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Part 2 - For Such a Time as This
Courtesy of Daniel Kolenda, Christ for All Nations
Secret #1 - The Kingdom comes first
This Bible study has been taken from chapter 6 of LIVE BEFORE YOU DIE
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 jeopardizing herself. After all, what good would she be to anyone if she were dead?
In Esther 4:13–14 Mordecai, sensing her internal struggle, sends this message to her: “Do not flatter yourself that you shall escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?” (amp).
In other words, Mordecai said, “Esther, don’t flatter yourself! You are not in the palace because you are so beautiful or wonderful or special. You have been placed in the position you are in because you are a strategic part of a divine purpose that is much larger than yourself. For you to stand up and speak out for your people is not some generous act of charity or an optional courtesy—it is the very reason God put you in the palace in the first place!” Mordecai went on to emphasize the severity of the situation, saying in essence, “If you try to protect your position at the expense of the divine purpose, God will replace you, and you will be destroyed!”
You might wonder what makes me think I can speculate about what was going on inside Esther’s heart and mind. It is not only because of the context and the message Mordecai sends to her, but also because I see this scenario play out before my eyes every day in the West. Our comforts and conveniences have often made us complacent and indifferent to a dying world. We are often afraid to do anything that might disturb our cozy, pampered lives.
One man told me, “I can’t talk about Jesus at work because if I do, I will lose my job.” I’ve heard others say there are two topics they won’t discuss at work: politics and religion. But the gospel is not an optional topic of conversation best left out of the workplace. On the contrary, you have that job because you are a strategic part of a divine purpose that is larger than you are. It is God who gave you your job, and He gave it to you for a reason.
If you aren’t willing to be a witness in your workplace, don’t be surprised if God takes your job and gives it to someone who is unashamed of the gospel. God is calling you into the ministry—even if He positions you in a “secular” occupation. Your calling is to propel God’s kingdom forward in whatever sphere you find yourself.
I’ve seen people drop hundreds of dollars at restaurants and on senseless entertainment, but when the offering plate goes around, they immediately begin to moan and complain. “All they do is ask for money in this church,” they say. And when they do give a few dollars to the Lord, they feel they have been very generous. But the money in our bank accounts is not ours—it all belongs to God to begin with. He is not only the source of all our provision, but He is also the One who has given us the ability to create wealth.
God hasn’t blessed us so we can consume those resources on our own lusts and pleasures; He has blessed us so we can be a blessing. That is the reason we have those resources in the first place! If you aren’t willing to bless God’s kingdom with a cheerful heart, don’t be surprised if He takes those means and gives them to someone who will be a good steward.
If God has entrusted you with money, you must realize that you are not the terminus; you are a channel through which those resources should flow. Yes, when water flows through a pipe, the pipe also gets wet! When God’s blessings flow through you, you are also blessed personally, but never make the mistake of thinking you are blessed because you are so special or wonderful, intelligent or talented. As Mordecai said to Esther, “Don’t flatter yourself!” You are not any better than the poorest beggar in the lowliest gutter.
God has not blessed you because He loves you more than anyone else. He’s blessed you for a purpose, and your fulfilling that purpose is not a side issue—it’s the reason you have those blessings in the first place! If you won’t do what God has called you to do, He will find someone else who will do it with joy!
We will continue this study in Chapter 6 "Five Secrets To Discovering God’s Will" Part 3 - "If you won't, someone else will." next.
Courtesy of Daniel Kolenda, Christ for All Nations
Posted by Cecile Venter – 2015-09-02
Link to Original Article: http://cfan.org.za/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi/archive/general/20150616040506/
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