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"For Such A Time As This?" (Es.4:14b)




"Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Es.4:14b)



Introduction:

Our quoted text above, a phrase as it were, is a rhetorical question. In literary studies, rhetorical question is a question asked, not necessarily for the answer or definitive response, rather for the dramatic effect, to emphasise or reiterate a point. This was the poser Mordecai threw at Esther at a very critical time in the lives of the Jews.


Historically, it was not an intersting times for the Jews. They were in a state of complete helplessness, hopelessnes, and depression. Their only hope of coming out of this impending doom and destruction hinged on Esther. And Esther, on her part, needed to act fast to save the day, even if it meant laying down her life! Ironically, the same Esther seemed to be too comfortable in the palace to feel the palpable fear of destruction that pervaded the air in the Jewish camp. So heavy were the threats and fear that they could literarily be felt by a touch of the hand.


Few Lessons From The Narrative:


The story of the Jews in the enclave of king Ahasuerus, where the ferocious Haman held sway to the threat of their very existence, finds some parralel in our real life daily-living. Among such are:


  • We cannot afford to be too comfortable in our comfort zone. Esther was more or less in the mood of out of sight out of mind. She could not smell the danger that was targeted at destructing her entire nation.


  • Whatever peak of success we attain in life, it is imperative we don't ignore our roots.


  • Whatever position or status we attain in life, it is essential that we listen to "wise cousels" that will do us good. King Rehoboam forfeited this great privilege and eventually missed the purpose he was in 'power' at that point in time, "then the king answered the people roughly, and rejected the advice which the elders had given him" (1Kgs.12:13).


Mordecai's Rhetorics To Esther:


Mordecai an older cousin to Esther acted and sent words, in rhetorics, to Esther when it was apparent Esther seemed to have lost emotional attchment to her roots, at a very dicey time like this in their national history. They were in a 'kingdom' wherein just one powerful individual in the person of Haman threatened fire and brimstone until they were completely annihilated. And he was not going to give up until they (the Jews) were completely exterminated, after all, he had the king's backing and support, "so the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agaggite, the enemy of the Jews." (Es.2:10). Haman was such an influential personalty in the kingdom and the inglorious destruction mission, that he got royal funding and mercenary for the ungodly drive, "...and the king said to Haman, the money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you" (Es. 2:11). And as it is common in other human kingdoms, there were two groups of people in this narrative: the 'ruler and the ruled' , the 'oppressor and the oppressed'. While the Jews were at the receiving end in this kingdom, (as the ruled), plauged by intermitent skirmishes orhestrated by the one-man-riot squad, Haman, Esther, by sheer fate found herself on the other side of the divide- a world of bliss. Unfortunately, Mordecai and the rest of the Jews were powerless for revolution. An atmosphere of gloom pervaded the homes of the Jews, in consequence.


Esther's side of the kingdom was revelling in merry and reeling in abundance, bloated fanfare, and royal merriment. It generally was a life of opulence on this side. Life, undoubtedly, must be rosy and pleasant here. Esther was caught in the web of this regular flamboyant royal ambience. Call it comfort at its peak, it's just it! It takes a person that is strong willed and resolute to intentionally come to the consciousness of another world of despondency, far from these daily royal windfall. If Haman was influential on the oppression side, Esther was much more influential, (as events were to later reveal), though ignorant of this " inner strength" , until Mordecai jolted her consciousness to it. With these two verses from Mordecai, "...do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews...relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, & ... yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Es. 4:13-14), the die was cast. The game changer had kicked in. The seed of an impending and unavoidable revolution had been planted, waiting a subtly execution by the queen. She obviously was coming to realize she was in the kingdom for such a time as this ! The pendulum of victory was going to swing to a side. Was Esther equal to the task? All alone by herself in the camp of the enemies...


Only Risk Takers Revolt:


In his famous work, 'Animal Farm', (1945), Eric Blair, a foremost English writer, popularly known by his pen name, George Orwell, to his readers, brought the world's consciousness to the need for revolution, to break off from the oppressed. In this classical satire, he demonstrated to his audience, how even, when the animals on Mr Jone's farm could bear the hardship NO more, rose in agreement to revolt and sent the owner of the farm packing. All they were agitating for, simply in the revolution spearheaded by a pig - Old Major, were: equality, freedom and happiness. It was a day Mr Jones never saw coming in his entire life. They capped the successful revolution with one of the famost famous anthems in the literary world today, "Beast Of England, Beast Of Ireland", to celebrate the much needed victory. There are always songs of joy and celebration at the end of a successful revolution or overthrow of a tyrant ruler. The Jewish revolution under king Ahaseurus was eqaully a pointer that not all revolutions are necessarily bloody. Revolutions could be peaceful and seamless, depending on the circumstances at the time.


This is the world we are living in- where man's inhumanity to man is on the rise. Men oppressing men, the ruler oppressing the ruled. The government censoring the press, clamping down vociferous voices against their misrule, sending them to jail given the least opportunity. Ours is almost becoming a society bedeviled with inhuman treatments from the the rulers. Our contemporary governments have always had a heart in their cabinets for special 'marksmen' that do NOT only shield them, but spearhead the elimination of dissent voices against their inhuman reigns.


Similar successful revolutions in biblical days did not go unsung. King Rehoboam's failure to heed the counsel of the wise elders irked the citizenry who in turn revolted against his monster- face government. At the end, when their request and advice were turned down, the entire nation sang in unison, "what share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel ! Now, see to your own house, O David ! " (1 Kgs.12:16). His appointed task master, Adoram, was subsequently stoned to death.


