Now that we have entered a new year and a new decade, it is imperative that we reassess what we are doing—both individually and the church as a whole—to advance the kingdom of God in this world.
This is a very critical and pivotal time for our nation and world. We cannot afford to be "at ease in Zion" (Amos 6:1).
Considering the heavy responsibility that rests upon us, there is one passage of Scripture that should loudly ring a bell in our collective steeple—the story of Esther. Shockingly, the word "God" doesn't even appear in that book of the Bible, but the evidence of His amazing power to rescue a nation does—and it shines brightly, like a beam of hope in our era.
It was a critical time for God's people then, and so it is now—politically, monetarily, socially and spiritually. But listen to Mordecai's exhortation to his niece, who had just been appointed as queen:
"Do not think that in the king's palace you will be more likely to escape than all the other Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, protection and deliverance for the Jews will be ordained from some other place, but you and your father's house shall be destroyed. And who knows if you may have attained royal position for such a time as this?" (Esth. 4:13-14).
Unchecked, Haman's plan would have meant destruction for the Jews (he had planned their annihilation). In like manner, left unopposed, there are certain dark forces and evil agendas converging on our generation that could bring destruction—on Israel, on the United States and many other nations, and on the New Covenant people of God all over the world.
Too many believers are satisfied to just enjoy living in "the King's palace": accessing for their own benefit the royal heritage they have received in Christ. However, there are other Esther-like individuals who feel the weight of responsibility, who know the importance of their calling, and who are willing to rise up and fight the good fight of faith.
Esther was the primary catalyst for change and rescue in her day; only God knows what elect persons are primary "catalysts" for revival and spiritual awakening in this hour. But surely, the six determining factors that lifted that Jewess from obscurity to prominence will be evidenced as well in any modern-day oracles of people who answer the call to be world-changers and history-makers.
- Esther was virtuous—If she had not valued her "virginity," she never would have qualified as a replacement for Queen Vashti. So those who will be used mightily of God in this hour must hold virtue, integrity and holiness in high esteem—walking the walk, not just talking the talk.
- Esther had a mentor—Mordecai, Esther's uncle, adopted her and trained her for many years in the things of God. It was his passion to see truth expressed through her life. In like manner, any person who flows effectively in the power of God normally has a mentor standing somewhere in the shadows. Elisha could point to Elijah. Joshua could point to Moses. Timothy could point to Paul. So also, the up-and-coming prophets and prophetesses of this hour can point to more mature men and women of God who have passed the torch to them. That's how it happens.
- Esther was willing to leave her "comfort zone"—Esther could have remained silent and simply tried to just save her own life. But she was willing to endanger herself for the cause of righteousness and the good of others. In like manner, we can just try to live comfortable lives, enjoying the biblical revelation we have received for our own benefit—or we can step out of our comfort zones to help an endangered world and to advance the cause of the kingdom of God. Remember, as Edmund Burke said: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
- Esther mobilized others—Esther knew that she needed to mobilize all of God's people to be a success. She called God's people to a three-day fast. So great ministry leaders still understand the "big picture"—the greater potential for success that comes when large teams of like-minded believers are mobilized to accomplish great purposes. Remember the acronym for TEAM: Together Everyone Accomplishes More.
- Esther was willing to take a risk—Even though it was not lawful for her to approach King Ahasuerus without an invitation, she said, "If I perish, I perish" (Esth. 4:16b). She laid her life on the line. So also, God is searching the world over for those who are willing to risk it all now, even in this hour, in order to fulfill God's purposes, thwart enemy plans and see full potential awakened.
- Esther was part of a plan—Most importantly, Esther (which means "star") was part of a plan, a divinely ordained blueprint for triumph that existed in the heart of God long before she was ever born. So also, the Bible says that God has "saved us and called us with a holy calling, not by our works, but by His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9).
So that is the sum of the matter. Pray. Seek God. Find your calling. Do your part. Step into your destiny. We will find out, once again, that even in times of darkness, there is always a remnant of believers who are chosen to "arise" and "shine." (Isa. 60:1) Remember, they who "turn many to righteousness" shall shine "as the stars forever and ever" (Dan. 12:3). It may be a dark night, but God has some more "Esthers"—some more God-ordained "stars"—waiting in the wings.
Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Mike Shreve has served as an evangelist for almost 50 years. He is also presently pastoring The Sanctuary in Cleveland, Tennessee. He is an author of 15 books, including the bestselling Charisma House title, 65 Promises from God for Your Child.
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