I just returned from Family Camp at Diamond Arrow Christian Conference Center. This year, due to COVID, the camp is short-staffed and there was not a lot of activity during the day. However, the weather was great, the scenery majestic, and the evening worship services were inspiring, challenging, and life-transforming!
The theme of the camp is mentioned above: For Such A Time As This. The speakers challenged the churches to be God’s witness to the world for such a time as this – post Covid, post-social unrest, post-election – bringing hope in times of despair.
The phrase, for such a time as this, is found in the Book of Esther. If you do not know the story of Esther, you can find it in the Old Testament between Nehemiah and Job. It is a wonderful story of courage and God’s faithfulness, even though God is never mentioned in the book! It is only ten short chapters, and it reminds us that God remains sovereign in all situations, even when things seem hopeless.
Here is the summary:
- The captives in Babylon are now under the rule of the Persian Empire and king Xerxes I.
- The king holds a beauty pageant to find a new queen, and the Jewish maiden, Esther, is chosen.
- The king’s chief minister, Haman, is angry with a Jewish man named Mordecai because he will not bow down before Haman. Unbeknown to Haman, Mordecai is Esther’s cousin who raised her as his own.
- Haman persuades king Xerxes I to order an edict to annihilate all of the Jews throughout the empire.
- Mordecai seek Esther’s help.
- Read the book to know the rest of the story.
Mordecai asks Esther to approach king Xerxes I in order to convince him to remove the edict, but Esther is reluctant. She reminds Mordecai that the penalty for approaching the king without being summoned is death. Mordecai then rebukes Esther saying, “Are you kidding me!? If you don’t say anything then God will use someone else and will still protect His people, and you will not be spared. Don’t you think that God has put you in this place of royalty for such a time as this?” (Pastor Mike’s paraphrase)
Mordecai was reminding Esther that God had made a covenant with His people, and God will not let the Jews be wiped out. Therefore, Esther can trust in God and go to see the king. This is why God had Esther chosen to be in the king’s house.
Esther looked at her situation and was overcome with fear. Perhaps the church has done the same today. We live in a culture that does not honor Christ. We live in a time and place where Christ-followers are in the minority, and the culture is generally hostile towards the Gospel. The easiest thing for the church to do is allow our fear to make us inward-focused, not reaching out into a community that maybe does not understand who Jesus really is.
What is it that we are afraid of? Hasn’t God called us to go and make disciples, promising to be with us to the “very end of the age (Matthew 28:16-20)? Pastor Greg Kaiser from Antelope Road Christian Fellowship reminded us at one of the services, “When God is kicked out of a culture, God is not kicked off His throne.”
God is still God when the king gives an edict to wipe out God’s people. God is still sovereign when Christians are persecuted for their faith. God does not stop being God just because the world is a difficult place to preach the Gospel.
Therefore, we do not need to be afraid. God has us in His church for such a time as this? We are the mouthpiece for Jesus today. We are the heart and hands of the Lord today. We are the representatives of God’s Kingdom in the world today. God is not kicked off of His throne. He is with us. He has a plan, and He invites us to be part of that plan.
Do we have the courage to obey for such a time as this? How should the church look for such a time as this? What is God calling you to do for such as time as this? Reach out to a coworker/classmate? Start a new ministry? Get more involved in the church? Invite a neighbor for coffee? Tell someone – anyone – about Jesus? Do you trust God to guide you through, or does fear keep you from obeying God’s call?
True, we live in a post-Christian culture. But God has not been kicked off His throne! He has a plan for His church, and He has a plan for you for such a time as this. So let’s step out in faith and obedience, trusting Him to use us in a mighty way.
Your servant in Christ
Spoiler Alert: King Xerxes I does not kill Esther, and the Jews are not annihilated!