Bible Study 2022
For a Time like This
People say you only live once and there are moments in our daily life where we should seize the day to do what we feel God calls us to do. Sometimes we are hesitant because we are afraid that thing will not go well. We like the path of least resistance. No matter what path you take, there will be headache, trouble, despair and brokenness. Actually the path of least resistance causes more pain.
You might still feel lonely or sad because you did not do what God has planned for you, there still is something more that you want. The biblical equivalent of this mindset to seize the day is in the book of Esther. It is unique because God’s name is not mentioned once. But if you read the book God is all over this story, He providentially connects people, put circumstances together and determines the outcome.
It tells us about our God given responsibility and the wickedness of people. Esther teaches us about a world that is against God, and how we need to live in that world while carrying out God’s wishes to the best of our ability and trusting God in His providence to protect and provide. Turn to Esther 4:8 – 17 where we learn about a Jewish festival called Purim where they celebrate being saved from destruction.
They were marked for death by the Persians. There was a king there who had a wife that made him mad, so he looked for a new one. Esther is this beautiful young Jewish woman who finds favor in the king’s eyes and ultimately becomes the queen. She is an orphan and she has a cousin named Mordechai and he is leading her and helping her but Esther doesn’t let anyone know she has a Jewish faith.
There is a man named Haiman who is close to the king who does not like Jewish people. He says the Jewish people do not do what we do and do not believe what we believe, so let’s get rid of them. He comes up with this plan to kill them. Mordechai finds out and he tells the queen, but Esther is just finding out what is going on. This is a woman as the queen who is living in a worldly way.
And Esther is finding out that her people are about to be destroyed. Mordechai is pleading with her, to make sure that they are not going to be killed. So let us read Esther 4:8 – 17, “Mordechai also gave Hathach a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Sushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command Esther to go to the king,
To make supplication to him and plead before him for her people. 9 So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai. 10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death.”
Esther says, hey look where I’m coming from, if a man or a woman goes to the king unannounced, that person will die. That is the law. “Except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.” She says that the king has not called me for thirty days, I don’t know what he thinks of me.
12 So Hathach told Mordecai Esther’s words. What do you think Mordechai was thinking, here is Esther, the orphan that he raised and this woman who he helped grow up, this Jewish woman who now is the queen, when things are going bad for her people, surely she is going to do something to help because of her love of her heritage and her God fearing faith that she has, right?
13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Mordechai said you were created for a time like this. 15 Then Esther replied to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Sushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” 17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.”
When you read all of Esther, you will find that Mordechai gives three facts to Esther. One of the things in the Bible is that what happens to Esther also applies to us. We need to read the Bible in its proper context but we also need to apply it to our life today. First, the need is urgent. Haiman has planned this, he is over these people and the king doesn’t want to deal with this, so Haiman has free reign.
And all is put into place. We see the Jewish people fasting and weeping, walking around in sackcloth, which is showing mourning. They knew what was coming. Mordechai knew that Esther needed to act because the need was so urgent. Do you know that we live in a city where 92% of the people we come in contact with are going to die without knowing Christ? There is just one evangelical church for every 32,000 people.
Four thousand churches last year closed their doors in America. Fifty percent of pastors said they would leave the ministry if they thought they had another way of making a living. The need is urgent. What God calls and commands us to do is not to be complacent. We need a move of God with the people of God to do the things of God in our everyday lives. The need to live the Jesus life every day is urgent.
The second thing he says is this, God is in control. We say that but we don’t act like God is in control. Do we really live our life like God is in control? If you look at your life, do you see the hand of God at work in your life? And He is in control right now. We see this with Esther and Mordechai. Mordechai says to Esther, you are Jewish, you are the queen and we are about to be destroyed.
God placed you there for such a time like this. How did Esther become the queen? It just so happened that queen Vashti upsets the King so he cast her out, and looked for a new one. Esther just so happened to be a beautiful young Jewish woman who just happened to be chosen by the king. She just happened to be Mordechai’s cousin who just happens to hear about a plot to kill the king.
So the king is not killed. It just so happened that it took place a while ago. It just so happened that Mordechai was never honored for saving the King’s life. Esther just happened to be Mordechai’s cousin who heard about that plot where he was not honored for. That leads us to Haiman who is evil. He becomes prominent and he wants to kill the Jews. It so happens that he hates Mordechai.
Mordechai won’t bow down to him like everyone else. This just happens to make Haiman mad, so he has the king build these gallows to kill Mordechai. And it just so happens that he wanted to wait to the next morning to put his plan in place. That night it just so happens that the king could not sleep. So the king asked his people who just happened to come in, to read him a bedtime story.