Risk Taking: Esther Must Follow Suit:


The simple 'rhetorical question' from Mordecai to Esther was all Esther needed to have a deep and sombre reflection as to why she was in the kingdom: to fight for the liberation of her race. She did not think twice before taking it upon herself to ensure she and her people were liberated from the hand of 'Haman in government' (HIG), even if it meant laying down her life. A kind of weird boldness came upon her that she did not think twice of whatever will be the aftermath should she fail in this mission. She was spontaneous in her action and decision. She was ready, like Moses, to jettison the pleasures of the palace. She had had enough of that. A silent revolution was in the offing. Call it a royal or palace revolution, and you are right!


Sidebar:


[ It was an irony of statement that Mordecai said " relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from ANOTHER PLACE" (Es.5:14b); reason being that even Mordecai himself knew that as at that point in time, Esther was, by the grace of God, their last hope. The 'real strength' in his statement that moved queen Esther to action, was the "rhetorics" expressed thus: "yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Es. 4:14b).]


However, unlike other types of revolution, Esther went spiritual in her appraoch . Her simple request was that all the Jews should fast for her, three days and nights. Herself and her maids were not exempted from the fast, either. All hands must be on deck to overturn the deadly situation staring them in the face. With royal fiat, she muttered, "go gather all the Jews who were present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and i will fast likewise" (Es.4:16a). It was a fast with a major action to be taken by her only, even at the risk of her life, "and also i will go to the king, which is against the law; and if i perish, i perish!" (Es.4: 16b). She needed to do what she had to do to validate her position in the kingdom and establish her relevance in the 'kingdom' at such a critical time.


As It Relates To Our Contemporary World:


No one was created without a purpose in life. We are no nonentities. We are unique in our ways, with intrinsic values embedded in us. Esther took advantage of the value in her, to overthrow the wicked plans of Haman against her nation. Reason God positioned us in our different positions for a particular purpose, regardless of how we got there. No mistake about it. The salient questions that call for our responses in this instance, include:


Why am I where I am today? Is it just to fill a vacuum or to compliment the Chemistry definition of "matter" - anything that has weight and occupies space? Or to impact our generation favorably, in government, church, neighborhood, workplace, or an organisation? Are we using our influence to better the lot of our subordinates or oppress them, to create rifts and divisions, raise mutiny, rebellion? Or to engage in a high level of malignment?


Are we so comfortable in our exalted and cozy offices that we do NOT only forget so soon, our humilating base condition, but are also reneging on our promises and commitments to the populace the moment we attain the utmost height? Are we acting contrary to the oath of our offices also ?


If that is the case, we are not in the 'kingdom' for a time and reasons that are favorable to the ruled, we are simply there for our own selfish ends! And posterity will judge... As of now there is still room for improvement and a change of heart, and we probably might need a 'Mordecai-mentor' to ask us some pertinent questions that will bring us to self-audit and call us to order. Such should be able to look at us in the face fearlessly , to reiterate the need of selflessness as the hallmark of our position. And if only we permit the Mordecai rhetorics, to queen Esther, "yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" , resonate in our minds, we definitely will strive and long, to serve humanity better in whatever capacity we are placed in the kingdom. Queen Esther stuck out her neck in probably the most dicey situation ever, and saved an entire nation from mass destruction. She played well her part. We can do likewise!


Prayers:

LORD, please, help me to discover and fulfil the purpose for which You have placed me in my present position (kingdom) for such a time as this !

LORD, make me a solution to my generation.

LORD, i refuse to be a nonentity. The value You placed on me will NOT diminish and i shall NOT lose my relevance. Amen!


Conclusion:


Esther was a slave girl at the beginning of her life. By sheer providence, she became a force to be reckoned with in her capacity as a queen in the Persian kingdom. Her lifting was timely and well utilised to silence the uproar raised by Haman- another influential but vindictive person in the kingdom. At the nudge of her uncle, Mordecai, to save her nation from the impending genocide, Esther knew with no iota of doubt it was imperative she acted, and fast too.


She did not allow the spirit of low self-esteem and her inconsequential background cow her to defeat. Friends, we are in a world that if we permit our humble backgrounds to intimidate us, we'll surely become pushovers in our ever changing and dynamic world, where God is expecting us to be His ambassadors in the scheme of things, "...the earth He has given to the children of men." (Ps.115:16b). We have to intentionally detach from these intimidating backgrounds so as to make a postive impact in our generation.


A positive and bold move, a word of encouragement to the depressed, an "unconditional" helping hand or piece of advice in time of crisis, or better still intercessory prayers, giving in cash and material, are a few ways we can impact the kingdom. Are we gifted in anyway? This may be our own strength of impacting the kingdom . While Esther's beauty placed her foot in the palace, David used his skills on the harp to save a distressed king, "look, i have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite , who is skillful in playing" , an orator "prudent in speech" (1 Sam. 16:18). He was equally handsome, "and a handsome person", (1 Sam.16:18b), and above all, the "LORD is (was) with him." (1 Sam.16:18b).


There, perhaps, could not have been a better time to be in the kingdom, as now. Hence, if only we can look inwards, there is no gainsaying the fact that we'll discover we have what it takes to better the situation in the 'kingdom' we are in. May God help us. Amen !


© June 2024


Being A Monthly Scripture Bulletin

From The Desk Of

Olusegun A Emosu

The Redeemed Christian Church Of God,

Rehoboth Parish,

2244, Panola Rd, Suite 2, (3 D Complex),

Lithonia GA 30058. 404n 644 4127



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