Haman, the prime minister of Persia, had duped King Ahasuerus into signing a decree to exterminate all the Jews in the kingdom. Haman had devised the plan, which was nothing short of ethnic cleansing and mass murder, to satisfy his own pride, revenge, and hatred. The king did not care about the lives of his Jewish subjects if he could seize their assets once they were killed — and he did not know that his queen, Esther, would be among the dead. By the will of God she had not yet told him of her heritage.
As a government official, Mordecai heard of the decree before the news reached Esther in the royal harem. He knew that Haman had a personal vendetta against him for refusing to bow in his presence (see 3:1-2). Additionally, Mordecai was aware of the thousand-year-old score Haman, an Amalekite by birth, wanted to settle by killing all the Jews. The thought of his own family and all of God’s people being killed broke Mordecai’s heart, and he could not hide his sorrow. He put on sackcloth and ashes, refused to eat, and wept bitterly (v.1-3).
When word of Mordecai’s grief reached Esther in the harem, a conversation began that would change history. Mordecai asked the queen to undertake a risky mission: to appear before the king uninvited (which was a capital crime), confess to the king that she was a Jew, and then beg him to spare her people. Esther understood the personal risk involved — she could be executed or at least divorced and banished like her predecessor — but she decided to put the safety of her people ahead of her own. Her resolve is inspiring: “I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” (v.16). A 72-hour fast was planned to pray for her courage and the success of her mission.
I think it was Mordecai’s question in verse 14 that God used to convince Esther: “Who knows whether you have not come into the kingdom for such a time as this?” Without calling His name, Mordecai was acknowledging the sovereignty of God in placing Esther in a position of influence at just the right time to make a difference. God is still doing that, you know. It could be that He has placed you in your job “for such a time as this” to influence your employer and your coworkers to believe the gospel. It could be that God has given you a ministry opportunity “for such a time as this” to make an eternal difference in someone’s life. And it could be that the hand of the Lord has led you to your position on that sports team, your seat in that classroom, your desk in that office, your home in that neighborhood, your election to that position, or your friendship with that group “for such a time as this.” Will you surrender to God’s plan, take courage in His promises, and seize the moment? Like Queen Esther, plan your move and step out on faith!
As you pray about it let this song, which was inspired by Mordecai’s question, encourage you (if you can’t see the video, search for “For such a time as this” by Wayne Watson).