For such a time as this

Bible Series: 
The Kingdom Comes First

Perhaps the most well-known passage in the Book of Esther is in chapter 4, verse 14 where Esther’s cousin and guardian, Mordecai, says to her, “And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (amp). Many exciting and uplifting messages have been based on this scripture. But often these inspirational sermons miss the point completely because they fail to take into consideration the true context of Mordecai’s words. A close look at the circumstances surrounding this passage will show that Mordecai’s message to Esther was not a feel-good, motivational speech, but rather a sobering and alarming ultimatum!

Esther was a young Jewish woman who was born into a broken family situation and was a minority in an oppressive society. The odds were against her right from the start. But almost overnight Esther went from rags to riches, from poverty to the palace, and became the wife of King Xerxes I, making her one of the most powerful women in the history of the world. Irony seems to fill the pages of the Book of Esther. Just as Persia has unknowingly crowned a Jewish queen, the king’s vizier, a man named Haman, is plotting a diabolical scheme to exterminate the Jewish race through a bloody massacre. There is only one Jew in the land who is in a position to intervene on behalf of her people. It is Esther.

It seems as though the pleasures of the palace had begun to intoxicate Esther. We see in chapter 4 that she begins to struggle with what course of action to take. As Esther looked around at the beautiful palace that was now her home and the luxuries, pleasures, conveniences, and wealth she had come to enjoy, it must have been difficult for her to imagine throwing it all away in some misguided attempt to be a heroine. She knew that taking this matter to the king would force her to risk everything she had, including her very life. Perhaps a more subtle approach would be best. Maybe she should just lay low and wait to see how things would play out. Perhaps at some point she would have an opportunity to put in a good word for the Jews without jeopardising herself. After all, what good would she be to anyone if she were dead?

Studies in this Series

Other studies in this series