Summary: The trial or challenge you’re facing today is exactly where God wants you to be, "for such a time is this."
If you like a good mystery novel, one that has heroes and villains, intrigue and suspense, assassination plots and a happy ending, you’ve got it right here in the book of Esther.
You’ve got it all except—amazingly, God is never mentioned in the entire Book of Esther. But His presence is unmistakable. And what a comfort that is for us. We may go through seasons of life where it seems to us that God’s presence is not clearly evident. But He is there! He’s working.
That’s right, and where you find Him is in two wonderful attributes of his character, woven all throughout the book of Esther and our own lives—His sovereignty and His providence. Before we dig into our passage today, I want to take a moment to talk about these two attributes of God’s character.
Just by looking at the small word within the large word—reign—we get exactly the idea of what we mean by God’s sovereignty. God reigns, He is the supreme ruler of everything. God created the world and all that is in it and He sustains His creation. One day He will bring all things to a perfect and satisfactory conclusion.
Paul writes in Col 1:16—
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century evangelist, writes this about the sovereignty of God—
There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands—the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne...for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust.
God’s providence is really an off-shoot of His sovereignty. God interacts with His creation and governs the events and circumstances of this world.
His providence is evident in His rule of the natural order, His rule of world history, His rule over human freedom and His rule over personal circumstances. Because He is the supreme ruler He is at liberty to see His will come to it’s appointed goal.
Recall Charlie’s story
As we share God’s word and God speaks to your heart this morning, know that you are never in the grip of blind forces (fortune, chance, luck, fate); all that happens to you is divinely planned, and each event comes as a new summons to trust, obey, and rejoice, knowing that all is for your spiritual and eternal good. And if you find yourself in a challenging situation this morning, know also that God has you exactly where He wants you to be “for such a time as this.”
Essentially, I think we will all agree that we are creatures of comfort. We attempt to avoid at all cost any place of discomfort, tension or adversity. Where there is conflict, we seek to remove ourselves, where there is a struggle, we seek to find the path of least resistance and where there is discomfort, we seek to find the comforting cure. The stress management industry, including counseling, therapy, physical fitness and pharmaceuticals is a multi-billion dollar industry in America.
Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cutting down on stress in life, but when you think about it, most of our stress is caused by our own worry and anxiety, for things completely out of our control. What I’m saying is that we will do almost anything to be comfortable. But, often times deep spiritual growth will only occur when we face adversity and overcome it through Christ’s strength.
You see, God’s plan for our lives doesn’t always have us travelling down the path of least resistance. It doesn’t always have us the escaping conflict or dodging the discomfort. In our passage this morning, Esther finds her royal position of prestige and comfort challenged by the events taking place in the palace.
You see, every so often in life, we find ourselves standing before God, thinking we know the itinerary—good health, a job promotion, a wedding, a pregnancy. Many times God checks over the itinerary He created and says carry on. But there are times when He says, “No, that isn’t the journey I have planned for you. I have created you for such a time as this and have routed you down this path instead.” Possibly a path of struggle, or a path of discomfort or one of illness.