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For Such A Time As This

Category Articles
Date September 15, 2005

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14

Not every time period in history is the same. Scripture speaks of perilous times, times of ignorance, times of refreshment, times of apostasy, times of restitution, etc. It is good to ask ourselves about our times. We should ask ourselves both what our times are and what our times require. Mordecai had obviously asked both these questions. In his challenge to Esther, Mordecai uses the words “such a time as this.” He had come to have a sense of what his time was arid what his time required.

WHAT MORDECAI’S TIME WAS LIKE.

What was his time like? First of all, it was a time of fierce persecution. The age-old struggle between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman had intensified. Haman, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews, had plotted the destruction of all the seed of the Jews. He had even managed to achieve legal sanction for this plot. Consequently, it was a time of profound mourning for the people of God. Mordecai “went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry” (4:1). “There was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes” (4:3).

WHAT DID SUCH A TIME REQUIRE?

What did such a time as this require? Mordecai shows tremendous spiritual insight into his time.

1. It was a time for complete honesty. Mordecai told Esther in no uncertain terms what Haman had done and what was at stake: he has paid the king to destroy the Jews (4:7).

2. It was a time for personal urgency. Mordecai brought the danger home to Esther: “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews” (4:13).

3. It was a time for vibrant faith. Mordecai was convinced that “deliverance [would] arise to the Jews” (4:14). He repeated this promise to Esther. She too needed to fix in faith upon the God of the promise. He would deliver His people from distress.

4. It was a time for visionary discernment. Mordecai understood that Esther’s presence at the court was not a coincidence. Rather, God’s providence had brought a representative of the seed of the Jews right into the household of the Persian king. Mordecai stated it carefully, yet expectantly: “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

5. It was a time for persistent prayer. Esther called for fasting on her behalf. “Go, gather together all the Jews… and fast ye for me . . . I also and my maidens will fast” (4:16). This fasting was, of course, not simply the deprivation of food. Instead, it gave place to self-humiliation and prayer.

6. It was a time for courageous obedience. Esther was not to hold her peace, but join with the people of God, and risk her life for the sake of the promised seed.

It is as if Mordecai is saying: if there ever was a good time to be about the Lord’s work, it is now. So too today. The dark times can sometimes be the best times. It may be a time of immorality. Then it should be a time for holiness. It may be a time of apostasy. Then it should be a time for prayer. It may be a time of intolerance of Christianity Then it should be a time for Christian witness.

During the day Christians, like the firefly, can be invisible in the light. At midnight, they have no choice but to shine. “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary prts@hnrc.org

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