googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: The Sovereignty of God

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Sovereignty of God

[H]e sent back this answer: "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 royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:13-14, NIV

When considering the sovereignty of God, I don’t know if any example in the Bible is as thought provoking as this passage from Esther. If anyone is unfamiliar with the story, I encourage him to read the whole book for himself. One curious fact about Esther is that it is the only book of the Bible that doesn’t mention God. However, the hand of God is clearly seen moving throughout the entire account.

In the story leading up to Esther 4:13, the former queen of Persia had been put away for disobeying king Ahasuerus (AKA Xerxes). Esther was chosen to marry the king because of her beauty but he was unaware that she was a Jew. Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, had instructed her to not reveal her heritage (perhaps he himself had received this word from God). The villain of the book is Haman, a high-ranking official of Ahasuerus who held bitter contempt for Mordecai. His hate for Mordecai drove him to persuade the king to issue a decree ordering the genocide of all Jews in Persia.

Mordecai had sent a message to Esther asking her to go before the king to plead for the Jews to be spared. However, the custom then was that no one (not even the queen) could appear before the king uninvited. To do so could be a capital offense unless the king had mercy and welcomed the person by holding out his scepter.

Esther was faced with a dilemma: appear before the king uninvited and face possible execution or stand by and watch her people perish. Fearing for her life she was afraid to go before the king.

Mordecai was a man of faith, though. He expected God to deliver the Jews and in this passage he’s basically telling Esther, “God is going to deliver us either with you or without you.” But then he reminds Esther that she is not queen by accident. She is there by God’s sovereignty; perhaps for no other reason than to plead for the Jews before the king. As Mordecai put it, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"

As Christians, we don’t live our lives by accident. Where ever we are and what ever we’re doing, we are where God has put us. He has put us there either to do His will or He has allowed us to be there as the recompense for our disobedience. At any moment though, we have the opportunity to be obedient.

One thing I’ve noticed is the egocentric attitudes of many Christians. If things are going great, they rejoice and say, “God is blessing me.” If things are not going great, they lament and say, “God is testing me.” Has it occurred to any of them that maybe it is not about them at all? Perhaps you got that great job so that you could be a witness to someone in that same office. Perhaps you lost your job so that you would be at home to talk to a certain Jehovah’s Witness that comes to your door.

It’s not likely that many of us will decide the fate of a people by our actions. Nevertheless, God still has a purpose for us. Perhaps we need to encourage someone; perhaps we need to help someone; perhaps we need to witness to someone. Whenever we’re faced with any decision, we need to ask ourselves, “What would God have me to do right now?” Who knows, maybe you’ve come to that place for no other reason than to do the right thing for God at that very moment.

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