Thursday, June 7, 2012
"For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
(Esther 4:14 ESV)
Esther chapter four has always, it seems, been quoted when someone is going through a hard time and needs to be reminded that they can do something when they think they cannot. "....And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 ESV) This is the THIRD sentence in this fourteenth verse. The first two somehow seem to get lost in translation, so to speak. " For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish....” (Esther 4:14 ESV) Did you catch it? Did it seem less like a motivational speech to you yet? Here, let's travel back. Esther was raised by her uncle Mordecai after her parents deaths. He was a Jewish leader and well known in the providence they lived in. Anytime there was a need, anytime there was injustice or a time to cry out, the community tore their clothes and put ashes on themselves. It was traditional, which means everyone who lived even as an alien within their community and even the surrounding towns would know that this is what was done when despair took place. Fast forward to verse 4 where Esther was told about her uncle's condition, the state he was in, and pay attention to what she does. "She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them." She then sent her eunuch to find out what was wrong. Is it becoming more clear yet? She had been in this community of bourgeois for so long that she had forgotten what it was like to be in need, to be in pain, to cry out. The very things, I am sure, she had done prior to being snatched from her comfort zone and even for possibly days or weeks after being handed the opportunity to be the next queen! She forgot!! She got embarrassed for him because he even went as far as the king's gate wailing in his ol dirty sackcloth with ashes covering him like he had just been mud wrestling without the water! How embarrassing for her, the poor thing!
It was in that instant that she did exactly what a court in line for a high position might do. She tried to cover over the issue with gifts. And when he didn't accept what she gave him, only then did she try to get to the root of the crying. She sent her eunuch to see what was wrong with him. When Mordecai sent the answer to what was wrong along with instructions, she sent back this even more indignant answer, "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.” (Esther 4:11 ESV) Do you believe that! The man that raised her, the man that had to be there for her through all of her childish antics, teen rebellion, he trained her, he loved her, he clothed and fed her and she tells him she can't because some silly rule not to disturb the king until he calls for you?! The nerve! Or was it the doubt? I just noticed the similarities between her and Vashti right before Vashti was ejected.
Vashti was beautiful and her king wanted to show her off, not good for feminists, to his nobles and other guests. Esther was beautiful and godly and Mordecai wanted her to use the position God put her in to speak to the king. Ever worked somewhere and had a friend come in asking for your discount? Yeah. But Esther had become afraid of the worldly traditions she was taught while the care of Hathach. So much so that she was willing to forget what she knew about God and save herself. What comes next is a slap back into reality that rings in my head differently now.
Mordecai has gotten the message back, the answer he was waiting for back from Esther, except it isn't the answer he was waiting to hear. She tells him she just can't because of an edict that has been in place since before she came, and added that everyone knew this! Mordecai's reply to her was harsh but so graceful that you can't help but to receive it and soak it in, just like God's discipline to those He loves.
"Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14 ESV) His words wreak havoc on her soul and send conviction soaring like a hand sent from Texas to slap sense into someone. Pebble level? He says how dare you think you are above reproach and will saved from this sentence! You can keep quiet if you want to, you can think about it and argue with God if you want to but while you do that He will save us in another way, but you and yours will die. How do you know this isn't the reason He sent you there?" Wow! Now that was just me paraphrasing and picturing his conversation with us now, but it is what was meant. And her response tells me that. she changes her tune and sends word for them to fast and pray for her and if she dies then she dies. But even that drips of the remnants of doubt.
What's my point you ask? Let me simplify. God has given me the Spirit of discernment something fierce! Ever since I could remember, I have been able to "see" what people wanted to be hidden from everyone. Their hurts, their pain, their anger and hatred, the abuse they have endured or inflicted on others. I never really understood it but back then I was used by the liar to expose and make fun of those which I could "see." I wasn't in Christ, I didn't even know who He was other than He was on a cross. Now that I am counted as a friend, He shows me these things for a more powerful purpose! So that I can go into their hurting world and bring them the only Light they need. Sounds good right? The only issue is, I wasn't doing that. I would "see" people's true hurts and just say a comfortable prayer as I walked along, or drove by. That was NOT His purpose for me! I am supposed to reach my hand out, go into their dark corners and speak His love! In the movie based on Esther, One Night With The King, the ending has always been my all time fave because all you see Esther doing is walking into "dark territory" and then collapse. It's as if the fight with doubt had weighed heavy on her and the realization that she had just done the unthinkable overpowered her. Now of course that's not the real story but isn't that how we can feel after battling with our doubt and arguing with God?
My point of all this long winded storyline? I am now seeing that God has so much more for us to do. Yes He wants us going into the world preaching the Gospel. But why do some of us stop there? Why do others stop at saying, "Yes, I will pray for you?" and not just pray WITH them? We are called for such a time as this! Not to talk, not to wish, not to have meetings, but to act. Let's "awake o' sleeper" and walk into the Harvest, not just talk about it! Don't let the message get more harsh than that from God.
Let's pray. Father, I ask forgiveness for not being more direct, more bold, more like the perfect example in Your Son, Jesus. Help me to walk more and talk less God. send to me the people that You have ordained for me to help and minister to. Thank You that I don't have to ask for strength or wisdom in this aspect Lord, it is already given! Thank You for the passion You place in us Lord, help us to keep that passionate fire for You, Jesus, going strong! In Jesus name, Amen!