1999-03-17 - Obstacle or Opportunity?
Continuing with our monthly look at what we can learn from women in the Bible, we will look at Esther today. What character traits brought this simple young lady to the point of saving the life of her people?
A brief synopsis: Haman intended to put to death Mordecai and all the Jewish people, because Mordecai refused to bow down and honor Haman. Mordecai asked Esther to intervene with the king.
Esther was obedient. She obeyed her adopted father, Mordecai, and her obedient silence protected herself and her Jewish relatives for the time being.
Est 2:20 (NRSV) "Now Esther had not revealed her kindred or her people, as Mordecai had charged her; for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him."
She was flexible, open to changing her mind.
Est 4:12-16 (NRSV) "When they told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father's family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this." Then Esther said in reply to Mordecai, "Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish."
In this passage we see also Esther's dependence on God, evidenced by her requests that they fast on her behalf. Additionally, she proves her courage in the face of possible death: "...if I perish, I perish."
But Esther did not perish. Her intervention saved her life and the life of the Jewish people.
God can use our obedience, open-mindedness to His will, faith, and courage, wherever we are. Mordecai's assertion to Esther is for us too:
"Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this."
Take that sentence and fill in your own name and situation: "Perhaps I, Jan, have come to this - illness, work stress, church conflict, relationship difficulty - whatever our current dilemma -- for just such a time as this." What we see as an obstacle, God sees as an opportunity to fulfill His purposes.
Rom 8:28 (NRSV) "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."
Think about difficult situations you are facing, and ask God to show you how He wants to use them and you.
: ) Jan