For Such a Time as This

For Such a Time as This

Esther 4

Dr. Jim Denison

Thesis: every believer has a unique and crucial ministry

Persuade: to stand for God when you are called to do so

Who are some of your favorite biblical characters? One of mine is Hathach. We’ll meet him in this study.

We meet with the most famous statement in Esther: “Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (4.14). Your position is just as much the choice of God as hers, and just as crucial to the Kingdom.

What job does God have for you? There are three in this chapter—yours is one of them.

Mordecai’s role: some initiate (1-3)

“When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly” (v. 1). These were Jewish expressions of grief and mourning.

What were his other options? He could have asked forgiveness of Haman for himself and the nation. Or he could pretend not to be Jewish, or at least publicly so.

Now Mordecai “went only as far as the king’s gate” (2a). This was the last place a Jew would want to be in these days. Haman could have him killed instantly, ahead of the massacre. So why did he go there? He went so Esther could know. And God arranged things so that she did.

Someone must initiate ministry, especially in a crisis. God must give the vision, the direction to someone. Be willing to be that someone. You may think you are not qualified, or have too much in your past. Consider these men called by God to lead ministries: Moses the murderer, Joshua the old man, the disciples, Paul the persecutor. And there are others.

The church’s job is to help you find and fulfill your ministry. We exist not to initiate ministries for you to support, but to help you do yours. If you could do anything to serve Jesus, what would it be? “For such a time as this,” God calls some to lead in ministry. Are you one?

Hathach’s role: some serve (4-9)

Now, before we get to the main hero of the chapter and the story, let’s not overlook someone used by God in crucial ways: Hathach, “one of the king’s eunuchs” (v. 5). Here’s his story.

Mordecai “went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it” (v. 2). He was not allowed near the palace itself. So Esther’s “maids and eunuchs” told her about him and his distress. But she had no idea why he was grieving so. She sent him clothes, but he would not wear them. This was obviously serious.

She “summoned Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why” (v. 5). There were probably hundreds of eunuchs guarding and serving the queen and the harem. Why him? His character, honesty, and trustworthiness must have somehow impressed her.

So Hathach goes out to Mordecai, receives the entire story, and hears his request that he “urge her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people” (8).

Now, what are Hathach’s options? If Haman hears of this, what will he do to him? He’s not a Jew. He can clearly say, “This is not my battle.” Or he can serve faithfully. He “went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said.” If he had not, the story would have been very different.

Some lead, some serve. Service is just as crucial as leadership. Who has most impressed you with Christ? Someone who served you. In my case, it was a gentleman in Houston, TX, Julian Unger, who answered God’s call to a bus ministry.

When he followed the Holy Spirit’s leadership in establishing a bus ministry for College Park Baptist Church more than 30 years ago, he could not have known the Kingdom impact of his obedience. Every door in the community opened to bus ministry workers was opened to the word of God. Every child and teenager who heard the gospel through that ministry heard God’s love. And every person influenced for the Lord through that bus ministry has been a spiritual descendant of his faithfulness.

When I opened our apartment door in August of 1973, I had no understanding of God’s love. I assumed a “Christian” was a good person who believed in God. Our family had attended worship services very few times in my life, and I had no interest in “religion.” If Julian Unger and his fellow worker, Tom McGrady, had not come to me, I would never have gone to church. I would today be one of the millions of Americans who are spiritually lost, destined for an eternity separated from God. I will spend eternity in heaven because they were faithful to God. And so will hundreds and thousands of others.

Martin Luther King: “Anyone can be great, because anyone can serve.” Anyone can serve God and his people. In a crisis, God calls some to serve “for such a time as this.” Are you in their number?

Esther’s role: some obey sacrificially (10-17)

Now Esther knows the situation, and has a dire problem. No one can go to the king without his invitation. Law required death for the person doing so. And she has not been invited to the king for 30 days. With one exception: He could extend his gold scepter to spare the person’s life.

Mordecai’s reply is one of the most famous paragraphs in all the word of God: “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?” (vv. 12-14).