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? Esther 4:14
There are two overriding principles taught in the book of Esther: God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. Esther is the Jewish girl, blessed by extraordinary beauty, who is chosen by King Xerxes to be his queen. One of the king’s nobles, Haman, becomes angry that Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, won’t bow down to him, so he gets Xerxes to agree to have all the Jews exterminated (genocide goes back a long way).
Esther learns of the plot from Mordecai who challenges her to fulfill her responsibility to her people. Mordecai implies that God has placed Esther in a high position so that she might save her people. And, lest Esther decides to shirk this calling, Mordecai tells her, “…if you remain silent…relief and deliverance…will arise from another place…” Do you see that Mordecai is imploring Esther to do her duty by her people? But he goes on to say that whatever she does, God will provide deliverance. GOD IS SOVEREIGN AND WILL NOT BE DETERRED BY THE DISOBEDIENCE OR FAILURE OF MAN. He will find a way to fulfill his will.
We often hear people say, how can God permit… (wars, illness, suffering, death, poverty…) We rarely hear a call to our responsibility as his children to be peacemakers, to alleviate suffering, essentially, to be God’s hands and feet to the people of our world. Instead, we blame God for corporate greed, for personal indulgences, for jaded sensitivities, for hearts of stone. Simply put, we put the onus for the world’s ills on God’s back rather than accepting God’s call to us to bring deliverance.
I know a family whose baby became critically ill. The mother begged the father to take the baby to the doctor, but he said that he had prayed for the baby and refused to consult the doctor. The baby worsened, and the mother became distraught. Eventually, as the baby’s condition declined, the father relented, but it was too late. While I strongly believe that God heals, I am convinced that he works in myriad ways and often it is through the medical community. Was God powerless in this situation or did the father fail to take responsibility and see that the doctor was the healer?
This is a good time to reflect to see if we are waiting for God to do what he’s called us to do. I once heard that God will do what we cannot, but he will not do what we can. Although not a scripture verse, God’s Word seems to corroborate this truth. God is faithful, and he is sovereign to work through us to do his will. But if we fail to obey, he will find someone who is willing.
Father, thank you for choosing us to participate in your work in the world. Thank you that you are in charge and can be trusted to fulfill your plan no matter what. Strengthen us to be readily available to do your will. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.