Has it ever occurred to you that you are here for such a time as this?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how each of us has a unique place and purpose in God’s creation. The Bible is full of examples of the right person being in the right place at the right time, saying and doing the right thing.
One of the best examples in the Old Testament of someone being in the right place at the right time, is Esther. There’s not time to tell the whole story here, so I encourage you to read the book of Esther. It’s only ten chapters.
The part of the story that I really want to focus on in this episode is when Esther, who is Jewish and has been chosen as queen, is asked by her cousin Mordecai, to speak with the King Ahasuerus. One of the king’s high courtiers, Haman, who hates the Jews because Mordecai would not bow down to him, got the king to sign a decree that all Jews in the empire would be killed on a certain day, several months in the future. Mordecai asked Esther to beseech the king on behalf of the Jews.
There are several important details to this moment of truth in the story.
Esther has not told anyone she is Jewish. So the king has no idea he has signed the death warrant for his queen.
But more importantly, there is a statute of royal etiquette that if anyone goes into the king’s court without having been summoned, they will be put to death, unless the king holds out the golden scepter to them. It would be very presumptuous for anyone, even Queen Esther, to enter the court without being called by the king.
“Such a time as this”
Esther reminds Mordecai of the court protocol, but he is unimpressed with her hesitance. And by the way, this conversation takes place through a messenger. Mordecai replies,
“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions. Esther 4:13-17 NIV
As it turns out, Esther did go to the king, he did hold out the golden scepter to her, and she was able to carry out the plan God had revealed to her.
What was the turning point for Esther? What caused her to risk her life to go to the king? I think it’s was what Mordecai said to her about being in the right place at the right time. Mordecai uttered a great truth that we all need to consider in our own lives: “who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Taking a stand for Truth
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a dilemma, at the focal point of clashing human opinions, or in a quandary of whether to speak up or remain silent in the face of injustice?
Maybe not to the degree that Queen Esther was, but we’ve probably all found ourselves in situations that require us to act and speak courageously, even if it brings us into danger.
Many years ago, I had a friend, Paul who was a geologist, specializing in precious metals. One time he was in Central America on a tour of the region’s natural resources. I don’t remember now which country he was in, but when the ruler, or rather dictator, of that country found out he was there, my friend was escorted by the military to meet him.
Paul, knew he was in a very delicate situation. One wrong word could cost him his life.
The dictator told him about a copper mine he had. Everyone had assured him there was lots of copper in this mine. He insisted my friend look at it and wanted his opinion.
Paul was one of these rare people who was not impressed with celebrities or influential people. He just loved the science of what he did. After examining the site, my friend told the ruler of this country, that there was no copper in his mine.
“I’ll have you killed for saying that,” the man roared in Paul’s face.
My friend knew he was in danger but said calmly, “Well, you can kill me if you want, but it won’t put any copper in your mine.”
The man said to him, “You’re the only honest man I know.” Apparently, everyone else had just told him what he wanted to hear. My friend was given a military escort back to his hotel. He left the country the next day, and obviously lived to tell the story.
This of course doesn’t come close to what happened with Esther, but it was a moment that required courage and telling the truth.
As I said, we’ve all had those moments, big or small, when we’ve had to take a stand for truth.
Prayer and fasting
The story of Esther sets a really helpful example of how to proceed when you find yourself in such a situation.
When she realized she’d have to break court etiquette of not coming into the king’s court unless she had been called there, Esther asked Mordecai to fast for her three days and to invite all the Jews in the city of Susa to do so as well. And she and her attendants would also fast for three days. This fasting was a deep, prayerful way to turn to God for help and guidance.
Esther knew she needed God’s help in this situation, and she asked for prayers from her cousin and all the Jews for support.
Just imagine how Esther and Mordecai must have been praying. Their lives were at stake.
How do you pray when your life is in danger? At moments like that, you realize that only God has the solution.
