Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Made for a time as this


The story of Esther in the Bible is one many Christians are very familiar with. It is a story of how God delivered His people from certain death at the hands of Haman, because Queen Esther a Jew, made a courageous move to save them.

If we trace the outline of the story from chapters one to ten, we realise that in God’s scheme of things, nothing happens by chance. Do you think it was by chance that Queen Vashti was deposed when she became too proud to honour King Xerxes order.
Was it by chance that Esther, the orphan cousin of Mordecai, was selected out of the many beautiful ladies by King Xerxes, as his new Queen?


If your answer has been “yes” or “no” all along, what do you think was the purpose of all these ‘chance’ events?

If you go on reading the story, you will see in chapter three, that Haman, the highest ranking official of King Xerxes, was enraged when Mordecai, who worked in the King’s palace refused to bow down before him like the others. Haman was so angry he decided to kill not only Mordecai but all other Jews in the Kingdom! And he got the approval of King Xerxes for this genocide.

When news of the impending doom of the Jews was communicated to Queen Esther, she had two options: she could try her best to save them by begging the King. But there was a catch. She could not approach the King unless by his invitation, failure to follow protocol meant certain death.
Or she could have taken a less risky path, protect herself. After all no one knew she was a Jew so she would be safe even though all other Jews died.

As she thought about these options, her guardian Mordecai told her these famous words,
“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?”

Well we know what she happened afterwards. She prayed and fasted alongside all other Jews for God to help her approach the King. She succeeded and finally got him to change the genocidal warrant that had been given earlier. The Jews were spared from death, while Haman and his accomplices were killed instead. Mordecai got to enjoy the privileges of Haman’s office and all ended well for the Jews.

But I wonder what Esther’s response would have been if she didn’t realize
that all the ‘chance’ events that had happened to her thus far were preparing her for a “time as this.” All the seemingly random events were divinely orchestrated for her to help save God’s people. She could either play her part in the divine order or forfeit her part by being scared or unconcerned. Thankfully she did the right thing, and her name is forever honoured as the brave Queen.

Its so common to think that that our lives don’t really matter especially in relation to others. We sometimes think we are here for ourselves, to make money and enjoy a good life. We forget that God planned each of us for a unique purpose and created us for a “time like this.”

You may not be called to be a messiah like Esther, but your purpose in life is still very important. You may have people over whom you weld considerable influence, or you may have been blessed but those around you are not. For the record, the blessing doesn’t have to be financial, it could be a blessing of knowledge, of skills, of strength, or anything that others around you do not have but which you do.

Perhaps God appointed you for “a time as this” among your family, friends, or society? Are you going to decide to enjoy your blessings all by yourself because you think you worked hard for it and deserve it? Queen Esther ‘worked’ hard for her position as queen, she was certainly beautiful and made sure she followed the rules while undergoing the one-year mandatory beauty treatment required before meeting the king. But she knew that it was God who granted her favour, irrespective of her beauty and grace.
 
It can be tempting to think it is because of our hardwork, discipline, health, good works, ‘connection’, etc that we are so blessed. But the truth is, it is by God’s grace that we have come so far and achieved all that we have. Perhaps the reason God has blessed us with so much resources and opportunities is because He wants us to be a channel to others less fortunate than us. Are we willing to work in partnership with Him?

It took courage for Queen Esther to do the right thing. It was no easy feat, but when she relied on God, He made everything fall into place. Sometimes doing the will of God requires guts and courage. It means leaving our comfort zone, receiving cold stares and being misunderstood by others. But as long as we know God is with us and trust Him, and go on to do the right thing, we will finish strong.

Look around you, are they people whose lives you could improve by the blessings and opportunities you have been given? Is there an injustice or sad situation you feel very passionate about? Who knows, maybe you were made for a time such as this, to correct wrongs and to make a difference.
Each of us has an opportunity to partner with God to make a difference in our families and world. I believe God created us and has led us this far for a time as this. Do you?

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Image1 courtesy:http://savinghumans.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/thu-12-picture.jpg 
Image2 courtesy:http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/wwfuture/624_351/images/live/p0/0r/js/p00rjs6g.jpg
Image3 courtesy:http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7jxq0EyRM_A/TkQe3biHQhI/AAAAAAAAA3s/vh70XhcaJZA/s1600/Helping%2BHand.jpg 

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