I was reading in the book of Esther today, and although I'm sure I've read it before, one chapter really stood out to me - in fact, I was almost moved to tears.
The story is an exciting one (that I highly recommend) about a jewish girl (Esther) who is, through what would compare to a modern-day beauty pageant, placed in the position of being Queen of the Persian empire. In that position, she saves her people from being destroyed by their enemies who are led by an evil official named Haman. (So many details in this story - you need to read it if you haven't!) Esther's cousin, Mordecai, sent word to her about the persecution her people were facing, saying: "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" (4:13-14).
Esther replies, "Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish."
Esther knew she needed to go to the King (her husband) to ask for his help, but if she went into him w/out being asked for he could (and probably would) have her killed. She did it anyway, and God gave her people great success in defeating their enemies.
WOW! One woman's obedience began the deliverance of an entire nation. I doubt she knew that her obedience to God would play such an integral part in history. I doubt if any of us know the impact our obedience to God's will has on His plan. I know I don't. I read a few study guides about Esther and here's an excerpt from one of them:
"God has a purpose for you, right now, right where you are, no matter who you are, where you live, to whom you are married, what you have experienced in the past, or what you are facing in the future. In fact He has allowed you to come to this place in your life for a definite purpose, “for such a time as this.” He has something specific for you to accomplish in your present situation, and He wants you to look for the opportunities in that present sphere of influence.
He will be honored when we claim His grace to be what He wants us to be and do what He wants us to do in our present circumstances. We must take advantage of the opportunities He has made available to us in the here and now. He may later open wider spheres of opportunity if that suits His purposes, but that is in His hands. Our responsibility is to let Him use us where we are.
God is at work in our lives just as definitely and decisively as in Esther’s. Our circumstances may not be all we would like them to be. But we can thank God for them anyway. They provide Him with the opportunity to demonstrate His sovereign love and care, and they provide us with an opportunity to glorify Him. Let us believe that He will work those circumstances together for good, then look for ways to serve Him in them."
Really good stuff, man!