As they read the book of reports, it just so happened that they read of Mordechai who saved the king’s life and was not rewarded. It just so happened that as Haiman came into the court of the king in the morning to put his plan in place to kill Mordechai. It just so happened that as Haiman walked in the king asked him, how would you honor someone who needs to be honored?
Haiman thought that this was for him, and he goes through the whole deal, but it was not about him. The king says, that is great, do this for Mordechai. And the next day it just so happened at a banquet at Esther’s request that she reveals her Jewish heritage and Haiman’s plot to kill the Jews, and it just so happens that Haiman died on the same gallows that he put up for Mordechai.
A lot of ‘just so happens’, just don’t happen. There is this understanding about God’s sovereignty and men’s responsibility. He is in control but we still have a responsibility. Mordechai explains this with Esther, right? He says, “Do not think that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all other Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come from another place.”
This means that God is in control. Past faithfulness will be an indication of future faithfulness. But Mordechai is letting Esther know of her responsibility as well. ‘Another place’ is a reference to God. He believes that God has given Esther this task for such a time like this. There was a risk either way for Esther. There is a risk of imminent death because she was not asked.
Charles Spurgeon once said, ‘Now if I were to declare that man was free to act, that there was no precedence of God over his actions, I would be close to an atheist. On the other hand if I declare that God overrules all things, as man is not free enough to be responsible, that would ne antinomianism or fatalism. These two truths can never be welded into one but they shall be one in eternity.”
God is in control but you are responsible to take action on the urgent need to advance the kingdom of God and to lead people to live the Jesus life as God has called us to do. So are you following the path of least resistance? This is exactly what Esther was doing. She was hiding her heritage. She was living the good life as a queen. She was hoping that all things would be okay.
Esther had to choose which direction she was going to go and to see what her relationship to God was really all about. She actually had two names, Esther is her Persian name, but her Hebrew name is Hadasa. See the world continues to want to change our identity. Then she realized that she had a responsibility that God gave her. And there is also a responsibility given to you right now.
If Esther did not follow God, He would use some other means to accomplish His will. Yet at that time and that moment with that responsibility for Esther was given so that God can fulfill His promises through her. You know what, He has a plan just as important for your life. Ask yourself, who in your life right now is waiting on you to understand the responsibility that God has given you for your life.
We need to understand that the gospel came to me on its way to someone else. The plan for your life is just as important as Esther’s. The last fact that Mordechai gives her is this, the moment is huge. That moment is bigger than Esther can think of. Sometimes in life there is no safe choice. There are consequences if we do not react and you miss out on the purpose and mission that God has for your life.
You will never accomplish your mission by remaining idle. Your chance is to live the Jesus life now and accomplish what God has planned to the fullest. You were created for such a time like this. The gospel conversation with your neighbor, or with your family member, you were created for that. Reconciliation with your friend or coworker or family member, you were created for that.
In life there is no such thing as zero risk. But when you seize an opportunity in spite of the risk associated with it, you build momentum. And you see the path that God has laid out for you. Action requires courage, and action can cause disappointment, but we need to see the end goal the same way Jesus saw the end goal for His suffering that is salvation for all believers and going back to the Father.
Can you imagine what would happen if Esther did not react? It is not a matter of the best plan, but it is a matter of prayer and seeking God’s face. Esther said, “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Sushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
But if you decide to do nothing, God says, the path of least resistance causes more pain. You cannot sit back while a watching world dies and spends an eternity in hell. Last year an atheist friend of mine committed suicide. Don’t you know what I would give to have one more gospel conversation with him? When we read this book of Esther, she had to determine what her relationship to God was all about.
Would Esther let the people know that she was Jewish and that she was a God fearer? This is a beautiful picture of pointing to the gospel. You and I will never be in a position in our life where all our Jewish people are going to die if we don’t react. But we actually are in the same position. What will we do with the gospel message among our friends, our family and our neighbors?
Deciding to live the Jesus life energizes you. God gives me this passion to evangelize every moment and aspect of my life. I have a purpose that is so much bigger than my own and I have a hope that goes way beyond just living here on earth and you know what, you do too. Living the Jesus life means a life that is moved by the Holy Spirit to be agents of God, His grace and love for a watching world.
There is another questions we need to ask ourselves. You still have so much more to live for than you can ever imagine. If you are still breathing, God has work for you. You were designed for something so much bigger than yourself. What moment is God asking you to seize right now? Don’t wait until tomorrow when you have enough courage to have that gospel conversation. Let us pray.