“As we grow older in life, years somehow seem to shorten and New Year’s Day approaches with an ever increasing tempo. The more mature we get, the more we realize that time is only relative; how we live means more than how long we live. Haply also we do not live by years, but by days. In His wisdom God does not show us all that lies ahead. So we enter a new year to live it day by day. What is past is past. Today we start anew, and what we do today will make our life for tomorrow. Chin up, shoulders straight, eyes agleam, let us salute the New Year, and each day let us follow more faithfully, more courageously, more daringly the lead of our great Captain who bids us follow Him.”
- William Thomson Hanzsche
HOW CAN ONE VOICE MATTER?
The story of Esther is one of my favourites in the whole Bible because her journey marks an event in time where the king was deceived into 'giving the order that all Jews—young and old, including women and children—must be killed, slaughtered, and annihilated on a single day'.
Sound familiar? Over two and a half thousand years have passed, we have survived the holocaust, but how quickly have people forgotten the dreadful past? This poisonous plot to erase the Jews has been handed down through the generations and we stand at the precipice of a unique season where we face a predicament like Queen Esther.
What was Queen Esther's predicament? Her people, the Jews, were about to be killed and she was in a position where she could raise her voice to help her kindred. However, there was a problem. Her husband, the king, did not realise her true identity, that she was Jewish. What must have been going around in Esther's mind? Perhaps that her husband had previously banished his former queen, Vashti, for her refusal to appear at the king's banquet, embarrassing him in front of princes, nobles and servants; how much more will he be humiliated to find out that his wife is of the same nationality as those who the king now believed wouldn't obey his laws. In addition to this, the king had not called for her for thirty days. Many thoughts could have been filling her mind as to whether or not the king was even pleased with her at this time and how she could come boldly to his throne with her plea.
There was only one last hope for God's beloved, the Jews. Her relative, Mordecai, sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14
In other words, God has a plan of salvation for the Jews, but if you remain quiet and refuse to stand despite the cost, it will cost you - your life, and that of your family. So God is giving you an opportunity to do what is right, but if you refuse, He will use another vessel and punish you.
So Esther was left with a choice - neither were particularly appealing, but a choice nevertheless.
Esther did speak up for her people, and the plot of Haman who attempted to deceive the king, was foiled. God's people were not killed, but rather honoured, and Haman suffered the same death that he had planned for the Jews. It's such a wonderful story of how those without a voice, those who were oppressed, placed their trust in God and experienced victory.
What can we learn from all this?
First, God has a plan for His people and no one can ultimately succeed in plotting a demise for His beloved.
Secondly, we all have a choice to speak what is right, to use the voice that we have been given. Maybe it's not a voice that is heard by many, maybe it's only a voice that will be heard by one, like Esther - even the one who hears your message may be the one who can make a difference, or influence those who can. Who knows if perhaps I was born now for just such a time as this?
Thirdly, like Esther, we have a choice to remain quiet, but there is a consequence for doing so. Esther was tested as God's chosen vessel at this time, and she was found faithful. Will God find you faithful with your portion?
'Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly;defend the rights of the poor and needy.'
'And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.'
Let's not be like the watchmen who failed to sound the alarm, like those who God warns in Ezekiel 33:8. We Christians are here to be a banner of truth. To teach, preach and spread the gospel, to stand for those who don't have a voice and stand in place for those who do, but refuse to use it for good. We Christians must also realise that God has a plan for the Jewish people today (Romans 11), that a remnant will be saved prior to His return.
Do you stand for what is right concerning His people?
Do you stand with Israel?
Do you stand for truth in all areas?
We are here to love what God loves and abhor what God abhors, even abhorring our own sin (Romans 7:24). We are not here to tolerate evil and remain quiet, we are here to stand as a banner of truth, a light in the midst of darkness.
Let us ask ourselves the question; who knows if perhaps I was born now for such a time as this?
One trumpet alone can make a decent sound for miles if positioned on the side of a hill and carried by the wind, how much more can an orchestra of voices be heard when speaking in unison?
-- By Judah Ayling