For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
What a “strange” book to turn to for a daily devotional you might say! And I say what a “strange” book to be included in the Bible at all considering that God’s name is not mentioned even once in it!
The book of Esther’s historical background is that God’s people have been carried into exile and are now under the rule of Ahasuerus (Xerxes NIV), the world’s most powerful king. There is an emerging plot to destroy all Jews throughout the kingdom. These are very dark days. However, if we look carefully we can see that God is there caring for his people by his common grace and that his steadfast providence enables Esther to approach the king without being summoned in order to plead for his people. “Who knows…” says Mordecai to her.
That is also exactly how the Christian should be thinking. Here I am, in the middle of this pandemic not knowing what will be its outcome. But even this is not an accident or random coincidence – Great providence of heaven – what wonders shine in its profound display of God’s design (Edmund Owen’s translation of David Charles’ Welsh hymn ‘Rhagluniaeth fawr y nef’). “Providence” is what happens and “design” is what God intends and ordains. Why not ask “Who knows…” why we are in these strange times?
- It may be an opportunity for me to realise how fragile my life is and to ask myself how my relationship with God is. I may be well acquainted with the Gospel message but do I have a relationship; do I really believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it an opportunity to search anew for God, to repent and believe? “Who knows…?”
- It may be an opportunity to think about my use of time. Under our present circumstances some things are impossible for us to do while other things are more possible. I have more time to read and reflect on the Word of God and more time to pray. The work of the gospel in Wales depends on the prayers of God’s people. The gospel message online is reaching more people. Let us pray for God’s pouring out of his Spirit and for a spiritual harvest of hundreds, even thousands of people coming to a true and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Who knows…?”
- It may be an opportunity to reach out to others. There are Christians who are finding these times to be extremely difficult for various reasons, so they need support. There are many in our communities who are frail, in need and without support. It is an opportunity to be kind and, if the opportunity arises, to share the reason for the hope that is in the Christian, “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” “Who knows…?”
Let me remind you, as I finish, of a deeper comfort found in this verse. The work of the kingdom does not depend upon us – and let us be thankful for that! “Deliverance … will arise from another place” – what a wonderful truth. Whatever is happening, whatever will happen, God’s care for his people will never change and never fail. Thanks be to God!
Keep safe and well in every sense!
Dewi Tudur, Eglwys Efengylaidd Ardudwy