Then Mordecai bade them return answer unto Esther, “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then will relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father’s house will perish: and who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).
A dark cloud hovered over the Jews. Haman the Agagite had plotted against the Jews and had secured a decree of the king of Persia against them. If nothing were done to stop him, thousands of Jews would be dead within the year. What could be done? Who could stand up to help?
Mordecai sat in the king’s gate and knew the affairs of the state; Esther, his ward and cousin, was queen (cf. Esther 2). Esther could approach the king and risk her life in so doing, and was justifiably concerned about it (Esther 4:7-12). Mordecai communicates to encourage her to take the risk to attempt to save her people: after all, she is a Jewess, and may herself be killed!
Mordecai’s faith is quite encouraging: even in the midst of difficult times, he has great confidence that deliverance for God’s people will come from some source. He then prods Esther’s thinking a little bit and asks her to consider: maybe you have reached your position in the kingdom for such a time as this! Based on this encouragement, Esther decides to stand before the king, and ultimately (with Mordecai) delivers her people from the evil proposed against them.
It is noted often that God is not mentioned in the book of Esther. This is a difficulty for some. Nevertheless, just because God is not mentioned does not mean that He is not there. In fact, God is quite present within the book of Esther, and we are led to believe that she was elevated to her position, at least in part, to have the opportunity to deliver her people from great distress!
The example of Mordecai and Esther ought to be quite encouraging for us. After all, we are living in the days when we do not get the word from God regarding our specific situations. It may seem many times that God is not there in the midst of our trials and difficulties, and it can be hard to know what to do.
Just as with Esther, so it may be with us. God’s will has been functioning and continues to function in this world (Ephesians 1:3-14, 3:10-11). We may find ourselves in unique situations that allow us to be an encouragement to someone, or perhaps we are put in a position where we can make a great demonstration of the love of God for all men (cf. Matthew 5:13-16, 1 John 4). When we find ourselves in a difficult position, and when we wonder how we shall act in the face of challenging options, we might do well to ask Mordecai’s question: perhaps we were put in the situation we are in for some divine reason!
Far be it from anyone to presume to know for certainty the ways of God and His providence; that is not necessarily for humans to know (cf. Isaiah 55:8-9). Nevertheless, we must at least be open to the possibility that God is providing us with opportunities to accomplish His will and lead people to His relief and deliverance (Matthew 11:28-30, Romans 1:16).
But it is not enough to just be in the right place at the right time: one must take advantage of those opportunities. Esther only acts after Mordecai’s encouragement to recognize the value of the opportunity she has. Perhaps it will be, as Mordecai firmly believed, that deliverance may come from another source. Perhaps someone else will be able to accomplish the Lord’s will if you decide against it. But how tragic it is when someone is in the right place at the right time and yet is unprepared or unwilling to do what the Lord would have them to do (cf. Matthew 21:28-29, 25:14-30)!
Mordecai and Esther lived in dark times and were faced with difficult decisions and no specific and direct word from God. Nevertheless, they held fast to their faith in God as their deliverer and were not disappointed. They recognized the possibility that God’s providence had led Esther to her position, and she was willing to do what was necessary to accomplish what was ultimately manifest as God’s purpose.
It may be 2400 or so years later, but we can easily identify with Mordecai and Esther. Let us also be open to God’s providence, have faith in God and His providence even if He does not directly speak to us today, and take advantage of the opportunities we have been given. After all, who knows whether we have been placed where we are for such a time as this?
Ethan R. Longhenry