john-groves-smI love the story of Esther in the Old Testament. This beautiful, godly young woman was a Jewish orphan. She, along with most of her nation, had been taken into exile when the vast, pagan Empire of the Medes & Persians overran Israel.

By an incredible set of circumstances, clearly overruled by God, she ended up as Emperor Xerxes’ number one wife – she became Queen Esther! It was an amazing turnaround for this despised young orphan.

However, becoming queen did not insulate Esther from the pressures and troubles of her world. Indeed it soon became clear that her privileged position gave her a unique opportunity to intervene and save a nation that was about to be destroyed. God’s grace in calling her and raising her up to be queen had a bigger purpose than merely her own well-being.

The key passage in the wonderful little book of Esther is chapter 4 v 12 – 16. Mordecai was her much older cousin who had brought her up as a sort of single step-parent. There had been a decree issued for the death of all the Jews. Mordecai believed Esther was the only person in a position to do anything about it. He asked her to go to the despotic King Xerxes and plead for her people. Esther’s first reaction was: “I can’t do it! He won’t let me even go and speak to him!” Then comes the heart stirring passage in Esther 4 v 12 – 16!

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he 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 your royal position for such a time as this?”

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

I have lived with a prophetic burden rooted in this story for 40 years. In fact one of our daughters is called Esther because of how God spoke to me from this book. I believe Esther can be seen as a God given picture of the Church, the Bride of Christ. We were despised, hopeless orphans who by the grace of God have been raised up to be spiritual royalty! We have been made children of God, joint heirs with Christ. We are now seated with Jesus Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2 v 6). We can enter the very presence of God with confidence, boldly, through the new living way Jesus has made for us (Heb. 10 v 19 – 20). What a glorious position to be in!

However, this is all much bigger than simply our blessing and well-being. “You have come to your royal position for such a time as this!” Like Esther we live amongst a people headed for destruction, in fact they are our people and we’ve been in the same position. We, the church of Jesus Christ, are the only ones who hold the keys to hope and deliverance for those around us.

God is a great and merciful God who is willing to deliver men and women from destruction, but we have a responsibility to play our part. Are we going to be the agents of hope and deliverance in our time, or will the deliverance arise from another place in another time?

I believe I, and all my fellow believers, have come to royal position for such a time as this! Only we can pray to our King for our generation. Only we can proclaim the good news of deliverance from death and destruction to our people in our time. To do this will require courage, it will go against the flow of our culture (“even though it is against the law” Esther 4v16). We will have to be as brave and bold as Esther was.

There is a calling on us to be an Esther people!

One last word…

The scene where Esther goes into the King’s presence to bring a passionate request on behalf of her people is a powerful picture of prayer (Esther 5 v 1-3). Prayer is an amazing privilege for Christians. I personally deeply value the prayers of my friends. Marian and I are developing a circle of prayer support, particularly relating to our ministry to churches at home and abroad. If you would like to be part of that circle of friends praying for us, please contact us below and we will periodically send you prayer updates.

John

Please contact John if you would like to receive regular prayer updates