For Such a Time as This
Esther – one of the historical books, post-exilic, written between around 400 B.C. Author unknown.
The events of the book are from 486 to 465 B.C. during the reigns of the Persian king Xerxes I
(Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther), son of Darius I. Xerxes was the father of Artaxerces.
Persian king (486-465 BC), the son and successor of Darius I. He is best known for his massive invasion of Greece from across the Hellespont (480 BC), a campaign marked by the battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea. His ultimate defeat spelled the beginning of the decline of the Achaemenid Empire.
Susa was a principal city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires (capital of the Elamites) and was originally known to the Elamites as 'Susan’ or 'Susun’. The Greek name for the city was Sousa and the Hebrew, Shushan. The modern city of Shush, Iran, presently occupies the ancient site.
While some Hebrews had returned to Judah/Jerusalem most remained in Persia and had assimilated much of the Persia culture and religious practices.
Esther, born in captivity, would have considered Persia her home.
The Book of Esther contains no mention of God, Jerusalem, Law of Moses, or the Temple; however, no other book speaks to the providence and preservation of God …
The time period would make Esther contemporary with Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, and Nehemiah.
The Backdrop of the Story
Because of what was considered insolence toward the King, Queen Vashti was stripped of her position and banished from the King presence.
Esther was chosen for her beauty and behavior (ultimately God was at work behind the scenes) to succeed Vashti as Queen.
Esther was a part of a religious, racial, and cultural minority often disdained by the Persian citizens.
Esther kept her heritage a secret for fear of reprisal.
Haman’s hatred of the Jews, fueled by Mordecai’s lack of reverence, resulted in a plot to destroy all the Jews throughout the Empire.
Mordecai sought Esther intervention to prevent the slaughter of the Hebrews.
Seek the Lord even when it seems He is hidden (Esther 4:1-7).
How should believers respond to adversity? Brokenness, prayer and fasting.
Mordecai and the Hebrews (“they”) responded to adversity by crying out to God.
Practical note – Make decisions based on clear information (Esther sent to Mordecai to understand his actions).
Even when God seems absent from your situation, He’s not; He is always with His people working behind the scenes to accomplish our good and His glory. The believer’s responsibility in adversity is seek God.
Recognize the role you play in the sovereign plan of God (Esther 4:8-14)
While God is sovereignly at work, He chooses to work through people. God was at work raising up Esther, however, it still required her obedience.
Mordecai made it clear, that if Esther failed to do her part, God would raise up someone else to accomplish His will.
IN adversity, we should acknowledge God’s providential working, and realize that we play a part “for such a time as this.”
How I fit into any situation, my role, is vital to the outcome.
Accept the risk associated with your purpose (Esther 4:15-17).
For Esther, there were no guarantees … The reality was she could experience the wrath of the King … and could experience the fate of Vashti, or worse.
The believer’s commitment to God doesn’t ask for absolute guarantees (If I do this everything we be what I want it to be); it accepts, “If I perish, I perish.”
Theological Theme: God is always working to accomplish His will and fulfill His word.
Christological Theme: Like Esther, Jesus committed to the Father, “If I perish, I perish,” when He prayed, “Not my will but Thine be done.”
Missional Theme: Obedience not only impacts our lives but influences the lives of others.