Esther obviously was strengthened by all the prayers and fasting and went to see the king. Although the Bible doesn’t explicitly say this, I am reading between the lines here, I believe God revealed a plan to Esther as to how she could expose Haman’s plot to kill all the Jews. You can read about it in chapter 5 of the book of Esther.
When you’re in a situation that has dire consequences, not just for your individual future or safety, but for others as well, and perhaps even for generations into the future, do not hesitate to ask those you know to pray for God’s guidance and protection for everyone involved.
Your “royal” position for such a time as this
It could be a challenge your family is facing, a prevailing attitude at work, a direction your church is taking, a policy adopted by an organization or the government. If you find yourself right in the middle of all the strife, anger, and conflicting opinions, it’s because, just as in Esther’s case, you are in the situation at this exact time because you have something to offer toward the solution.
Hear Mordecai’s words to you, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?
Never underestimate the influence you can have in a given circumstance because of your “royal position.” You may not be a queen or even a minor elected official in local government. But you do have a “royal” position as a child of God, because you’re made in the divine image and likeness. If that’s not royal, at least in a deep spiritual way, I don’t know what is.
Esther’s long-term blessing
Acknowledging and accepting the fact you are a child of God, opens your eyes and your heart to embrace the spiritual power and authority given to you by God.
When you take a stand for truth and justice the way Esther did, it can be a long term blessing for years to come. I mean, think about it. Esther is still blessing you and me today, and countless others, because of the choice she made to be courageous and do what needed to be done. She has set an example that men and women still look to for inspiration.
Think of someone in your past, who has taken a stand for what is right in a given situation, and how that has blessed you and others. When you rise to what God has called you to do, your actions will be a blessing to others as well.
There is so much turmoil in the world today, in the global arena all the way down to the details of how people interact with each other one to one.
God has placed you
God has given you a place in this world to bring light instead of darkness, love instead of fear, hate, and indifference, truth instead of deceit.
But how do you know what God wants you to do to bring healing to the world? What is your specific contribution to make? Well, I certainly don’t know how to answer that question for you. I’m still working on it for myself.
But I’ll share a pattern I’ve seen repeated over and over.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Seven or eight years ago a woman came to my weekly Bible study at the federal prison near my home. Even while she was still incarcerated, she was planning to create a non-profit organization to help women readjust to society and find purpose in their lives, when they got out of prison. She knew she would need help, and that gave her the idea of how she could help others. And that’s exactly what she has done.
Some people call this turning your mess into your message.
The struggles and challenges you have faced and overcome may be just the area of life where you can help others with those same challenges.
God is preparing you
This was a very conscious choice on her part. Sometimes however, God prepares you for something, but you’re not even aware of it until years later when you see how God led you to a specific situation or experience.
When I started conducting weekly Bible studies at the Federal Prison, I had no idea where that would lead, but The Bible Speaks to You Podcast is a direct product of those years of preparing Bible lessons and interacting with people who wanted to understand the Bible better and follow Christ in their lives.
How do you figure this out for yourself? Well, I’m not sure that you always can know how your words and actions may be part of something bigger than the immediate situation you’re involved in.
Esther knew what she was doing would have an influence on all the Jews of her day when she persuaded King Ahasuerus to allow the Jews to defend themselves on the day they were to be destroyed. (See Esther 8:11, below) But she had no idea how far reaching the effect her courage to go to the king would have thousands of years later.
You are here for such a time as this
So how do you know where you need to be and when? It’s really the spirit of humility in your heart and the willingness to go wherever and do whatever God guides you to be and do. When you’re following God’s guidance, you will be where you need to be in a given time frame and you’ll bring healing to the situation.
Sometimes it’s easy to look at all the challenges in your life or the problems in the world and kind of wish you could just go back to a previous time when things were simpler. But we all know that kind of wishful thinking never really solves our problems.
You are here, in this present day, in this present moment, with the situations you face individually as well as the collective ones facing the whole world. You are here for a purpose. You are here for a time such as this. God has given you the ability to hear His voice and do His will under any circumstance.
