A mother-to-be is deeply concerned about what kind of a messed up world her child will be born into,… and rightly so.
This mother and her husband accepted Jesus Christ as their saviour a little over a year ago; it was my humble privilege to baptise them last summer; they are an earnest couple with an eager enthusiasm for exploring the mysteries of God’s word, for the eyes of their understanding to be continually enlightened to His truth.
But what of her deep concern for her unborn child into this godless society?
What message of hope can be offered to her from God’s word?
The Book of Esther is the only book of the Bible that does not mention God by name: God is absent by any name, and it seems appropriate to use the story of Esther to encourage and inspire anyone who is feeling worried about an uncertain future in a world where God is generally assumed to be irrelevant and absent, and where the name of Jesus Christ is more frequently used as a curse than a blessing.
Like the world Esther knew, we now inhabit a world with a supposedly absent God: where people are, lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despiser of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof…” [2 Timothy 3:2-5]
Esther was a Hebrew orphan, living under the guardianship of her cousin Mordecai in the splendid Persian city of Shusan. And it seems that these Hebrews had been living in exile for four generations; living as strangers and exiles scattered among the nations for as long as any of them could remember.
Christians today should be able to identify with the condition of an exile: as the moral values of our society rapidly decompose around us, it is not difficult for us to realise that we are strangers and aliens in this world, because our true citizenship is the Kingdom of God.
As Christian values are dissolved and many churches become compliant and compromised to the world, we need to seriously adopt the guarded condition of being exiles living in an anti-Christian world.
We must learn to be in the world, but not of the world; we must not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind to prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. [Romans 12:2]
We are citizens of heaven, awaiting the imminent return of Jesus Christ who will make all things new.
The book of Esther describes two dangerously powerful people:
Ahasuerus, who is a weak king, easily led by cunning advisors;
And Haman, a cunning advisor to the weak king.
(You could argue that things haven’t changed much across the millennia: that we have presidents and prime ministers who are not fit for office, but who are led to make decisions based on spurious information that only benefits those who provide it.)
Haman convinced King Xerxes to pass a law permitting the total destruction of all Hebrews across his massive empire of 127 provinces that stretched from India to Ethiopia.
All seemed doomed; all seemed lost; the fate of the Hebrew exiles seemed finalised.
But Mordecai realised hope, and encouraged Esther to take a huge risk.
That risk could easily have caused her immediate execution;
Or, that risk could allow an overturn of events that would save the Hebrews from destruction across the breadth of the Persian Empire.
And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? [Esther 4:14]
Read the exciting story of Esther for yourself, asking God to open its meaning for your life.
The pattern of events in the book of Esther can be applied to our condition as Christians now and in our near future:
God’s people are set apart from the world;
God’s people are persecuted;
God’s people are rescued;
God’s people are a blessing to the nations.
You are not an accident: you are a person intentionally made by God in his image.
Your destiny is known to God: to love God, to serve God, and through Jesus Christ to represent God in this world.
Each day, each problem and each challenge is an opportunity for you to shine God’s light into the darkness and hopelessness of this world.
Be positive about your present situation and responsibilities; make the most of your present circumstances, and honour God in all you do and say and think.
Each day is God’s gift to you: do not despair of your life, or your gifts, or your age, or your responsibilities.
You have a vital and strategic role in God’s plan for this world, and in his gospel plan for the nations.
You are alive, and born again, for such a time as this.
Esther did not feel important or empowered, (but rather, peripheral and vulnerable).
But her life held a purpose and meaning that she had not imagined.
And for this reason it was essential that Esther was willing [in Christ-like manner] to lay down her life to save a nation.
God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, but you know that God orchestrated the entire circumstances and outcomes: God just required Esther to be usable and available for his Kingdom purpose.
God may not appear to be present in our world today: but God is present even when he is most absent: when there are no miracles or dreams or visions, when there are no charismatic pastors or prophets to interpret what is happening:
God is present as our deliverer: saving through his hidden, providential control of history.
God is always ultimately in control.
We must learn to trust God’s sovereign providential care, even when we see no evidence of him at the time.
To believe in God is to believe in the promises of God.
To believe in the promises of God is to believe in God.
In our world today it is easy to become apathetic and disheartened, and stray away from God, which is why it is essential to focus on the truth of God’s word so that its reality shapes our perception, (preventing the world from shaping our perception).
The media continually spews biased news at us, giving the impression that if God exists, he is irrelevant. Therefore, you must purposefully fill your mind and hopes and expectations with the promises of God.
What of a child born into our world at such a time as this?
Prepare your child.
Raise your child to know God, and believe in the completed work of Jesus Christ.
Raise your child to be usable and available to God through Jesus Christ, that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father. [Revelation 1:5,6]
For who knows whether your child comes to the kingdom for such a time as this?