifies. I'm a full-time HR professional, a mother of two children and I love music and the rain.

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