Esther could have balked at the demands Mordecai made on her. She could have tried just to save herself. She could have let her fear of going to the king without being invited overcome her higher sense of what was right and what needed to be done for the greater good. But she rose to the occasion.
God uses ordinary people
Now you may be thinking, “James, this all sounds great, but I’m no one special. I am not in the equivalent of a king’s palace like Esther was. How am I going to do what she did?”
Esther was no one with special education or background. But God placed her and used her to do great good.
Throughout the Bible, God often uses everyday, ordinary people to carry out His will. They became great and well known afterwards, because they obeyed God.
Think of Gideon who was a nobody until God called him, and Samuel, who was just a child when God called him to his purpose as a prophet. What about Peter, who was simply a fishermen. But he was in the right place at the right time to respond to Jesus calling him to be a fisher of men.
I used to think how unfair it was for Peter and the other disciples to get to know and be taught by Jesus personally. What about all of us today who would have loved to have been taught by the Master himself? But I realized this kind of thinking was a decoy to keep me from doing what God wants me to do, here at this moment in time.
Why did Jesus come when he did?
Have you ever wondered why Jesus came to earth at the time in history he did? Why didn’t he come 100, 500, or 1,000 years sooner? Or why didn’t he come 500 years later than he did?
Well, I don’t have the final answer to that, by any means, but the fact is God sent Jesus to earth at the time that was best. Jesus being on earth was the supreme example of being here “for a time such as this.”
If he had come 500 years before he did, would the Children of Israel have been prepared to accept him? They hadn’t even been able to consistently worship only one God. Until monotheism had a better hold on the hearts of the people, they would not be able to accept the message of the Messiah.
And even when Jesus came, not everyone was ready to accept God’s Messiah. They wanted their own version of what the Messiah would be like. But Jesus came, nevertheless, at the time that was right for him to be here.
Jesus’s mindset about his purpose
One of the things I focus on with The Bible Speaks to You Podcast is understanding the mindset of Jesus and embracing it in our own lives.
Think for just a minute about what Jesus’s mindset could have been in regard to being here when he was.
Even at the age of twelve, he told Mary and Joseph that he had to be about his “Father’s business.” (See Luke 2:49, below)
He knew what his purpose was and what he needed to do to accomplish it.
Now, I know, it’s easy to say, “Yeah, but he was Jesus.”
Well, you are you! You pray to the same God Jesus did. You have the same divine Parent, the exact same source, and therefore the exact same spiritual resources Jesus did.
It was Jesus’s mindset of listening to the Father and only saying what God told him to, it was Jesus’s communion and connection with God which empowered him to know exactly where he needed to be at any given moment. Jesus constantly sought to know and do God’s will, not just in the daily demands on his time, but in the bigger picture as well.
Such a time as this
To the degree you and I embrace this same mindset of Jesus, seeking God’s guidance, doing God’s will, and experiencing our oneness with God, we will be in the right place at the right time, say the right thing to the right person, and have the courage to do what needs to be done.
You are where you are for a reason. You are here now for a reason. It’s to experience God’s presence, to obey Christ in your daily life, and to bear witness to the kingdom of heaven here and now. And above all, to let your love shine out into the world and bring healing where ever you are.
Step with boldness into what God has called you to do. God is using you to accomplish something much bigger than you just solving your own problems. The world needs your light. The world needs your courage. And most of all, the world needs your love. You are here for such a time as this.
If you have questions or comments please contact me. I’d love to hear from you..
James Early, the Jesus Mindset Coach, is a Bible teacher, speaker, and podcaster. He conducts Bible workshops online and in person. His focus is on getting back to the original Christianity of Jesus by embracing the mindset of Christ in daily life. Contact him here.
Bible References in this episode:
Esther 4:13-17 NIV
13 “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.
14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:
16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.
Esther 8:11 NIV
11 The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves;
Luke 2:49 KJV
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?