Monday, April 11, 2016

"For such a time as this!"

Day #103

Scripture Reading:  Esther 1 - 5 …

From the moment of his rebellion against God in the halls of heaven, Satan has attempted to stop God's plan to establish His kingdom among the human race.  What you see going on around you today, as people oppose the truth of the Gospel, that faith in Jesus is the ONLY way to eternal life, and as they demand toleration of ALL religions (except true Christianity), is but Satan's continued attempt to exterminate the kingdom of God before Jesus returns.  And the center of Satan's attacks and the focus of his plots continues to be ISRAEL - the Jews in particular - the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  We need to be reminded that God keeps His promises and that He uses people just like you and me to fulfill His purposes.

One such person was Esther.  She was a young Jewish woman who because of her beauty was taken into the palace of the king of Persia.  Her uncle, Mordecai, had raised her when her parents died.  The queen had angered her husband, the king, so he was looking for a replacement!  His servants gathered young women from all over his realm and Esther was one of them.  She did not reveal to anyone that she was a Jew, as the Jews were always hated (Satan's work!).  Eventually, Esther won the king's favor and became queen of the land.  All of that seems well and good, relatively harmless and even rather amazing.  But there was much more going on behind the scenes.

During this time Mordecai heard some men plotting to kill the king and "Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai" (2:22).  The two men were subsequently apprehended and put to death ...  another seemingly meaningless and unrelated event in the history of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon and then Persia.   But God is at work in the details ... and so is Satan.  Just as God uses people to accomplish His purposes, Satan uses people to seek to accomplish his!  Satan's instrument in the plot to destroy the Jews in the days of Esther was a man named, Haman.  Haman was the chief official in King Xerxes cabinet.  "All the royal officials at the king's gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. … BUT, Mordecai would NOT kneel down or pay him honor" (3:2).

As you might expect, it was not long before Mordecai became the thorn in Haman's side.  When he found out that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman decided in his anger that he would get rid of ALL the Jews throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.  In his anger against Mordecai, Haman now "looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai's people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes" (3:6).  He went to the king and told him that there was a people who were scattered throughout his kingdom who were different than all the other people and who did not obey the king's laws.  He then asked the king for permission to kill them all and the king told him to do as he pleased.  
Letters went out to all the provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews - young and old, women and little children - on a single day:  the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, and to take all their possessions.  The letter was to be read everywhere.

Mordecai learned of what was being done and went into the city where the king was and cried out in despair, as did the Jews throughout the kingdom.  Eventually, Esther found out about Mordecai and sent one of the servants to talk with him.  Mordecai gave him a copy of the edict of the king and told him to show it to Esther and "urge her to go into the king's presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people" (4:8).  GOD was working to protect His people and now it becomes clear, at least to Mordecai, that God had placed Esther in the palace precisely for this reason.

Esther, however, was afraid to go to the king.  No one, not even the queen, could approach the king without first being invited.  The only exception to death for such a person was if the king extended his golden scepter to them when they came.  Esther's words and her hesitancy to act were reported to Mordecai and his answer reveals a knowledge of how God works that you and I need to have today:

"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 royal position for such a time as this?!" (4:12-14).

God had done all of this to protect His people from Satan's evil plot.  He could have used someone else.  He could have chosen a different way to accomplish His purpose.  But He had chosen Esther and this was HER moment!!  God gave to Esther courage and wisdom and she went to the king and he extended his scepter, receiving her into his presence.  God used Esther, and even the records of Mordecai’s uncovering of the plot to kill the king to turn the tables on Haman and to save His people.

What is God calling you and me to do today?  We are called to proclaim the name of Jesus in our homes, in the work place, at school, in our communities and wherever we can.  Through the modern means of technology there is no excuse for NOT testifying that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord.  We have been called as the people of God "for such a time as this."  If we do not speak, God will raise up others, but our time is now!  "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants of his household to give them food at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns" (Matthew 24:45-46).  And what better spiritual food is there than the Gospel of Jesus Christ?!

Share the good news of Jesus with those around you and be an instrument in God's hand to save those who believe from Satan's deception and from God's judgment.  You are here, "for such a time as this!"

"Heavenly Father, as I see the evil in the world around me, I thank You for the assurance that YOU are still in control and that when it appears that Satan and his pawns are winning, it is a call to me to be engaged in the battle. Empower me to be Your witness and to live knowing that I am here 'for such a time as this.' In Jesus' name, Amen"

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